Irfan Ahmed

Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science,
College of Engineering,
Virginia Commonwealth University,
Richmond, VA - 23284

I am an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). My research group is the Security and Forensics Engineering (SAFE) Lab. I am also a faculty fellow of VCU Cybersecurity Center. Before VCU, I was a Canizaro-Livingston Endowed Assistant Professor in Cybersecurity at the University of New Orleans (UNO), New Orleans, LA.

My research interests are broadly in the area of cybersecurity, currently focusing on digital forensics, malware, cyber-physical systems, and cybersecurity education.

I am a recipient of the ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, an Outstanding Research Award from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), and the UNO's Early Career Research Prize.

My research work has been supported in part by the NSF, NSA, ONR, ARO, ORAU and VA CCI, and has received three Best Paper Awards at DFRWS'20, ISC'13, and ICRC'11, and an Outstanding Poster Award at CODASPY'16.

My CV is available here.

Contact me

  • Office Address: 401 West Main Street, Room E4255 Richmond, VA - 23284
  • Email: (best way to contact me)
  • Tel No.: (+1) 804-827-2561

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Google Scholar

Selected Publications [Full List]:

  • Cyber-Physical Systems (industrial control systems, 3D printers, vulnerability discovery and exploit development, protocol analysis, and digital forensics)
    • [ADDMA, Elsevier'21] Dynamic-thermal and Localized Filament-kinetic Attacks on Fused Filament Fabrication based 3D Printing Process
    • [DFRWS'21] JTAG-based PLC Memory Acquisition Framework for Industrial Control Systems
    • [WOOT'21] Empirical Study of PLC Authentication Protocols in Industrial Control Systems
    • [ICCPS'21] Spatiotemporal G-code Modeling for Secure FDM-based 3D Printing
    • [ICCIP'21] Attacking IEC-61131 Logic Engine in Programmable Logic Controllers in Industrial Control Systems
    • [DFRWS'20] Control Logic Forensics Framework using Built-in Decompiler of Engineering Software in Industrial Control Systems
    • [IFIP SEC'19] Control Logic Injection Attacks on Industrial Control Systems
    • [ISC'19] Automated Reconstruction of Control Logic for Programmable Logic Controller Forensics
    • [DIMVA'19] Overshadow PLC to Detect Remote Control-Logic Injection Attacks
    • [NDSS BAR'19] CLIK on PLCs! Attacking Control Logic with Decompilation and Virtual PLC
    • [CODASPY'18] Denial of Engineering Operations Attacks in Industrial Control Systems
    • [IEEE S&P'17] Programmable Logic Controller Forensics
    • [DFRWS'17] SCADA Network Forensics of the PCCC Protocol
    • [ACSAC ICSS'16] A SCADA System Testbed for Cybersecurity and Forensic Research and Pedagogy
    • [IEEE Computer'12] SCADA systems: Challenges for Forensic Investigators
  • Digital Forensics and Malware (cloud forensics, and OS kernel, hypervisor, virtual machines and containers)
  • Cybersecurity Education (pedagogical techniques e.g,. peer instruction, concept maps, and problem-based learning, and hands-on learning tools)
    • [IEEE Access'21] Cronus: An Automated Feedback Tool for Concept Maps
    • [SIGCSE'19] Evaluation of Peer Instruction for Cybersecurity Education
    • [SIGCSE'19] Topological Scoring of Concept Maps for Cybersecurity Education
    • [IEEE S&P'18] Peer Instruction Teaching Methodology for Cybersecurity Education
    • [SIGCSE'18] Using Virtual Machine Introspection for Operating Systems Security Education
    • [USENIX ASE'17] Peer Instruction for Digital Forensics
    • [USENIX ASE'16] Development of Peer Instruction Questions for Cybersecurity Education

Honors and Awards:

