Colloquium Details

Getting to the Cloud and Using it, Securely

Speaker: Thomas Ristenpart, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: October 17, 2014, 11:30 a.m.

Host: Subhash Khot


Cloud computing services such as Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine are hosting an increasing number of important software systems. Security threats loom, however, and in this talk I will present my research on understanding these threats as well as providing solutions that improve security in the cloud and elsewhere. I will show how adversaries can mount side-channel attacks in public infrastructure-as-a-service clouds; detail a cryptographic primitive called format-preserving encryption that is now used widely in industry; and describe recently deployed improvements to censorship-resilient communications protocols that help ensure users can access cloud-hosted websites.

Cloud security serves as just one vehicle for my broader research approach of finding application-specific problems, distilling from them broader research questions, and bringing together appropriate collaborators and methodological techniques to find solutions. The goal is both practical impact and new insights into the nature of computer security. As further examples, I will provide a brief look at my ongoing work on machine learning and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Speaker Bio:

Thomas Ristenpart is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research spans a wide range of computer security topics, most recently focusing on new threats to, and opportunities for, cloud computing security, as well as topics in applied and theoretical cryptography. His work has been featured in the New York Times, MIT Technology Review, ABC News, U.S. News and World Report, and elsewhere. He completed his PhD at UC San Diego in 2010, received the UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering Department Dissertation Award in 2011, an NSF CAREER Award in 2013, Best Paper Award at USENIX Security 2014, and is a co-PI for the ongoing NSF SATC Frontier Project called Silver focusing on cloud security topics.


Refreshments will be offered starting 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the talk.

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