Yanzi Zhu PhD Defense

Monday, July 29, 2019 - 11:30am to 1:30pm
HFH 1152
Mobile Sensing of the Environment: Practical Design, Misuse, and Defense
Yanzi Zhu
Heather Zheng (Co-chair), Ben Zhao (Co-chair), Upamanyu Madhow


Wireless devices are everywhere, in our homes, offices, and on the street. The invisible RF signals, like WiFi and millimeter waves, transmitted by these devices pass through or bounce off objects and our bodies, carrying information about the location, shape, and even the movement of the object/human. Thus, by capturing and analyzing these signals, we can build advanced mobile systems to “sense” the details about the surrounding objects/humans and assist services like drone delivery.

But advancing the mobile sensing systems also raises significant concerns in privacy and security risks to our daily lives. Being sensed, we unwillingly reveal our presence, locations, and even activities. Misuse of these could help attackers launch a set of physical attacks and commit serious crimes. We need to understand and defend against such potential misuses.

My research focuses on designing a practical and portable mobile sensing system of the environment, while defending against adversarial usage in our daily lives. In this talk, I will mainly focus on the second part. I will present ways of mobile sensing that reveal our physical information from an attacker’s perspective, and discuss various defense mechanisms against such misuse.

Everyone welcome!