Personal profile


I earned my PhD in Computer Science from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) in 1998 under the direction of Paul Van Oorschot and Evangelos Kranakis. From 1998 till 2002 I was a Research Scientist at Entrust, a security software company, where I performed code security reviews, contributed to new product developments and created new IETF and W3C standards, primarily related to authentication and key management. From 2002 till 2008 I worked for the Government of Canada. In 2003, I designed the "account recovery" interface for the Government Online portal, used by more than six million citizens. I also contributed to design of the portal's "epass" authentication service. In 2008 I made the leap to full-time academic work, where I continue to build on my usable security research, as well as applying machine learning to security. I started as a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh in 2008, then in 2010 I became a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, and in 2015 I moved to Heriot-Watt University as an Associate Professor.

Research interests

I am primarily interested in computer security, and in applying human-computer interaction (HCI) and machine learning (ML) techniques to solve computer security problems. I also apply fundamental security techniques to design, and attack modelling and analysis. For example, I have enumerated the attack space for partial passwords and the answers to challenge questions, and I have modelled attacks to implicit smartphone authentication. The results of my research include critical evaluations of current security solutions, the establishment of new security and usability methodologies, and the design of new security techniques. I currently apply these methods and techniques to authentication protocols, and mobile devices and networks, though I am very interested in broader applications of my research.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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