Yuchen Zhou's research

Yuchen presenting a poster (with Longze Chen) at Oakland 2013

This is Yuchen Zhou, currently working at Palo Alto Networks as a senior web security researcher. I earned my Doctoral degree at University of Virginia, under advisor Prof. David Evans, with dissertation titled: Improving Security and Privacy of Integrated Web Applications.

Most of my Ph.D work are focused on improving the security and privacy of web application/third-party service. My internship mentor at Microsoft Research is Dr. Shuo Chen. I have so far published five first-author papers, four of which in top-tier conferences such as IEEE S&P (Oakland) and USENIX. For more details, please click on individual projects on the left side, or browse down the page for a brief introduction on each project.

Betrayed by Your Dashboard: Discovering Malicious Campaigns via Web Analytics

Detecting malicious sites using 'malicious analytic IDs'

This project aims to detect malicious website campaigns by association of their usage of third-party analytics IDs. Our key observation here is that the adversary would intentionally or unintentionally reuse analytics IDs throughout their phishing/scam/malware campaigns, so that we can identify them once we have a limited pool of seed malicious URLs.

Our paper will appear in the security track of WWW 2018.

Understanding and Monitoring Embedded Web Scripts

ScriptInspector workflow overview

The ScriptInspector project helps web developers understand and monitor the behavior of embedded third-party JavaScripts on their websites. The instrumented Firefox browser records access to sensitive resources and visualizes them to web developers. Policy can be generated and enforced on popular scripts to rein in their runtime behavior.

Our paper appeared at Oakland (IEEE Security & Privacy) 2015.

SSOScan: Automated Testing of Web Applications for Single Sign-On Vulnerabilities

SSOScan workflow overview

SSOScan is an automated scanner of web applications for Single Sign-On (SSO) vulnerabilities. This tool requires no user interaction and revealed more than 300 authentication/authorization implementation bugs in high profile websites. Our paper is published at the 23rd USENIX Security Symoposium (2014).

Explicating SDKs: Uncovering Assumptions Underlying Secure Authentication and Authorization

Explication process overview

The goal of Explicating SDKs project is to systematically uncover implicit assumptions that are important to applications' security properties, this work is published at the 22nd USENIX Security Symposium (2013). I did this project while I interned at Microsoft Research, and I had the great honor to work with two excellent researchers Shuo Chen (my mentor) and Rui Wang (my co-first author).

DOMinator: Protecting Private Web Content from Embedded Scripts

DOMinator workflow overview

The goal of DOMinator is to build a browser that can enforce fine-grained access control policies for third-party JavaScripts. This work is published at ESORICS 11'.

Why Aren't HTTP-only Cookies More Widely Deployed?

HTTP-only Cookies deployment chronology

This short paper is presented at W2SP 10' (co-hosted with Oakland 10'), and I looked at the history and current status of how well HTTP-only cookies are deployed, and give some suggestions about how future security works can improve themselves to achieve a higher deploy rate.