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1) Please identify and describe the research direction (if any) you want to conduct in authentication and handshake protocols.

2) Please describe any research experience and/or preparation that may support you towards this research-oriented PhD study.

My capstone project for the Bachelor's degree was to identify vulnerabilities in virtual utility companies by using security tools and developing mitigation plans based on the results.

Hers is some helpful info about my research.
VUC recently has procured actual devices from the field made available for your assessment. You will need to review the devices and perform a security assessment of them and report back to VUC management.
What is an end system technical security assessment?

Use tools such as Nessus, Harris STAT, LanGuard, MBSA, CISecurity.org, vendor documentation, message boards, exploitdb, Metasploit, or any other technical scanning/assessment tool to produce a report Then, using these results - report upon each individual finding:

How to respond (How to remediate with prioritization)?
When to respond (What is the exposure)?
What if you do nothing (What is the worst that could happen)

For this part: (As an Individual)
Perform a security assessment of a host operating system configuration [use your computer, an online system image or a computer in the lab]

For this part: (As a Group)
Perform a security assessment of three of the VUC field devices available in the computer lab on the 3rd floor.

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1) Please identify and describe the research direction (if any) you want to conduct in authentication and handshake protocols.

I would start out talking about what you want to do for the research direction and since it is only 2 paragraphs I would just give a short definition of one in each paragraph. Here is an example:
Many business transactions on the Internet occur between strangers with no prior relationship and no common security domain (Hess, n.d) making authentication very important and reliant on handshake protocols. When a server conducts a secure on-line transaction with a stranger, two common security problems must be addressed: first, the details of the transaction must remain confidential; second, the server must authenticate the client according to the pre-existing policy that specifies who is to be considered trustworthy for the given transaction. Traditional security approaches based on identity or capabilities do not solve the problem of authentication between strangers because strangers do not share a common security domain (Hess, n.d). This is why choosing the proper security and handshake protocols are so incredibly important.
The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol can provide confidentiality and also provide the client and server authentication but is not suitable for strangers trying to conduct business transactions (Hess, n.d). Chap (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol) is intended primarily for use primarily by hosts and routers that connect to a PPP network server via switched circuits or dial-up lines, but might be applied to dedicated links as well (Network Sorcery Inc., n.d).
I am not ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses the research direction (if any) you want to conduct in authentication and handshake protocols.

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