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 had an unexpectedly large group of amazing new PhD students join SAND Lab in 2023. We are not prioritizing student recruitment in 2023-2024, but can potentially add 1 if there is a good fit. 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.


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!

Congrats to Emily, Christian, Roma, Arjun, Josephine, Emi for their 3 papers at NeurIPS 2022!

Congrats to Shawn, Wenxin and Emily for their upcoming CCS paper!

Congrats to Emily Wenger, just named winner of a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship!

Congrats to Shawn and Arjun for the ML Forensics paper, soon to appear at USENIX Security 2022!

Congrats to Huiying, Shawn and Emily for the Blacklight paper, soon to appear at USENIX Security 2022!

Congrats to Ben, now a Fellow of the ACM (UChicago News, ACM Press Release)

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

Congrats to Emily, Max, Christian, Jenna and Angela on their CCS paper on voice cloning attacks!

Congrats to Zhujun for filing her dissertation and joining ByteDance China!

Congrats to Emily, Josephine, Arjun and Kevin on their CVPR paper on backdoor attacks on facial recognition in the real world!

Total global downloads of the Fawkes photo cloaking tool hits 500,000 in March!

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 (2015-2022)

  • 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 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!