  • Best Student Paper Award, 20th Annual Digital Forensics Research Conference (DFRWS’20), USA, 2020
  • ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), 2019
  • One of the First Ten Contributors to the NSA's National Cybersecurity Curriculum Program (NCCP), 2018
  • Canizaro-Livingston Endowed Professorship in Cybersecurity, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, 2017
  • Early Career Research Prize, University of New Orleans, 2016
  • Outstanding Poster Award, 6th ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy (CODASPY’16), 2016
  • Outstanding Research Award, 66th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 2014
  • Best Paper Award, 16th Information Security Conference (ISC’13), Dallas Texas, 2013
  • Best Paper Award, International Cyber Resilience Conference, Perth, Australia, 2011

Software/Hardware Vulnerability Disclosures:


  • CMSC 654: Memory and Malware Forensics
  • CMSC 414: Computer and Network Security
  • CSCI 4621: Introduction to Computer Security
  • CSCI 6627: Industrial Control System Security
  • CSCI 4623: Computer Forensics
  • CSCI 6621: Topics in Network Security and Forensics
  • CSCI 4311: Computer Networks
  • CSCI 4401: Operating System


  • Conference Organization:
    • Program chair, ACSAC Industrial Control System Security (ICSS) Workshop, 2015-2020
    • Program chair, ACSAC Malware Memory Forensics Workshop (MMF), 2014
    • General co-chair, 10th EAI International Conference on Digital Forensics & Cyber Crime (ICDF2C), 2018, New Orleans

  • Technical Program Committee (TPC) Member:
    • ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy (CODASPY) -- 2019-2021
    • Digital Forensics Research Conference (DFRWS USA) -- 2015, 2016, 2020
    • Digital Forensics Research Conference (DFRWS Europe) -- 2021
    • IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData) -- 2019-2020
    • ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) -- 2017-2021
    • Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE) -- 2020
    • International Conference on Smart City and Informatization (iSCI) -- 2019-2020
    • International Conference on Internet Monitoring and Protection (ICIMP) -- 2018-2019
    • International Conference on Digital Forensics \& Cyber Crime (ICDF2C) -- 2013-2018
    • International Conference on High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) -- 2014
    • International Conference on Emerging Technologies (ICET) -- 2012-2013, 2017
    • Annual Cyber and Information Security Research Conference (CISRC), held at Oak Ridge National Laboratory -- 2018
    • International Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems (IWCPS), held with IEEE TrustCom -- 2018
    • International Conference on Cyber-Technologies and Cyber-Systems (CYBER) -- 2018
    • The Northwest Cybersecurity Symposium at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Cybersec) -- 2020

  • Editorial Work:
    • Review Editor, Cybersecurity and Privacy Section, In Frontiers in Big Data, 2018~
    • Guest Editor, Special Issue on SCADA and Control System Security, In International Journal of Information Security (IJIS), Springer, Vol. 11, No. 4, August 2012
    • Guest Editor, Special Issue on Applications of Machine Learning Techniques on Intrusion Detection and Digital Forensics, In Security and Communication Networks Journal, Wiley, May 2011

  • Funding Proposal Reviewer:
    • NNSA Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP), 2020
    • ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award, 2020
    • DHS Office of University Programs for Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA), 2019
    • DHS Office of University Programs for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR) Center of Excellence (COE), 2019
    • UTSA Limited Submission for Department of Defense's Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) Science Program for basic research, 2019
    • Florida Center for Cybersecurity - Collaborative Seed Awards and Capacity Building Awards, 2018-2020
    • UTSA Limited Submission for the NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI), 2018
    • UTSA Limited Submission for Johnson & Johnson Scholars Program, 2018
    • DHS Scientific Leadership Awards at Minority Serving Institutions, 2016

  • External Cybersecurity Curriculum Reviewer:
    • Chair, External Curriculum Reviewer Team, Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 2019
    • External Reviewer, NSA National Cybersecurity Curriculum (NCCP) Program - Two courses on the Cybersecurity of Industrial Control Systems, 2018

  • Panel Moderator and Panelist:
    • Panelist, "Infrastructure Cybersecurity: Industry, Government, and Academia Viewpoints", University of New Orleans Engineering Forum, and Southeast Symposium on Contemporary Engineering Topics (SSCET), New Orleans LA, Sept 2017
    • Moderator, a panel on "SCADA System Security: Challenges and Future Directions", Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC), New Orleans LA, Dec 2014