I am (Full) Professor of Security and Privacy Enhancing Technologies at University College London (UCL). I am affiliated with the Computer Science Department and currently serve as Head of the Information Security Research Group and Director of the Academic Center of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR). Before joining UCL in 2013, I was a Research Scientist at Xerox PARC.

I am also a Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and AI, and on the Technology Advisory Panel at the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). And, I am a co-founder of the International Data-driven Research for Advanced Modeling and Analysis Lab (iDrama Lab).

Research

Overall, I do research in the broad information security area. Recently, I have been doing a lot of work at the intersection of machine learning and privacy, as well as on understanding and countering cybersafety issues using measurement studies and data science.

My research has been published at top-tier conferences such as IEEE S&P, NDSS, ACM CCS, WWW, ICWSM, ACM IMC. My co-authors and I have received best/distinguished paper awards from NDSS 2018, ACM IMC 2018, and CyberSafety 2019, as well as the Data Protection by Design Award from the Catalan Data Protection authority, and were runners-up for best paper at ACM IMC 2014 and ICWSM 2017.

Education

  • PhD in Networked Systems, 2011
    University of California, Irvine
    Advisor: Gene Tsudik
    Dissertation: Sharing Sensitive Information with Privacy
  • BSc in Computer Science, 2005
    University of Salerno, Italy
    Summa cum Laude, top 1% in graduating class

During my PhD, I also spent a few months on research internships at NEC in Heidelberg (2008), INRIA in Grenoble (2009), and Nokia in Lausanne (2010).

News

  • Two papers accepted at ICWSM 2020: 1) “And We Will Fight For Our Race!” A Measurement Study of Genetic Testing Conversations on Reddit and 4chan and 2) Characterizing the Use of Images in State-Sponsored Information Warfare Operations by Russian Trolls on Twitter – congrats Alexandros and Savvas!
  • Paper accepted at ACM WPES: “How Much Does GenoGuard Really Guard? An Empirical Analysis of Long-Term Security for Genomic Data” – congrats Bristena!
  • Paper accepted at ACM CSCW: “You Know What to Do: Proactive Detection of YouTube Videos Targeted by Coordinated Hate Attacks” – congrats Enrico et al.!
  • Paper accepted at ACM IMC: “Challenges in the Decentralized Web: The Mastodon Case” – congrats Aravindh et al.!
  • Paper accepted at ICWSM: “And We Will Fight For Our Race!” A Measurement Study of Genetic Testing Conversations on Reddit and 4chan has been accepted – congrats Alexandros!
  • Joined the PCs of ACM SIGMETRICS and WWW
  • Incredibly honored to be promoted to (Full) Professor with a Chair in Security and Privacy Enhancing Technologies at UCL
  • Small US “tour” in June to give a keynote at the CVPR CV-COPS in Long Beach and participate in a workshop on federated learning and analytics at Google Seattle
  • Joined the Information Commisioner’s Office (ICO) as member of the Technology Advisory Panel
  • Our paper “Disinformation Warfare: Understanding State-Sponsored Trolls on Twitter and Their Influence on the Web” won best paper award at WWW CyberSafety!
  • On the PC of CCS, S&P, Usenix, and NDSS – how did that happen? :-)

Personal

I was born in Avellino, a small town in South of Italy on the green hills of Irpinia. Irpinia is known for its landscapesmedieval castles, hazelnuts, black trufflestorrone, and some great wines like Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino, and Greco di Tufo (which I know of only thanks to my brother Paolo who is a top wine journalist). I have spent six awesome years in California before moving to (pre-Brexit) London. I have also lived in Venice, Rome, Portsmouth, Heidelberg, Singapore, Grenoble, Lausanne, and Barcelona.

In my free(?) time, I like acting as a coffee snob and anti-pineapple pizza radical, remembering (with melancholy) the times I used to surf San Onofre, cooking (only pasta and pizza, obviously), and planning trips with my better half Darya and little one Maya. I am fluent in English, French, Italian (+Napoletano), and can utter enough words to get out of (or in, most of the times) trouble in German, Spanish, and Farsi.