Danfeng (Daphne) Yao, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA


Yao Group on Computer Security

Our research is focused on cyber security, in particular network and information security, human-behaviors in computer security, user-centric and user-friendly systems, insider threats, secure information sharing, data privacy, and applied cryptography.

What is storytelling security? Find out more HERE.

Research Directions

News and Announcements

  • (Aug. 2014) Our paper on Android malware classification with manifest and user-intention based dependence features will appear in the International Conference on Information Security Conference (ISC) '14.

  • (Aug. 2014) Dr. Yao received Army Research Office Young Investigator Award to support her work on semantic and causality reasoning for mission assurance.

  • (Jun. 2014) US patent titled "Systems and method for malware detection" awarded! Congrats to our former students Deian Stefan and Chehai Wu.

  • (Apr. 2014) Congrats to Karim Elish and his Android malware detection project on winning the first place in VT CS Graduate Research Competition (out of 28 projects)!

  • (Apr. 2014) Daphne Yao to give a departmental seminar at Texas A&M titled Precise Modeling of Benign Program Behaviors for Proactive System Defense on April 7th (hosted by Prof. Guofei Gu).

  • (Mar. 2014) Congrats to Karim Elish on being selected as a finalist for VT Torgersen Graduate Research Award!

  • (Feb. 2014) Our work on how to discover the triggering relations in network traffic for malware detection will appear in ASIACCS '14! Congrats to Hao Zhang and our collaborator Prof. Naren Ramakrishnan.

  • (Dec. 2013) Congrats to Brian Thompson on successfully defending his PhD thesis (on computational modeling event-driven networks) at Rutgers!

  • (Nov. 2013) Provisional patent filed by VT on our data loss prevention technology. We can accurately and efficiently screen massive amount of content and identify exposed sensitive data.
    Our technique detects transformed data leaks ten times more accurate than the state-of-the-art Bloom filter and set intersection methods.

  • (Oct. 2013) Professor Trent Jaeger to visit Virginia Tech and Yao group.

  • (Oct. 2013) Virginia Tech Engineering ranks 24th in the nation by US News.

  • (Sept. 2013) Professor Guofei Gu visited Virginia Tech and Yao group.

  • (Sept. 2013) VT is the 7th best university for computer science majors, based on earnings of graduates.

  • (Jul. 2013) Our new IEEE TDSC paper on why and how to strongly authenticate your applications on computers.

  • (Jun. 2013) Our system work on securing private data during computation against leaky VMs in clouds got in IEEE CNS 2013! Congrats to Huijun!

  • (Apr. 2013) Huijun successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis. Congrats Dr. Xiong!

  • (Apr. 2013) Hussain successfully defended his PhD thesis. Congrats Dr. Almohri! He will become an assistant professor at Kuwait University!

  • (Mar. 2013) VT's College of Engineering ranks 24th in the nation according to US News.

  • (Feb. 2013) Danfeng to present User-Intention Based Anomaly Detection at UC Irvine, Kansas State, and VT ECE Dept.

  • (Jan. 2013) Our work on massive-scale stealthy command and control through DNS to appear in IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing (TDSC)!

  • (Dec. 2012) Roberto Tamassia (Danfeng's former PhD advisor) named ACM Fellow!

  • (Oct. 2012) Our work on reverse engineering network protocols received the Best Paper Award at ICNP! Congrats to my coauthors at CAS and MSU!

  • (Sep. 2012) Our data-leak detection project received support from Ontario Systems through S2ERC Center (a NSF I/UCRC)!

  • (Jul. 2012) Yao group to receive a 3-year ONR grant to support their anomaly detection research

  • (Jun. 2012) Danfeng to give a talk at Verisign in July.

  • (Jun. 2012) Danfeng gave talks at Tianjin University in her hometown in China on user-centric anomaly detection.

  • (May 2012) Yao group received financial support from Verisign via S2ERC for research on program analysis based malware identification! Our prelim work is here.

