Computer Security and Privacy Research: The Past, the Present, and the Future
The computer security and privacy research field — like all research fields — is continuously evolving. Many factors contribute to this evolution, including: (1) the continued evolution and expansion of the computing field as a whole, (2) a greater awareness of the full spectrum of stakeholders impacted by computer security-related decisions, (3) greater connections between computing systems and the physical world, and (4) the rapid growth of the field through both internal (trained within the security field) and external (moving into the security field) routes.
In this talk, I offer my view of the computer security field’s evolution over the past 20 years, reflect upon its current state, and make some predictions for the future. I emphasize “my” in “my view” because the picture I will paint captures just a slice — just one perspective — on the computer security field as a whole. I will draw upon my past work as examples, e.g., I will touch on automotive security, online advertising, mixed reality, DNA synthesis and sequencing, and more. Along the way, I will leverage a central tool from within the computer security community — threat modeling — that may be useful to those wishing to add a computer security research element to an existing project or explore computer security research as a discipline.
Tadayoshi Kohno (Yoshi) is a professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he is also the associate director for diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. He has adjunct appointments in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, the Information School, and the School of Law. He co-directs the University of Washington Computer Security & Privacy Research Lab and the Tech Policy Lab. Kohno was a founding member of the National Academies Forum on Cyber Resilience and is currently a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Technical Advisory Board and the USENIX Security Steering Committee. Kohno received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.