Our research seeks to empower individuals and organizations to control how their data is used. We use techniques from cryptography, programming languages, machine learning, operating systems, and other areas to both understand and improve the security of computing as practiced today, and as envisioned in the future.

Everyone is welcome at our research group meetings (most Fridays at 11am, but join the slack group for announcements). To get announcements, join our Slack Group (any @virginia.edu email address can join themsleves, or email me to request an invitation).


Adversarial Machine Learning

Secure Multi-Party Computation
Obliv-C · MightBeEvil

Recent Posts

Deep Fools

New Electronics has an article that includes my Deep Learning and Security Workshop talk: Deep fools, 21 January 2019.

A better version of the image Mainuddin Jonas produced that they use (which they screenshot from the talk video) is below:

Markets, Mechanisms, Machines

My course for Spring 2019 is Markets, Mechanisms, Machines, cross-listed as cs4501/econ4559 and co-taught with Denis Nekipelov. The course will explore interesting connections between economics and computer science.

My qualifications for being listed as instructor for a 4000-level Economics course are limited to taking an introductory microeconomics course my first year as an undergraduate.

Its good to finally get a chance to redeem myself for giving up on Economics 28 years ago!

ICLR 2019: Cost-Sensitive Robustness against Adversarial Examples

Xiao Zhang and my paper on Cost-Sensitive Robustness against Adversarial Examples has been accepted to ICLR 2019.

Several recent works have developed methods for training classifiers that are certifiably robust against norm-bounded adversarial perturbations. However, these methods assume that all the adversarial transformations provide equal value for adversaries, which is seldom the case in real-world applications. We advocate for cost-sensitive robustness as the criteria for measuring the classifier’s performance for specific tasks. We encode the potential harm of different adversarial transformations in a cost matrix, and propose a general objective function to adapt the robust training method of Wong & Kolter (2018) to optimize for cost-sensitive robustness. Our experiments on simple MNIST and CIFAR10 models and a variety of cost matrices show that the proposed approach can produce models with substantially reduced cost-sensitive robust error, while maintaining classification accuracy.

This shows the results of cost-sensitive robustness training to protect the odd classes. By incorporating a cost matrix in the loss function for robustness training, we can produce a model where selected transitions are more robust to adversarial transformation.

Xiao will present the paper at ICLR in New Orleans in May 2019.

A Pragmatic Introduction to Secure Multi-Party Computation

A Pragmatic Introduction to Secure Multi-Party Computation, co-authored with Vladimir Kolesnikov and Mike Rosulek, is now published by Now Publishers in their Foundations and Trends in Privacy and Security series.

You can download the book for free (we retain the copyright and are allowed to post an open version) from securecomputation.org, or buy an PDF version from the published for $260 (there is also a printed $99 version).

Secure multi-party computation (MPC) has evolved from a theoretical curiosity in the 1980s to a tool for building real systems today. Over the past decade, MPC has been one of the most active research areas in both theoretical and applied cryptography. This book introduces several important MPC protocols, and surveys methods for improving the efficiency of privacy-preserving applications built using MPC. Besides giving a broad overview of the field and the insights of the main constructions, we overview the most currently active areas of MPC research and aim to give readers insights into what problems are practically solvable using MPC today and how different threat models and assumptions impact the practicality of different approaches.

NeurIPS 2018: Distributed Learning without Distress

Bargav Jayaraman presented our work on privacy-preserving machine learning at the 32nd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2018) in Montreal.

Distributed learning (sometimes known as federated learning) allows a group of independent data owners to collaboratively learn a model over their data sets without exposing their private data. Our approach combines differential privacy with secure multi-party computation to both protect the data during training and produce a model that provides privacy against inference attacks.

We explore two popular methods of differential privacy, output perturbation and gradient perturbation, and advance the state-of-the-art for both methods in the distributed learning setting. In our output perturbation method, the parties combine local models within a secure computation and then add therequired differential privacy noise before revealing the model. In our gradient perturbation method, the data owners collaboratively train a global model via aniterative learning algorithm. At each iteration, the parties aggregate their local gradients within a secure computation, adding sufficient noise to ensure privacy before the gradient updates are revealed. For both methods, we show that the noise can be reduced in the multi-party setting by adding the noise inside the securecomputation after aggregation, asymptotically improving upon the best previous results. Experiments on real world data sets demonstrate that our methods providesubstantial utility gains for typical privacy requirements.




Bargav Jayaraman, Lingxiao Wang, David Evans and Quanquan Gu. Distributed Learning without Distress: Privacy-Preserving Empirical Risk Minimization. 32nd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS). Montreal, Canada. December 2018. (PDF, 19 pages, including supplemental materials)