Measuring and Impacting Grand Tussles in Cyberspace

Date and time: 
Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 15:30
220 Deschutes
Zubair Shafiq
Assistant Professor, The University of Iowa
  • Ramakrishnan Durairajan


The Internet is defined by a series of ongoing tussles between different stakeholders with divergent interests. Zubair Shafiq, Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa will discuss his research about three grand tussles related to networking, security, and privacy.

First, while encryption helps user security and privacy, it limits capabilities of network operators to analyze traffic for managing scarce network resources. Shafiq will discuss the encryption tussle between content providers and network operators, which has driven recent advancements in middleboxes, Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), HTTP/2, and QUIC.

Second, spammers have long between trying to create fake accounts on online social networks. As online social networks have deployed sophisticated machine learning solutions to detect fake accounts, spammers have started to leverage compromised accounts of real users to evade detection. He will discuss the cat and mouse game between social network operators and spammers.

Third, ad-blockers threaten the ad-powered free web. Users are frustrated by online ads, which disrupt user experience, incentivize widespread tracking, and are routinely exploited to spread malware. Shafiq will discuss the rapidly escalating arms race between websites and ad-blockers. 


Zubair Shafiq is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Iowa. He received PhD in Computer Science from Michigan State University, for which he was awarded the Fitch-Beach Outstanding Graduate Research Award. He received BE in electrical engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology Pakistan, for which he was awarded Dean’s Plaque for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. He received Best Paper Awards at the 2017 ACM Internet Measurement Conference and the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols. His research focuses on measurement and modeling of networking, security, and privacy issues.