Areas of Interest
- Ph.D. in Computer Science, Brigham Young University, 2016
- M.S. in Computer Science, Brigham Young University, 2015
- B.S. in Computer Science, Brigham Young University, 2011
- B.A. in Chinese, Brigham Young University, 2011
My primary research focus is computer security and privacy. I am particularly interested in researching how to create software systems that ensure correct and secure operation when deployed to actual users. As such, I conduct holistic, interdisciplinary research using methods from the measurement, security and privacy, and human-computer interaction (HCI) communities. My research process starts by (1) measuring the real-world impact of a given problem, then (2) designing systems that address those issues, and finally (3) conducting usability studies to evaluate whether the developed systems achieves its goals under realistic usage conditions when operated by actual users.
My current interests include authentication (improving password managers and multi-factor authentication), usable encryption (usable secure email and messaging), helping software developers create secure software, and building systems with decentralized trust (blockchain technology).
Prior to my time at the University of Tennessee, I was a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. While there, I led a range of efforts, including acting as the chief architect for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber.gov program that is tasked with creating a next-generation cybersecurity architecture for all non-DoD federal departments and agencies. I also led a research team exploring non-cryptocurrency usages for Blockchain technology. Prior to my time at MIT Lincoln Laboratory I’ve also worked at Microsoft, Microsoft Research, Google, Blue Coat Systems (Symantec), and Sandia National Laboratories.
As part of my dissertation, I designed email systems that are both secure and easy-to-use, especially for novice users. The final version of our secure email system outperforms other similar systems in terms of usability, ranking in the top 15% among the hundreds of software systems subjected to a standard usability test. My design reduced user errors from 25% to 2%, and increased user understanding and trust in secure email.