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Colloquium: Empiricism-Informed Secure System Design: From Improving Passwords to Helping Domestic Violence Victims

Event Details

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
4-5 p.m.

Security often fails in practice due to a lack of understanding of the nuances in real-world systems. For example, users choose weak passwords to deal with the several usability issues with passwords, which in turn degrades the security of passwords. I will talk about how we can build better security mechanisms by combining methodical empiricism with analytical frameworks.  First, in the context of passwords, I will show how to improve the usability of passwords by allowing users to log in with typos in their passwords. I will detail in the talk how to do so without giving attackers any additional advantage to impersonate a user.  

In the second part of my talk, I will talk about my recent research direction on how traditional authentication mechanisms fail to properly model digital attacks by domestic abusers, and therefore are ineffective for victims. As a result, abusers can spy on, stalk, or harass victims using seemingly innocuous apps and technologies.  I will finish with some recent progress that I have made in helping victims of tech abuse, and provide some future research directions. 

Coffee and Cookies will be available.