Duke Computer Science Colloquium

Improving Online Security through Understanding Human Behavior

Speaker:Ben Zhao
Date: Monday, April 11, 2016
Time: 11:45am - 1:00pm
Location: D106 LSRC, Duke
Lunch will be served.


The human user is a critical component in the security of today's online systems. While users are often seen as attractive targets for security attacks, improved understanding of their actions can be instrumental in identifying misbehavior and attacks, as well as defending against a new class of human-driven malicious crowdsourced attacks. In this talk, I will present some of our efforts to improve security by using data-driven techniques to characterize and model complex human behaviors. First, I will talk about experiences using "clickstream similarity graphs," a range of unsupervised models that reveals natural clusters of correlated user behavior in online systems, using server-side logs of user-generated events (clickstreams). We use clickstream analysis to capture anomalous users and previously unknown attacks in large online systems. Second, I describe our results on highly interpretable behavior models, which help us to characterize user behavior at multiple levels of granularity and track their behavioral changes over time. Finally, I summarize our ongoing efforts to detect and defend against attacks in mobile apps, crowdsourcing platforms, and financial markets.


Ben Y. Zhao is a Professor at the Computer Science department, U. C. Santa Barbara. He completed his MS and PhD degrees in CS from Berkeley and his BS from Yale. He is an ACM distinguished scientist, and recipient of the NSF CAREER award, MIT Technology Review's TR-35 Award (Young Innovators Under 35), ComputerWorld Magazine's Top 40 Tech Innovators award, Google Faculty award, and IEEE ITC Early Career Award. His work has been covered by media outlets such as New York Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, MIT Tech Review, and Slashdot. He has published over 130 publications in areas of security and privacy, networked/distributed systems, wireless networks, data-mining and HCI (H-index 54). He is TPC co-chair of the upcoming World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2016).

Hosted by:
Benjamin Lee (ECE)