Sysadmins are Users Too: Understanding and Catering Security for System Operators and Administrators

December 2, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 pm ET
Halligan 102, or Zoom
Speaker: Frank Li, Georgia Tech ECE
Host: Dan Votipka


Over the last two decades, the computer security research community has increasing recognized and embraced the socio-technical nature of many security issues. As a result, there has been rich and vibrant exploration of human factors in security, particularly focused on typical end users (e.g., PC/laptop and mobile device users). However, until more recently, there has been significantly less investigation into the operators and administrators managing Internet systems for various organizations. This population is a distinct but important one, whose technical sophistication and unique responsibilities in maintaining their organizations’ security distinguish them from end users.

In this talk, I will highlight the importance of understanding how these operators manage the security of Internet systems. I will discuss several of my works, both past and ongoing, that use Internet and web measurement techniques (e.g., Internet-wide scanning, web crawling) as well as traditional user studies to identify operator security behavior, and that develop socio-technical approaches to drive better security behavior. These works touch on aspects of patching vulnerabilities, correcting security misconfigurations, and managing online password authentication.

Bio: Frank Li is an Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, jointly appointed in the newly formed School of Cybersecurity and Privacy and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research focuses on understanding and improving Internet security in a data-driven fashion, using various approaches including Internet measurements, user studies, and software analysis. His research has received two best paper awards (ACM IMC and USENIX SOUPS), and has been funded by the NSF, DARPA, and industry partners. He completed his Ph.D. in computer science at UC Berkeley and his B.S. in computer science from MIT.

Please join meeting in Halligan 102 or via Zoom.

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Meeting ID: 971 8312 0811

Password: See colloquium email

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Meeting ID: 971 8312 0811

Passcode: See colloquium email