Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
Virginia Tech

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Email: vbimal at cs dot vt dot edu
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2202 Kraft Drive
Knowledge Works II, RM 2227
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Phone: 540-231-8702

My research interests broadly cover security and privacy aspects of large online services. I am particularly interested in the emerging space at the intersection of machine learning and security. Three research directions include: (1) Attacks using ML: Investigating how recent developments in ML can be misused to abuse online services. (2) Attacks on ML systems: Understanding vulnerabilities of ML systems (e.g., Face recognition) and improving robustness. (3) ML for better security/privacy: Leveraging advances in ML to build better defenses against attacks on online services.

I completed my Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems where I was advised by Prof. Krishna P. Gummadi and Prof. Alan Mislove. Before joining VT, I spent ~2 years as a Postdoc in SAND lab (at UCSB and UChicago) working with Prof. Ben Y. Zhao. Prior to that, I spent a year as a Researcher at Nokia Bell Labs, Stuttgart.

I am looking for students to work on research projects. Email me if you are interested!

Latest Updates

May 2019: Invited to NDSS'20 TPC.
Mar 2019: Invited to TPCs of IMC'19, ACSAC'19, and Usenix Security'20.
Oct 2018: Teaching CS5984 Security Analytics in Spring 2019. Course summary is here.
Aug 2018: Teaching CS4254 Network Architecture and Programming in Fall 2018. Course details are up on canvas.


I am delighted to work with the following fantastic students:


  • What Happens After You Leak Your Password: Understanding Credential Sharing on Phishing Sites
    Peng Peng, Chao Xu, Luke Quinn, Hang Hu, Bimal Viswanath, and Gang Wang
    ASIACCS 2019, Auckland, New Zeland, July 2019

  • Neural Cleanse: Identifying and Mitigating Backdoor Attacks in Neural Networks
    Bolun Wang, Yuanshun Yao, Shawn Shan, Huiying Li, Bimal Viswanath, Haitao Zheng, and Ben Y. Zhao
    IEEE S&P (Oakland) 2019, San Francisco, CA, USA, May 2019

  • With Great Training Comes Great Vulnerability: Practical Attacks against Transfer Learning
    Bolun Wang, Yuanshun Yao, Bimal Viswanath, Haitao Zheng, and Ben Y. Zhao
    USENIX Security 2018, Baltimore, MD, USA, August 2018

  • I Spy with My Little Eye: Analysis and Detection of Spying Browser Extensions
    Anupama Aggarwal, Bimal Viswanath, Liang Zhang, Saravana Kumar, Ayush Shah, and Ponnurangam Kumaraguru
    EuroS&P 2018, London, UK, April 2018

  • Towards Reliable Application Deployment in the Cloud
    Ruichuan Chen, Istemi Ekin Akkus, Bimal Viswanath, Ivica Rimac and Volker Hilt
    CoNEXT 2017, Seoul, South Korea, December 2017

  • Sieve: Actionable Insights from Monitored Metrics in Distributed Systems
    Jörg Thalheim, Antonio Rodrigues, Istemi Ekin Akkus, Pramod Bhatotia, Ruichuan Chen, Bimal Viswanath, Lei Jiao, Christof Fetzer
    Middleware 2017, Las Vegas, NV, USA, December 2017
    PDF BIBTEX Website Technical report

  • Complexity vs. Performance: Empirical Analysis of Machine Learning as a Service
    Yuanshun Yao, Zhujun Xiao, Bolun Wang, Bimal Viswanath, Haitao Zheng and Ben Y. Zhao
    IMC 2017, London, UK, November 2017

  • Automated Crowdturfing Attacks and Defenses in Online Review Systems
    Yuanshun Yao, Bimal Viswanath, Jenna Cryan, Haitao Zheng and Ben Y. Zhao
    CCS 2017, Dallas, TX, USA, October 2017

  • Strengthening Weak Identities Through Inter-Domain Trust Transfer
    Giridhari Venkatadri, Oana Goga, Changtao Zhong, Bimal Viswanath, Krishna P. Gummadi and Nishanth Sastry
    WWW 2016, Montreal, Canada, April 2016

  • Strength in Numbers: Robust Tamper Detection in Crowd Computations
    Bimal Viswanath, M. Ahmad Bashir, M. Bilal Zafar, Simon Bouget, Saikat Guha, Krishna P. Gummadi, Aniket Kate, and Alan Mislove
    COSN 2015, Stanford University, CA, USA, November 2015
    PDF BIBTEX Best Paper Award

  • Towards Detecting Anomalous User Behavior in Online Social Networks
    Bimal Viswanath, Muhammad Ahmad Bashir, Mark Crovella, Saikat Guha, Krishna P. Gummadi, Balachander Krishnamurthy and Alan Mislove
    USENIX Security 2014, San Diego, CA, USA, August 2014

  • Understanding and Specifying Social Access Control Lists
    Mainack Mondal, Yabing Liu, Bimal Viswanath, Krishna P. Gummadi and Alan Mislove
    SOUPS 2014, Menlo Park, CA, USA, July 2014
    PDF BIBTEX Distinguished Paper Award

  • Defending Against Large-scale Crawls in Online Social Networks
    Mainack Mondal, Bimal Viswanath, Allen Clement, Peter Druschel, Krishna P. Gummadi, Alan Mislove, and Ansley Post
    CoNEXT 2012, Nice, France, December 2012

  • Keeping Information Safe from Social Networking Apps
    Bimal Viswanath, Emre Kıcıman, and Stefan Saroiu
    WOSN 2012, Helsinki, Finland, August 2012

  • Canal: Scaling Social Network-based Sybil Tolerance Schemes
    Bimal Viswanath, Mainack Mondal, Krishna P. Gummadi, Alan Mislove, and Ansley Post
    EuroSys 2012, Bern, Switzerland, April 2012

  • Understanding and Combating Link Farming in the Twitter Social Network
    Saptarshi Ghosh (co-primary author), Bimal Viswanath (co-primary author), Farshad Kooti, Naveen Kumar Sharma, Korlam Gautam, Fabricio Benevenuto, Niloy Ganguly, and Krishna P. Gummadi
    WWW 2012, Lyon, France, April 2012

  • Exploring the Design Space of Social Network-based Sybil Defenses (Invited Paper)
    Bimal Viswanath, Mainack Mondal, Allen Clement, Peter Druschel, Krishna P. Gummadi, Alan Mislove, and Ansley Post
    COMSNETS 2012, Bangalore, India, January 2012

  • Sharing Social Content from Home: A Measurement-driven Feasibility Study
    Massimiliano Marcon, Bimal Viswanath, Meeyoung Cha, and Krishna P. Gummadi
    NOSSDAV 2011, Vancouver, Canada, June 2011

  • An Analysis of Social Network-based Sybil Defenses
    Bimal Viswanath, Ansley Post, Krishna P. Gummadi, and Alan Mislove
    SIGCOMM 2010, New Delhi, India, August 2010

  • You Are Who You Know: Inferring User Profiles in Online Social Networks
    Alan Mislove, Bimal Viswanath, Krishna P. Gummadi, and Peter Druschel
    WSDM 2010, New York, NY, USA, February 2010

  • On the Evolution of User Interaction in Facebook
    Bimal Viswanath, Alan Mislove, Meeyoung Cha, and Krishna P. Gummadi
    WOSN 2009, Barcelona, Spain, August 2009
    PDF Original PDF (with Errata) Errata Note BIBTEX

Selected News

  • Towards Detecting Anomalous User Behavior in Online Social Networks (Usenix Security 2014)
  • Understanding and combating link farming in the Twitter social network (WWW 2012)