Short bio: [High-res headshot]
Blase Ur is a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, researching usable security and privacy under Lorrie Cranor's mentorship. His work encompasses helping users create strong passwords, supporting privacy decisions with data, and improving smart homes. He received best paper awards at USENIX Security 2016 and UbiComp 2014, as well as honorable mentions for best paper at CHI 2016 and CHI 2012. His research has been covered in the NY Times, Forbes, and Ars Technica. He received the 2016 John Karat Usable Privacy and Security Student Research Award, an NDSEG fellowship, a Fulbright scholarship, and a Yahoo Key Scientific Challenges Award. Previously, he earned an AB in computer science from Harvard University, where he was drama club president.
Hi, I'm Blase (pronounced "blaze").
I'm a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, where I am advised by the awesome Lorrie Cranor.
I'm privileged to collaborate with many other students and faculty, including Lujo Bauer, Nicolas Christin, and Michael Littman. I spent the summer of 2013 interning at Microsoft Research in Redmond with Jaeyeon Jung and Stuart Schechter.
My research centers on security and privacy, often at its intersection with human-computer interaction. I utilize methods from both fields, and I particularly enjoy building and testing data-driven systems that support users' security and privacy decisions. My dissertation focuses on supporting password-security decisions with data. I have also worked extensively on improving users’ online privacy, as well as making Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices more secure, privacy-protective, and usable.
I have published at top security conferences (USENIX Security, ACM CCS), top HCI conferences (CHI, UbiComp), and interdisciplinary venues. I received best paper awards at USENIX Security 2016 and UbiComp 2014, as well as honorable mentions for best paper at CHI 2016 and CHI 2012. I have also been fortunate to be awarded the 2016 John Karat Usable Privacy and Security Student Research Award, an NDSEG fellowship, a Fulbright scholarship, and a Yahoo Key Scientific Challenges Award. My work has been covered in the NY Times, Forbes, Ars Technica, and many others.
I really enjoy teaching. I co-taught CMU's interdisciplinary Usable Privacy and Security class twice, served as TA for CMU's graduate-level Secure Software Systems course, and was the lead instructor six times for a large introductory programming course at Rutgers. In addition, I am actively involved in a number of outreach efforts to broaden participation in CS. For most of my time at CMU, I have taught a CS activity twice weekly at a local middle school. As part of CMU's Women@SCS and SCS4ALL groups, I present "roadshows" at local K-12 schools. I am also a facilitator for CMU's BiasBusters program to combat unconscious bias in CS.
Prior to CMU, I spent 2010-2011 researching cultural elements of online privacy in Hungary on a Fulbright Scholarship. From 2007 - 2010, I worked at Rutgers University organizing K-12 programs like the NJ Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. I earned my bachelor's degree in computer science at Harvard (2003-2007), where I was very involved in the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club.
Though one might expect from my name that I am a sports jacket, basketball team from Portland, or a practical joke, my name derives from a Hungarian ancestor's far more reasonable Ur Balázs. I am a very proud native of New Jersey. I have also spent lots of time in Debrecen (Hungary), Cluj (Romania), Cambridge (MA), Pittsburgh (PA), and Seattle (WA).
Outside of work, I am a musician; I play bass, guitar, hammered dulcimer, and many other instruments. I am also an active photographer and (currently inactive) designer of lights, sets, sound, and video for theatre. I really like to travel and have been to over 50 countries. I collect records, go on bicycle trips, couchsurf, and drink too much coffee.