Email: e.decristofaro (at) ucl (dot) ac (dot) uk
Phone: +44 20 7679 0349 (email before calling)
Signal: upon request
Twitter: @emilianoucl

Emiliano De Cristofaro


Associate Professor in Security and Privacy Enhancing Technologies
Head of the Information Security Research Group
Department of Computer Science, University College London
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
6.04 Malet Place Engineering Building (map)



Short Bio

I am an Associate Professor ("Reader" until recently) in Security and Privacy Enhancing Technologies at University College London (UCL)'s Computer Science Department, where I head the Information Security Research Group. I am also a Faculty Fellow at the Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and AI. Before joining UCL in 2013, I was a research scientist at Xerox PARC. I received a summa-cum-laude Laurea degree in Computer Science from the University of Salerno, Italy (2005), then, in 2011, a PhD in Networked Systems from the University of California, Irvine, advised by Gene Tsudik. My dissertation, titled "Sharing Sensitive Information with Privacy," can be found here. 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).

Overall, I do research in security and privacy-enhancing technologies. These days I work on understanding and countering security issues via measurement studies and data-driven analysis, as well as tackling problems at the intersection of machine learning and security/privacy.

Recent News

  • Joined the PC of Oakland 2020 and ACM CCS 2019
  • Our paper "On the Origins of Memes by Means of Fringe Web Communities" (PDF) won distinguished paper award at IMC – congrats Savvas et al!
  • Paper accepted at IEEE S&P ("Oakland"): "Exploiting Unintended Feature Leakage in Collaborative Learning" – congrats Luca et al.!
  • PhD positions! The Turing Institute fully funds 15 PhD studentships a year. If you're interested in doing a PhD in Privacy and Machine Learning (or know someone who is), please get in touch ASAP.
  • Paper accepted at ACM SIGCOMM's Computer Communication Review (CCR): "On Collaborative Predictive Blacklisting" (PDF) – congrats Luca and Apostolos!
  • Paper accepted at ACSAC 2018: "LOBO – Evaluation of Generalization Deficiencies in Twitter Bot Classifiers" – congrats Juan!
  • Two papers accepted at PETS 2019: "LOGAN: Membership Inference Attacks Against Generative Models" (PDF) and "Systematizing Genome Privacy Research: A Privacy-Enhancing Technologies Perspective" (PDF) – congrats Alexandros, Luca, and Jamie!

Research Group

I am also very lucky to collaborate with a number of other students at UCL and elsewhere, including Savvas Zannettou, Enrico Mariconti, Despoina Chatzakou, Jamie Hayes, and Andrea Cerulli.

Working with me

Please send me a short, personal email with your CV and 2-3 paragraphs summarizing your research interests, whether you have funding, and whether you have already contacted someone in UCL's Information Security Group, if you are interested in:

  • Applying for a PhD or post-doc under my supervision. If I don't have specific openings announced, you could find information about scholarships for outstanding students on this page. We also have funding through the Security Science Doctoral Training Center and the Turing Institute
  • Being hosted at UCL on research visits or fellowships. There are several opportunities for fellowships, including with the EPSRC, Royal Society, Marie Curie, Fulbright, etc.

Teaching (2018-19)


I was born in Avellino, a small town in South of Italy on the green hills of Irpinia. Irpinia is known for its landscapes, medieval castles, hazelnuts, black truffles, torrone, and some great wines like Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino, and Greco di Tufo (which I know of thanks to my brother Paolo who is a top wine journalist). I have spent six awesome years in sunny California (4 in Irvine and 2 in Palo Alto), 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, pretending to be akin to a movie critic, remembering (not without melancholy) the times I used to surf in San Onofre, cooking (pasta and pizza of course), and planning trips with my better half, Darya. I speak English, Italian, and French, and can utter enough words to get out of (or in, most of the times) trouble in German, Spanish, and Farsi.