The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

Workshop on Usable Security

Nikola K. Blanchard
10am-4pm, Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, ITE 228, UMBC


We invite people interested in cybersecurity to join us for research conversations with Nikola Blanchard, an expert in usable security. Visitors are welcome to participate in any or all of the workshop.

How do we make better codes and passwords? As security constraints increased at the expense of usability, we saw no real improvement in practical performance. This session will introduce some basic notions of usability of security (with applications to voting technology), and the first mental-only password management algorithm. Participants will then be presented with the problem of evaluating such algorithms, and will have a brainstorming activity on designing alternative methods.

Biographical Sketch. After an initial training in mathematics and informatics at ENS Paris, Nikola K. Blanchard started a PhD at IRIF, supervised by Nicolas Schabanel and Ted Selker. In 2015, they joined the Random Sample Voting Project to develop voting protocols, prevent vote selling and improve the deployment of new voting technologies, organizing multiple test elections. They recently started doing research on usability of security with Ted Selker, initially for secure voting technologies but expanding into the field of password research. As e-democracy research requires not just security or usability but also political science, they joined the Chôros think tank and teamed up with Géza Tessényi to co-found the Public Opinion Platform, adding the deliberation aspect needed for any e-democracy project. They are currently in the process of publishing a book on the use of randomness in political institutions.

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

Biweekly Cyber Defense Lab meetings will resume in the spring term, 12noon-1pm on Fridays

This event is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS Grant 1241576