Cornell boasts leading cybersecurity research group

Ari Juels
Rafael Pass
Thomas Ristenpart
Vitaly Shmatikov

With the addition of four faculty members at Cornell Tech, Cornell’s Department of Computer Science is among the world’s elite for cybersecurity, privacy and cryptography research.

The Cornell scientists are known for their influence on industry, nonprofit and government practice, as well as for their highly cited, award-winning research. Their work spans data encryption, cryptography, cryptocurrency, machine-learning and Internet of Things privacy and security. To a degree unusual for an academic-based research team, the faculty located at Cornell Tech will consult regularly with industry practitioners to drive and inform best practices and the group’s research.

“Cybersecurity touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives, from consumer privacy to the security of corporations and governments and, increasingly, to criminal investigations,” said Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher. “Cornell Tech brings together four of the world’s leading cybersecurity experts as they identify new vulnerabilities and advance the state of the art in modern security.”

Cornell Tech faculty members’ current efforts include “Honey Encryption,” the use of decoys and deception to make encrypted data harder to access even if stolen; keeping enterprise-setting passwords secure in the event of a system breach; design of a secure anonymous survey system; and development of a system to preserve privacy in deep learning, particularly when applied to sensitive data.

The Cornell Tech faculty include:

  • Ari Juels is a co-director of IC3 (Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts), based at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, where he is also a professor. He was previously the chief scientist of RSA, the security division of EMC, the leading provider of intelligence-driven security solutions. His recent work includes cloud security, defensive uses of deception, security for machine learning, cryptocurrencies and smart contracts.
  • Rafael Pass is an associate professor of computer science at Cornell University and Cornell Tech. His research focuses on cryptography and game theory and their interplay with computational complexity. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award and the Google Faculty Award. He was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, a Microsoft Faculty Fellow and a Wallenberg Academy Fellow.
  • Thomas Ristenpart is an associate professor of computer science at Cornell University and Cornell Tech. His recent research focuses on new threats to, and improved opportunities for, cloud computing security, as well as topics in applied and theoretical cryptography. He received the University of California, San Diego, Computer Science and Engineering Department Dissertation Award, an NSF CAREER Award, Best Paper Award at USENIX Security 2014 and a Sloan Research Fellowship.
  • Vitaly Shmatikov is a professor of computer science at Cornell University and Cornell Tech. His research areas are security and privacy. He received the PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies in 2008 and 2014. Shmatikov’s research group won the Best Practical Paper or Best Student Paper Awards at the 2012, 2013 and 2014 IEEE Symposiums on Security and Privacy (“Oakland”), as well as the NYU-Poly AT&T Best Applied Security Paper Award, NDSS Best Student Paper Award and the CCS Test-of-Time Award.

Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 26, 2016.

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Melissa Osgood