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Security and Privacy

A stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace is vital for our economic and societal wellbeing. This concentration helps students learn how to fortify cyber networks, combat threats, and foster “white hat” hacking. Researching systems allows for students to improve real-world systems to make them stronger and securer. This also includes data-driven analysis of privacy and social networks. After graduation, our students often work either in private corporations or in governments.


Justin  Cappos
Brendan  Dolan-Gavitt
Phyllis   Frankl
Damon  McCoy
Nasir   Memon
Oded   Nov
Keith W. Ross

Adjunct Professors and Research Faculty

Thomas  Reddington


Sample research projects:

Damon McCoy, one of the department's newest faculty members, researched counterfeit pharmacy affiliate networks. Online sales of counterfeit or unauthorized products drive a robust underground advertising industry that includes email spam, “black hat” search engine optimization, forum abuse and so on. Virtually everyone has encountered enticements to purchase drugs, prescription-free, from an online “Canadian Pharmacy.” However, even though such sites are clearly economically motivated, the shape of the underlying business enterprise is not well understood precisely because it is “underground.”

Learn more about the business of online pharmaceutical affiliate programs here


Working in digital forensics and recovery, Nasir Memon, head of the CSE department, with a team of PhD students, founded the Digital Assembly company. This company works in products that recover digital photos that are fragmented or deleted.

Learn more about Digital Assembly here


Justin Cappos has been developing an open peer-to-peer computing system, Seattle. Nearly 100 students participated in its creation. The purpose of this project is to make cloud computing available to everyone. It's free and provides access to computers worldwide. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Learn more about Seattle Open Peer-to-Peer Computing here


People increasingly make important life decisions based on large amounts of data, using online tools. Professor Oded Nov works with students and collaborators to explore how novel computational tools and user interface design informed by social science can help people make sense and reason better about such data and their personal implications. In a series of studies, Nov and his doctoral student Junius Gunaratne showed how design informed by research in psychology and economics can help consumers make informed decisions and outperform users of traditional financial user interfaces. In another series of studies, Nov and his doctoral student Martina Balestra and their collaborators showed how design interventions affect users' understanding of and level of engagement with their personal genomic data. In another line of research, Nov and Professor Maurizio Porfiri study how design interventions help impact the behavior of contributors to citizen science projects.