Faculty

Aviel Rubin

Professor

Technical Director of the JHU Information Security Institute

Information Security Group

Research Interests

  • Computer Security
  • Applied Cryptography

Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science, technical director of the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute (ISI), and founder of Harbor Labs, is recognized throughout academia, the computer science industry, and government for his expertise in computer security and applied cryptography.

Rubin’s extensive research and service encompass the full scope of information security issues from hacking and healthcare cybersecurity to high-tech litigation. The first person to expose the vulnerabilities of electronic voting in his book Brave New Ballot: The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting (Random House, 2006), Rubin is the sought-after expert on electronic voting. He has briefed Congress and high-ranking Army officials at the Pentagon on election tampering and other issues of national security, served as an expert witness for numerous court cases involving technology litigation, and has given TED talks on hacking in an increasingly connected world (October 2011 and September 2015). In addition, he holds nine patents for various applications for secure online transactions.

Rubin leads the ISI’s research agenda and collaborations in the areas of networking, wireless, systems evaluation, medical privacy, electronic voting, and the practical applications of cryptography and encryption technology. His current area of focus is the interplay between security and healthcare IT, including medical records encryption and developing the devices needed to secure healthcare networks. Founded in 2001, the ISI is one of the first university research centers dedicated to information security.

He directs JHU’s Health and Medical Security (HMS) Lab, a collaboration between the ISI and informatics researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. HMS creates novel cryptographic techniques to protect electronic medical records and their storage in untrusted locations (cloud storage, mobile devices) for easy and secure use by patients and clinicians. Under his guidance, HMS has developed Charm, a Python-based framework for rapidly prototyping cryptographic systems, which addresses the urgent need for the development of open source community applications from cryptographic research advances.

In 2011, Rubin founded Harbor Labs, a company that provides security consulting, professional training, and technical expertise and testimony in high-tech litigation. Using methodologies and sophisticated toolsets (many developed by Harbor Labs experts), Harbor Labs provides high-fidelity testing, development, and experimentation services. Prior to joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, Rubin worked in the Secure Systems Research Department at AT&T Labs – Research. He also served as director and principal investigator for the National Science Foundation’s A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, and Transparent Elections (ACCURATE) Center and was founder and president of Independent Security Evaluators.

The recipient of a 2009 Google Research Award for securing medical records on smartphones and a Fulbright Scholar (2010), Rubin also won an Electronic Frontiers Foundation Pioneer Award (2004). His papers have won several awards, and he was named the 2004 Baltimorean of the Year by Baltimore Magazine for his work in safeguarding the election process. In addition to Brave New Ballot, Rubin is the author of two books on web security, numerous journal articles, and book chapters. He has served as guest editor, associate editor, and editorial board member for dozens of information security journals. His conference leadership and presentations for web security, financial cryptography, and health IT conferences include frequent participation in the USENIX HealthTech Workshop on Health Information Technologies and the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, among others. Rubin is a director of the Maryland Israel Development Center, a former USENIX director, and currently serves on the technical advisory boards for technology start-ups, RunSafe, ZeroFox, and Snag-a-Slip.

He received a BS (with honors) in computer science (1989), and an MSE (1991) and PhD (1994) in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Back to top