Roya EnsafiPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Computer Science Department
Center for Information Technology and
| My main research interests lie in
computer networking and network measurement. The primary goal of my
current research is to better understand and bring transparency
to network interference caused by middleboxes. I`m interested in how middleboxes block, monitor, or tamper with
To this end, I have worked on several networking-related research projects in four areas:
Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher working closely with
Vern Paxson, and
I am also closely collaborating with
The Tor Project’s developers
to provide answers to their questions. In 2014, I finished my PhD at
the University of New Mexico under the
supervision of Jed Crandall.
- Studying national firewalls, especially the Great Firewall of China. In
collaborative efforts, we detected and documented the
that shows China’s capabilities for active man-in-the-middle attacks. More recently, we
investigated how the GFW’s active probing system is designed,
which is used to discover and block hidden circumvention proxies.
- Capturing a global view on Internet censorship, with Censored
Planet, an ongoing project and a platform to measure both IP and DNS censorship, without controlling any vantage
points. Censored Planet allows us to regularly collect “censorship snapshots”
of 143 countries—a scale that has never been achieved before.
- Developing effective side
channels (a.k.a. idle scans) for measuring how information flows between
two remote hosts around the world, without requiring any kind of distributed
measurement platform or access to any of the machines that connectivity is
tested to or from.
- Developing games to teach cybersecurity concepts. Specifically, we developed and utilized an online version of the game Werewolves of Miller’s
Hollow (a variant of Mafia). To avoid being eaten, students must exploit inference channels on a Linux system
to discover “werewolves” among a population of “townspeople.” This game has been adapted by other teachers.
- Applied Networking Research Prize, Internet Research Task Force, 2016
- Granted an NSF NeTS Early Career Workshop award, 2015
- Passed with Distinction Award for PhD dissertation, CS, UNM, December 2014
- Excellence in Graduate Research, Sigma Xi, UNM, 2014
- Graduate Student Mentor Award, UNM, 2011–2012
- Graduate Student Highlight, CS, UNM, January 2011
- MEP Fellowship, School of Engineering Scholarship, UNM, Fall 2009