Areas of Interest
I take an interdisciplinary approach to research, applying research methods from diverse areas ranging from applied cryptography to human-computer interaction. For example, when I begin investigating a new problem, I first collaborate with application-domain experts and conduct user studies of stakeholders to identify key requirements and design constraints. Next, I design cryptographic protocols and develop proof-of-concept prototypes that address identified needs. Third, I conduct empirical evaluations to ensure that these prototypes satisfy the stakeholder requirements and stay within the identified design constraints in real-world usage. Critically, these evaluations include both technical evaluations—such as measuring latency or demonstrating the ability to stop an attack—and user-centered evaluations—such as usability testing and longitudinal studies. Notably, I am one of only a few researchers who takes such a holistic approach to security research.
I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’m married to Emily Ruoti and am the father of four children. When I’m not wrangling the children (which takes up most of my free time), I enjoy swimming, biking, and playing video games.
- 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
Prior Work Experience
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.