Dr Lorenzo Cavallaro
What do you do here at Royal Holloway?
I’m a Senior Lecturer of Information Security in the Information Security Group.
What is your main area of research specialism?
My research interests focus on devising novel techniques to protect systems from a broad range of threats, including those perpetrated by malicious software. In particular, my ultimate aim is to build practical tools and provide systems security services to the community at large.
My research, carried out in the Systems Security Research Lab (which I founded and have headed since September 2014), crosses the boundaries of a number of different Computer Science-related topics, such as operating systems, computer architecture, program analysis, and machine learning, making my challenging journey always exciting.
How do you use this in your teaching?
I teach Software Security, a postgraduate-level class within the MSc in Information Security, Malicious Software, an undergraduate-level class within the BSc in Computer Science with Information Security, and have been delivering an online course on Malicious Software and its Underground Economy through Coursera since 2013.
These classes and my research interest align perfectly and so it’s fairly simple and natural for me to feed back research in my classes: for instance, I’ve been involved in the past in a very interesting study around the takeover of a network of malware-infected computers, which allowed me and the team involved to gather unique insights into the modus operandi of a particular type of malicious software. The take-aways of that research make it a perfect story on which I could easily lay out and build the whole syllabus of the classes I teach. I then include a current perspective on what’s ‘hot’ for the research community on a given security-related topic I’m interested in, and discuss research papers in class (as well as recommending and suggesting academic work published in top and well-known venues).
I also tend to assign MSc and BSc projects that fit and build upon the research activities carried out in my lab: students have a chance to actively contribute to research-oriented projects, which often integrate (or support) our main research activities: a fairly good business card for any student’s future endeavours.
What inspires you about Royal Holloway?
The fact I can work along top-notch researchers in a highly-ranked (and beautiful) university in a cosy and international environment: all ingredients that fuel my days and inspire me to pursue my dreams and provide top-notch education and research to shape next-generation professional and scientists.