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TJ OConnor

Assistant Professor | Computer Engineering and Sciences

Cybersecurity Program Chair

Contact Information

Personal Overview

Dr. O’Connor’s research has centered on computer security, emphasizing cybersecurity education, the security and privacy of IoT devices, wireless protocols, software-defined networking, and machine learning approaches for security. He has authored a book in the area and published his research in the proceedings of several academic conferences. Dr. O’Connor served 20 years as an US Army Officer, retiring in 2019 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His service included an academic appointment to the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the US Military Academy and four assignments supporting the Special Forces from the tactical level in Afghanistan and culminated as the Chief Information Officer for the 1st Special Forces Command Headquarters. Dr. O’Connor is active in cyber security competitions and is the current coach for the FITSec Cybersecurity Team and previously coached the US Cyber Games Team.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Computer Science, NC State University, 2019
  • M.S., Computer Science, NC State University, 2008
  • M.S., Information Security Engineering, SANS Technology Institute, 2012
  • B.S., Computer Science, US Military Academy at West Point, 1999

Professional Experience

  • Chief Information Officer, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) 
  • Group Signal Officer, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  • Battalion Signal Officer, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  • Assistant Professor, EECS Dept, US Military Academy

Current Courses

  • CSE 3801: Introduction to Cybersecurity (Course Rewrite)
  • CSE 3810: Cyber Defense Fundamentals​ (Course Author)
  • CSE 4820: Mobile/Wireless Security (Course Author)
  • CSE 4830: Binary Reverse Engineering (Course Rewrite)
  • CSE 4840: Cyber Offense Fundamentals (Course Author)
  • CSE 4850: Vulnerability Research (Course Rewrite)
  • CSE 4510: Designing Cybersecurity Games (Course Author)
  • CSE 5401: Independent Study
  • CYB 5998: Capstone Research

Courses Previously Taught at US Military Academy, West Point NY

  • CS485F: Digital Forensics
  • CS482: Information Assurance
  • IT485E: Computer Exploitation
  • IT305: Theory and Practice of Military Information Technology Systems
  • IT105/155: Introduction to Computing and Information Technology

Selected Publications

TJ OConnor, Carl Mann, Tiffanie Petersen, Isaiah Thomas and Chris Stricklan. Toward an Automatic Exploit Generation Competition for an Undergraduate Binary Reverse Engineering Course.  In Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE), Dublin, Ireland, July 2022. ACM. (acceptance rate=29%) [bib] [pdf]

TJ OConnor. Helo darkside: Breaking free from katas and embracing the adversarial mindset in cybersecurity education. In Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), Providence, RI, March 2022. ACM. [bib] [pdf]

Ahmed Alhazmi, Ghassen Kilani, William Allen, and TJ OConnor. A replication Study for IoT Privacy Preferences. IEEE Conference on Omni-Layer Intelligent Systems (COINS). August 2021 [bib] [pdf]

TJ OConnor, Dylan Jesse, and Daniel Camps. Through the Spyglass: Toward IoT Companion App Man-in-the-Middle Attacks. USENIX Cyber Security Experimentation and Test Workshop (CSET). August 2021. [bib] [pdf]

Daniel Campos, TJ OConnor. Towards Labeling On-Demand IoT Traffic. USENIX Cyber Security Experimentation and Test Workshop (CSET). August 2021. [bib] [pdf]

TJ OConnor, Chris Stricklan. Teaching a Hands-On Mobile and Wireless Cybersecurity Course. ACM Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). June 2021. (acceptance rate=31%) [bib] [pdf]

Chris Stricklan, TJ OConnor. Towards Binary Diversified Challenges For A Hands-On Reverse Engineering Course. ACM Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). June 2021. (acceptance rate=31%) [bib] [pdf]

Blake Janes, Heather Crawford, and TJ OConnor. Never Ending Story: Authentication and Access Control Design Flaws in Shared IoT Devices. IEEE Security and Privacy SafeThings Workshop (SafeThings). May, 2020. [bib] [pdf]

TJ OConnor, William Enck, and Bradley Reaves. Blinded and Confused: Uncovering Systemic Flaws in Device Telemetry for Smart-Home Internet of Things, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (WiSec), May, 2019. (acceptance rate=25.6%, Best Paper) [bib] [pdf]

TJ OConnor, Reham Mohamed, Markus Miettinen, William Enck, Bradley Reaves, and Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi. HomeSnitch: Behavior Transparency and Control for Smart Home IoT Devices, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (WiSec), May, 2019.  (acceptance rate=25.6%) [bib] [pdf]

TJ OConnor, Wiliam Enck, W.M. Petullo, and Akash Verma. PivotWall: SDN-Based Information Flow Control. Symposium on SDN Research (SoSR). March 2018. (acceptance rate=28.6%) [bib] [pdf]

Recognition & Awards

  • Co-P.I., Office of Naval Research: Educational Approaches and Curriculum to Engage and Educate a More Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce $746,929.
  • Co-P.I., Office of Naval Research: Multidisciplinary Approach to Internet-of-Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Research $249,946.


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