Richard McPherson

Currently I'm in New York City as a "Visiting Student" at Cornell Tech

Email: [my first name] (at)
Office: GDC 6.728E
Lab: GDC 6.710A
(last updated: 12/23/2016)

I was a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin under Prof. Vitaly Shmatikov. My research focuses primarily on privacy, censorship resistance, and general computer security. I recieved my PhD in December 2016. Here is a LaTeX dissertation template for dissertations.

I graduated from the University of Virginia College of Arts & Sciences in 2010 with a double major in Physics and Computer Science.

In my free time, I fence epee with the UT Fencing Club and code various network proxies.


I currently work with Prof. Vitaly Shmatikov. We are investigating privacy preserving systems and developing new censorship resistant technology. I have also worked on mobile/web security.

Previously I worked with Prof. Brent Waters studying the security of two-way radios and their use of cryptography. We were able to break the security of ST-25 radio scrambling chips which were used by the NFL until 2012. We were also able to partially reverse the encryption schemes of some commercial two-way radios.

I have also worked with Prof. Michael Walfish in the LASR group on verified outsourced computations. Among other things, I worked on proofs of correctness, optimizing cryptographic primitives, and implementing and testing our protocols.

While at UVA I worked on digital signature schemes with Prof. abhi shelat.


Defeating Image Obfuscation with Deep Learning
Richard McPherson, Reza Shokri, Vitaly Shmatikov
arXiv:1609.00408, 2016
Media: The Register, WIRED, Quartz, Popular Science, Inverse, BBC Radio, KCBS

Breaking Web Applications Built on Top of Encrypted Data
Paul Grubbs, Richard McPherson, Muhammed Naveed, Thomas Risenpart, and Vitaly Shmatikov
CCS, 2016
FAQ: Mylar: The Guide for the Perplexed

CovertCast: Using Live Streaming to Evade Internet Censorship
Richard McPherson, Amir Houmansadr, and Vitaly Shmatikov
PETS, 2016
Website: CovertCast

No Escape From Reality: Security and Privacy of Augmented Reality Browsers
Richard McPherson, Suman Jana, and Vitaly Shmatikov
WWW, 2015

Making argument systems for outsourced computation practical (sometimes)
Srinath Setty, Richard McPherson, Andrew J. Blumberg, and Michael Walfish
NDSS, 2012

Job Experience

During summer 2015, I worked for Praetorian Security in Austin, TX. While there I extended the KillerBee open source library to better handle wardriving of IoT devices. Using the software, we stuck some Raspberry Pis on a drone and found everyone's smart thermostats. On top of the IoT project, I worked on application security assessments for various mobile and web clients and assisted in security vulnerability hunting.
Media: Fortune, UAS Magazine, Business Insider, The Register

In 2012, I had an internship at eBay/PayPal in Austin. I worked in their X.Commerce section to help design and implement a business-to-business messaging infrastructure.


Supervising programming coursework for the entire incoming Cornell Tech M.Eng. class.
Summer 2016

CS 346: Cryptography
Spring 2013

I have given a number of guest-lectures in various undergraduate and graduate courses on security and cryptography.