A nefarious act of cyberbullying in my sophomore year was the onset of my passion and the need to get into network security to alleviate such issues in our society. There are dangerous applications with privacy issues flooding markets, and we need the know-how of individuals and quick action against them while the danger still looms. Thus, the desire to ensure safety in the applications and avoid cyberbullying has heightened my desire to join the MSCS.
Owing to my interest and projection that I would further my studies in this field, I have consciously undertaken various academic projects to groom myself for it adequately. While taking a course related to computer architecture, professor People A(University of Michigan) proposed that usable privacy is essential for users to adopt. With the inspiration of that idea, I worked with him and his graduate student. In our research, we implemented a Sequester Encryption, or SE, to ensure data security while computing data. SE keeps sensitive information under encryption and controls it by hardware enclave. The host CPU will communicate with the SE enclave, which is physically isolated from host hardware; this design ensures security while performance is not affected by a significant overhead. Our project, in the meanwhile, conducted a paper that introduced a collection of optimizations that reduce communication costs for FPGA-based latency-sensitive acceleration applications, where I contributed to general profiling of the reuse rate and memory consumption by recording and calculating the object’s lifecycle. We also evaluated a domain developed in a data-oblivious manner while only the SE enclave can see plain values. I hope these experiences will help in my graduate study, and I will keep challenging myself to toughen up further.
Not only technology platform is needed, but users’ perception of the technology is also important and might be exploited. This is what I’ve learned through my next project. I was involved in a three-day workshop on outdated cookie consent with research revealing misleading category names. The current cookie consent category names were defined ten years ago and proven to be misleading from prior research. Therefore, our study intends to ensure that the kind of privacy people are comfortable exposing to the website is consistent with their choice of cookie usage. In the study, Professor People B(Carnegie Mellon University) mentored us to perform an experiment by renaming the cookies to improve people’s perception of cookie categories. Our impressive work provided a statistically significant difference when selecting the correct cookie definition in 2 out of 4 categories. This study enforced my understanding of user-center privacy, and I considered that we could achieve privacy protection easier if people had easy access to security information and technology.
As I was pursuing my passion in this regard, the need to also prove that the computer science field is not male-only has pushed me my resolve to join the MSCS and succeed. This is borne from a research conference I attended aimed at improving the current situation of gender inequality. Inspired by the words of an old professor at the conference who experienced discrimination, I began to learn from female predecessors and the discrimination they encountered. There is a need to have allies in the field, and by going into it, I would have increased the number to offer each other support. Ultimately, with the preparation leaning towards security tenets, I am capable of completing rigorous projects at a high standard, thus pushing the scientific knowledge boundaries further through extensive research.
At UCB, I look forward to furnishing myself with knowledge in security and networks. The knowledge sought will entail network security and the interdisciplinary of AI and security. The topics will give insights into the security field, building into my future career where I would delve into researching academia. I would be involved in lab research to gain more experience as I work to be a senior academician and provide solutions to the security menace. I love to see top-notch online security ensuring people’s safety and well-being. Also, the distinguished professors at UCB are renowned academic leaders equipped with expertise and knowledge, which provides an enviable learning platform to a desirable fraternity. I am interested in Professor Sylvia Ratnasamy’s research topic (design and implement networked system) and her research center, The NetSys lab. I am curious about the lab’s past projects, such as RCS and Smarter Prefetching. Professor David Wagner and Ion Stoica also attract me to join the program. Their range of specializations includes AI and security interaction, an area I have deprivation of knowledge of, cloud computing, distributed systems, and networking. The impressive professors and a hands-on course focusing on students’ strengths and sharpening them to alleviate weaknesses make UCB a crucial place to undertake the program. I look forward to a chance at UCB, which will be a dream come true.