CIS Seminars & Events

Spring 2018 Colloquium Series

Unless otherwise noted, our lectures are held weekly on Tuesday or Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. in Wu and Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall.

February 8th (Rescheduled to Thursday, February 22nd)

Sebastian Angel
Computer Science Department
University of Texas at Austin
"Privacy despite mass surveillance"


Read Abstract and Bio

Abstract:
In the past decade there has been a significant increase in the collection of
personal information and communication metadata (with whom users
communicate, when, how often) by governments, Internet providers,
companies, and universities. While there are many ongoing efforts to secure
users' communications, namely end-to-end encryption messaging apps and
E-mail services, safeguarding metadata remains elusive.
I will present a system called Pung that makes progress on this front.
Pung lets users exchange messages over the Internet without revealing
any information in the process. Perhaps surprisingly, Pung achieves this
strong privacy property even when all providers (ISPs, companies, etc.) are
arbitrarily malicious.

I will also present several improvements to a general cryptographic building
block called private information retrieval (PIR) that underlies many privacy
preserving systems including Pung. Among these improvements, I will discuss
SealPIR, a new PIR library that achieves orders of magnitude more network
efficiency than the state-of-the-art. Finally, I will briefly touch on some of
my work on verifiable computation and interfacing with malicious USB devices.

Bio:
Sebastian Angel is a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Texas at Austin
and a visiting academic at New York University's Courant Institute of
Mathematical Sciences. His research interests are in systems, security,
and networking.



February 27th

Omer Paneth
Computer Science Department
MIT


Read Abstract and Bio

Abstract:
Computational problems whose input is a program are central in Cryptography, as well as Complexity, Learning, and Optimization. The nature of such problems crucially depends on the way the program is accessed -- as a black box or explicitly by its implementation.

In which settings can we exploit code to gain an advantage over black-box access? In Cryptography, we explore this question from two opposing perspectives:

- Protecting Code: Can we obfuscate a program's code so that its functionality is preserved but it is otherwise unintelligible? Intuitively, such obfuscated code reveals nothing more than black-box access to the program. Obfuscation is, therefore, a powerful tool with numerous applications in software protection and Cryptography.

- Exploiting Code: Most security proofs in cryptography consist of a reduction that translates any potential attacker into an algorithm solving some underlying hard problem. While most security reductions only require black-box access to the attacker, for many applications black-box reductions are provably insufficient. Can we exploit the attacker's code to prove security where black-box reductions fail?

In this talk, I will describe new techniques for protecting and exploiting code, taking advantage of the inherent tension between these two tasks. I will also demonstrate applications of these techniques in and beyond cryptography.


 

March 1st

Stefano Tessaro
Computer Science Department
University of California, Santa Barbara

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

 

March 13th

Taesoo Kim
School of Computer Science
College of Computing, Georgia Tech


Read Abstract and Bio

ABSTRACT:

Computer systems are highly vulnerable; attackers everyday discover
new security vulnerabilities and exploit them to compromise the target
systems. This talk will present our approaches to automatically
prevent software vulnerabilities from exploitation. In particular,
this talk will describe in detail two classes of vulnerabilities: an
emerging class, called "type confusion" (or "bad casting"), and a new
class we discovered, called "uninitialized padding," causing
information leakage in the Linux kernel. This talk will explain what
these vulnerabilities are, how attackers exploit them, why/how
developers introduced them, and why it is non-trivial to avoid them in
complex, real-world programs. Finally, approaches to automatically
eliminate them in practice will be demonstrated.

BIO:

Taesoo Kim is a Catherine M. and James E. Allchin Early Career
Assistant Professor in the School Computer Science at the Georgia
Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He also serves as the director
of the Georgia Tech Systems Software and Security Center (GTS3). He is
genuinely interested in building a system that prioritizes security
principles first and foremost. Those principles include the total
design of the system, analysis of its implementation, elimination of
certain classes of vulnerabilities, and clear separation of its
trusted components.  His thesis work, in particular, focused on
detecting and recovering from attacks on computer systems, known as
“undo computing.” Taesoo holds a S.M. (2011) and a Ph.D. (2014)
from MIT.

 

March 15th

Seyed Zahedi
Computer Science Department
Duke University

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

March 20th

Huijia (Rachel) Lin
Computer Science Department,
University of California, Santa Barbara

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

March 22nd

Saurabh Gupta
Computer Science Department
University of California at Berkeley

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

March 29th

Samira Khan
Computer Science Department,
University of Virginia

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

April 3rd

Radhika Mittal
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
University of California at Berkeley

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


April 5th


Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


April 10th

 

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


April 12th

Nika Haghtalab
Computer Science Department,
Carnegie Mellon University

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

April 17th

Jacob Andreas
Computer Science Department
University of California, Berkeley

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

April 19th

Judy Hoffman
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
University of California at Berkeley

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

April 24th

Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
University of Washington

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA


 

April 26th

Ali Farhadi
Computer Science Department,
University of Washington

Read Abstract and Bio

TBA