Partner Series
Finding the Gaps in Privacy and Security Systems
Vitaly Shmatikov
Credit: NSF

Vitaly Shmatikov breaks things — namely computer privacy and security systems and tools — to make them better. It's a line of work he says he loves, and it couldn't be more relevant to our times. The data we think is private — for example, our movie buying history on Netflix or the personally identifiable information that social networking sites store — is not as protected as we may think, he says. "A lot of my research is about ... understanding what happens to personal data, how to protect it from malicious use. And that's obviously important, because these days we live in a world where data about individuals is collected and shared all over the place." In addition to anonymity and privacy, his research focuses on tools and formal methods for automated analysis and verification of secure systems. Shmatikov is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining UT, he worked as a computer scientist at SRI International. He received his Ph.D. in 2000 from Stanford University. Below, he answers our 10 questions.

Name: Vitaly Shmatikov
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Field of Study: Computer security and privacy, formal methods for analysis of secure systems and network protocols

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