ECE Seminar with Prateek Mittal

4:00 pm on Monday, February 11, 2013
Photonics Center, 8 Saint Mary’s St., Room 339
Trustworthy Communications Using Network Science With Prateek Mittal Postdoctoral Scholar Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences University of California, Berkeley Faculty Host: David Starobinski Refreshments will be served outside Room 339 at 3:45 p.m. Abstract: Our online communications are plagued by increasing threats to security and privacy. Sophisticated surveillance technologies can track online activities, and the insecurity of network protocols threatens the safety of our critical infrastructure. In this talk, I argue that network science can play an important role in cybersecurity by illustrating how understanding and manipulating structural properties of networks can help design trustworthy communication systems. First, I will discuss how specially designed network structures can help protect users’ privacy by enabling them to communicate anonymously. Our system, ShadowWalker, is built around a network topology that is both fast mixing and inherently verifiable. This allows ShadowWalker to scale to millions of users while being resilient to attacks on user anonymity. Second, I will discuss how network structure can be leveraged to detect and isolate fake (Sybil) accounts in online social networks. Our system, SybilInfer, exploits differences in mixing properties between benign accounts and fake accounts. SybilInfer demonstrates how graph theoretic machine learning techniques can be applied to security problems. Finally, I will conclude by highlighting the potential for leveraging complex network structures in a broad range of security and privacy problems. About the Speaker: Prateek Mittal is a postdoctoral scholar in electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on building secure and privacy-preserving systems. His work has influenced the design of widely-used systems such as the Tor network. He received the M.E. Van Valkenburg graduate research award for outstanding doctoral research, the Rambus Computer Engineering fellowship, and the ACM CCS 2008 outstanding paper award. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.