The SAND Lab (Security, Algorithms, Networking and Data) at University of Chicago is co-directed by Professor Ben Y. Zhao and Professor Heather Zheng. Our research spans topics in security, machine learning, networked systems, HCI, data mining and modeling. Lab members includes (8-12) PhD and MS students, as well as undergrad researchers and visiting scholars.

Join us!

We are looking to add 1-2 passionate and driven PhD students to the lab in the 2021 application cycle! If you're interested, please fill out this little Google form so we can keep you on a short list of candidates, and make sure to mention Heather and Ben when checking boxes for faculty in your UChicago PhD Application.


If you're looking for the Fawkes tool for image privacy, go here for documentation, FAQ, technical paper and downloads.

Total global downloads of the Fawkes photo cloaking tool hits 335,000 in January!

Congrats to Yuxin, Zhuolin and the team for their upcoming CHI paper on User Authentication using EMS!

Congrats to Kevin for filing his dissertation and joining ByteDance research! Onwards and upwards!

Congrats to Shawn & Emily (co-first authors), Jiayun and Huiying for their USENIX Security paper on imaging cloaking for privacy against unauthorized machine learning models!

Congrats to Kevin for accepting an offer to join ByteDance as a researcher on their Machine Learning Security team! Now just finish that thesis!!

Congrats to Shawn, Emily, Bolun and Bo on their new CCS paper on using honeypots (trapdoors) to capture adversarial attacks on deep neural networks!

Congrats to Yuxin, Huiying, and Zhijing for their Best paper honorable mention award at CHI 2020! (Bracelets of Silence!)

Congrats to Jenna, Shiliang and Xinyi for their Best paper honorable mention award at CHI 2020! (Gender Bias Detection!)

Arjun Nitin Bhagoji will be joining us as a Post-doc Scholar this fall to work on Security and Machine Learning!

Publicity on our "Bracelet of silence" is just blowing up after a New York Times article! You can find more articles on this from around the globe on our Press/Media page.

Congratulations to Huiying for being named a 2020 Facebook Fellow!

New SciTechDaily article on our NDSS paper on adversarial location via WiFI reflection.

Congrats to Yuxin, Huiying and Shan-Yuan on their CHI paper on Wearable Microphone Jammers!

Congrats to Jenna, Shiliang and Xinyi on their CHI paper on gender bias detection!

Congrats to Yanzi, Zhujun, Yuxin, Zhijing and Max on their NDSS paper on adversarial sensing!

Congrats to Kevin and Huiying on their CCS paper on latent backdoor attacks on DNNs!

Current Research Areas

Research at the SAND lab encompasses topics across multiple areas, most heavily centered around three core areas: wireless and mobile systems, HCI and social behavior, security and privacy. Please see individual links below for more information on specific ongoing projects and related publications.

Adversarial Machine Learning

  • Projects
  • Adversarial Attacks against and using ML
  • Malicious Crowdsourcing and Defenses

Wireless and Mobile Systems


HCI and User Behavior


Recent Papers (2015-2020)

  • CCS: Honeypots as defense for DNNs
  • USENIX Security: Fawkes Image Cloaking
  • CHI: Wearable Ultrasonic Microphone Jammers
    ** Best Paper Honorable Mention!
  • CHI: Gender Bias Detection
    ** Best Paper Honorable Mention!
  • NDSS: Adversarial Sensing Attacks
  • CCS: Latent Backdoor Attacks on DNNs
  • SIGCOMM: Automated ACL management
  • MobiHoc: ML for spectrum anomaly detection
  • Oakland/S&P: Backdoor Attacks on DNNs
  • USENIX SEC: Transfer Learning Attack on DNNs
  • CSCW: Gender Bias over Time
  • CCS: Fake Online Reviews using DNNs
  • IMC: ML as a Service
  • ICWSM: Echo chambers in discussion boards
  • ICWSM: Venmo mobile payments
  • MobiSys: Single device 60GHz radar
  • WWW: Identifying value in crowdsourced data
  • IMC: Anatomy of personalized livestreaming svcs
  • IMC: Empirical link prediction
  • SenSys: Commodity Spectrum Monitoring
  • MobiSys: Defending Against Sybil Devices
  • ICWSM: Misbehavior in location-based soc. networks
  • CHI: Unsupervised clickstream clustering
  • NSDI: Cellular traffic optimization
  • COSN: Towards Graph Watermarks
  • COSN: Process-driven Analysis of Dynamics in Online Social Interactions
  • Mobicom: Practical 60GHz Mobile Radar
  • SIGCOMM: Congestion Control for Large-scale RDMA Deployments
  • SIGCOMM: Packet-Level Telemetry in Large Datacenter Networks

News and Upcoming Deadlines

  • 11/2019: Lab receives DARPA GARD grant on adversarial attacks
  • 8/2019: Lab receives NSF grant on Spectrum anomaly detection
  • 7/2019: Yanzi completes his PhD and moves to Google!
  • 7/2019: Ben interviewed by CNBC and speaks at AI/Work summit
  • 6/2019: Xinyi, Zhijing and Shiliang defend their PhDs and move to Facebook!
  • 6/2019: Ben speaks about weaponized AI to Chicago Bar Association
  • 5/2019: Articles in UChicago Magazine and UChicago news about our research
  • 4/2019: Congrats to lab alum Gang, who moves to UIUC CS as Assistant Professor!
  • 2/2019: Congrats to lab alum Christo, who wins Sloan Fellowship!
  • 12/2018: Bolun completes his PhD and moves to Facebook!