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!

In any normal year, we are usually looking to add 1-2 passionate and driven PhD students to the lab. 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.


Congrats to Anna, Josephine, Ronik, Shawn and Reid for their generative AI image detection paper, to appear at ACM CCS 2024!

Congrats to Shawn, Wenxin, Josephine, Stanley for the Nightshade paper, to appear at IEEE S&P 2024!

Congrats to Wenxin and Arjun on the model versioning paper to appear at SaTML 2024!

Wow, Congrats to Shawn, Jenna and Emily for being named to Forbes 30 under 30, 2024! What an honor!

Glaze wins the Chicago Innovation Award

Glaze wins special mention in TIME Magazine's Best Inventions of 2023

Congrats to Wenxin, Arjun and our Princeton collaborators on the NeurIPS spotlight paper!

Congrats to Cathy and Emily for their new Salsa papers at CCS (Picante) and NeurIPS (Verde)!

Congratulations to our new PhD grads, Huiying, Emily, Francesca, and Jenna!
It's the end of an era, and we will miss you all!

Congrats to Heather, now a Fellow of the ACM (ACM Press Release)

Congrats to Emily for her selection as a Siebel Scholar, class of 2023!

Congrats to Emily for her selection in EECS Rising Star 2022!

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 (2019-2023)

  • ACM CCS: GenAI image detection
  • IEEE SaTML: Robust model versioning
  • IEEE S&P: Nightshade attack
  • USENIX SEC: VR Keystroke Inference
  • PETS: Data Isotopes
  • USENIX SEC: Glaze
    ** Forbes 30 under 30 (Shawn / Jenna / Emily)!
    ** TIME Magazine Best Inventions!
    ** Chicago Innovation Award!
    ** USENIX Internet Defenese Prize!
    ** Distinguished Paper Award!
  • USENIX SEC: General Keystroke Inference
  • PETS: Protection for Face Editing
  • Oakland: anti-facial recognition
  • NeurIPS: Representation similarity
  • NeurIPS: Natural backdoors
  • CCS: Whitebox attack recovery
  • USENIX SEC: Poison Forensics
  • USENIX SEC: Blackbox defense
  • CCS: Voice cloning attacks
  • IJCAI: Bias in Anomaly Detection
  • CVPR: Backdoor attacks in real world
  • CHI: EMS-based user authentication
  • 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 Defense

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!