Security remains elusive in today’s computing systems. Data theft, privacy violations and the compromise of critical infrastructure regularly make headlines. Security breaches affect the operations and reputations of businesses and governments around the world, as well as the lives of ordinary people.

Cornell Tech has one of the world’s leading academic research groups specializing in security, privacy and cryptography. Its faculty are known for their influence on industry, non-profit and government practice, as well as for their highly cited and award-winning research results. Their work spans a wide range of topics, including user privacy, the theory and practice of cryptography, cryptocurrency, censorship, game theory, machine learning security and Internet of Things security and privacy, to name just a few.

To a degree unusual in academic research, the Cornell Tech security group regularly consults with industry practitioners to drive and inform its research. Additionally, it collaborates regularly with faculty in other domains, such as HCI and Social Computing and Law and Policy. The group aims to have a clear, positive impact on the security status quo and to educate a new generation of students capable of innovating in the face of tomorrow's security challenges.




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Ari Juels

Professor Ari Juels’s group has been addressing key technical challenges in the development of blockchain technologies. Blockchains, or distributed ledgers, are a form of database with unusually strong security guarantees. They promise to transform the financial industry by providing a single, authoritative record of transactions across multiple institutions, and have applications in many other domains as well, including identity management for stateless persons / refugees, the creation of new forms of insurance, and the incubation of new marketplaces for virtual goods, among others. Prof. Juels’s group works collaboratively with other Cornell / Tech faculty on these applications under the aegis of the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3), which Prof. Juels co-directs.

Recent paper:  Sealed-Glass Proofs: Using Transparent Enclaves to Prove and Sell Knowledge. IEEE Euro S&P, 2017.


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Helen Nissenbaum

Professor Helen Nissenbaum’s projects explore privacy protection through technology and policy. One project involves a close analysis of privacy threats in mobile health apps. Another project considers challenges to all attribute-based approaches to privacy from big data analytics. She is also engaged in collaborative projects focusing on ethical and political values emerging from human-AI systems in which functions performed by humans are delegated to machines.

Recent paper:  Measuring Privacy — An Empirical Test Using Context to Expose Confounding Variables. Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, 2017.


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Rafael Pass

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.

Recent paper:   Non-black-box Simulation From One-way Functions and Applications to Resettable Security. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 2016.


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Thomas Ristenpart

Professor Tom Ristenpart’s group has been studying how to navigate the security implications of industry’s shift to cloud computing. In addition to uncovering novel threats that uniquely arise in cloud computing infrastructure, such as side-channel attacks that allow theft of cryptographic keys, his group also works on new encryption algorithms for use by enterprises and other organizations to secure data before uploading to the cloud, as well as understanding the confidentiality and privacy implications of the rapid adoption of cloud-based machine learning. 

Recent paper:  Network Traffic Obfuscation and Automated Internet Censorship. IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine, 2016.


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Vitaly Shmatikov

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 twice, in 2008 and 2014. Vitaly'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. Vitaly holds a PP-ASEL/ASES-IA pilot certificate, drinks 10 cups of coffee a day, and is known as a taco connoisseur.

Recent paper:  Membership Inference Attacks Against Machine Learning Models. S&P (Oakland) 2017.