  • (Mar. 2012) Congrats to Karim Elish on winning the first place in the annual VT Graduate Research Competition for his data protection work!

  • (Feb. 2012) Danfeng received the VT College of Engineering Outstanding Assistant Professor Award.

  • (Nov. 2011) Our two papers on authenticated application (A2) and cloud-based content delivery got in the ACM CODASPY Conference! Congrats to Huijun and Hussain!

  • (Sep. 2011) Our journal paper on TPM-enabled kernel data integrity was accepted by IEEE TDSC!

  • (Aug. 2011) Yao group received generous supports from Northrop Grumman for cyber security research!

  • (Jul. 2011) Danfeng to serve as on the editorial board of International Journal of Security and Networks (IJSN).

  • (Jul. 2011) Our behavior-based drive-by-download detection work got in the Conference on Network and System Security (NSS) -- acceptance rate 22%!

  • (Jul. 2011) Two papers on cloud computing security got in SecureComm '11!

  • (Jul. 2011) Danfeng to give a talk at Huawei Research in NoCal.

  • (June, 2011) Our cyber game project received funding from VT ICTAS!

  • (June, 2011) Congrats to Yipan on his successful Master thesis defense and job offer from Intel! Congrats to Hao on his internship offer from Amazon!

  • (April, 2011) Provisional patent filed on our data-loss detection solutions.

  • (March, 2011) Two papers (DNS-bot analysis and protocol-state inference) got in ACNS '11 (18% acceptance rate)! Also congrats to our collaborators in China Academy of Sciences.

  • (February, 2011) Our personalized anomaly detection work received support from Army Research Office (ARO)!

  • (January, 2011) Huijun starts her exciting co-op at Huawei in NoCal!

  • (December, 2010) Our paper on identity management for mashups to appear in the Identity in Information Society Journal!

  • (October, 2010) Our paper on detecting identity spoofing through keystroke analysis received the Best Paper Award at CollaborateCom '10!

  • (October, 2010) Peter Lee (CMU/MSR) to visit VT Computer Science and Yao group.

  • (August, 2010) VT's College of Engineering undergrad program is ranked 13th, tied with Northwestern, Johns Hopkins and U Wisc - Madison, according to US News.

  • (August, 2010) Our inter-disciplinary collaboration work with Rutgers Professor James Garnett on enabling flexible information sharing across organizational domains will appear in Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management!

  • (July, 2010) Our journal paper on the security of user-centric wireless systems to appear in a special issue of Future Internet edited by Ralf Steinmetz and Andre Koenig.

  • (June, 2010) Our poster on detecting drive-by-download attacks on hosts appears in the 13th International Symposium On Recent Advances in Intrusion Detection (RAID) 2010. Congratulations to Kui!

    Full version of our infection-onset detection paper is available HERE.

    Our old (June 2009) slides describing our drive-by-download detection can be found HERE.

  • (April, 2010) Our paper titled "Knowing Where Your Input is From: Kernel-Level Provenance Verification" is accepted by Applied Cryptography and Network Security (ACNS) 2010.

  • (April, 2010) Danfeng to give talks at VT ECE Department, Georgia Tech, and UNC Chapel Hill.

  • (February, 2010) Two journal papers to appear: one on role-based cascaded delegation in IEEE SMC and one on identity management in Identity in the Information Society.

  • (January, 2010) Dr. Yao received the NSF CAREER Award supporting her work on human-behavior driven malware detection.

  • (November, 09) Our work on activity-based continuous authentication is on NSF News.

  • (November, 09) Our paper on anonymizing Netflix Prize data is accepted by ASIACCS '10. Congratulations to Chih-Cheng and Brian, and my collaborator Prof. Wendy Wang!

  • (October, 09) Our paper on detecting outbound malware traffic is accepted by ICICS '09. Congratulations to Huijun and other co-authors!




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