Matthew Smith

I am a Computer Science Professor (W3) at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and a member of the Fraunhofer FKIE in Bonn. My research interests lie in the intersection of technical IT security & privacy and behavioural research. I study the interaction effects between technical and psychological, social, economic, cognitive, and emotional factors related to the security and privacy behaviour of individuals and institutions.

Usability problems are a major cause of many of today’s IT-security incidents. Security systems are often too complicated, time-consuming, and error prone. For more than a decade researchers in the domain of usable security (USEC) have attempted to combat these problems by conducting interdisciplinary research focusing on the root causes of the end-user problems and on the creation of usable security mechanisms. I am currently particularly focusing on the human factors of experts such as IT administrators and developers, since many of the most catastrophic security incidents were not caused by end-users, but by developers or administrators. Heartbleed and Shellshock were both caused by single developers yet had global consequences. The recent Sony hack compromised an entire multi-national IT-infrastructure and misappropriated over 100 TB of data, unnoticed. Fundamentally, every software vulnerability and misconfigured system is caused by developers or administrators making mistakes. My group and I are studying these kind of incidents and developing strategies to prevent them from happening in the future.

Academic Service

  • IEEE EuroS&P'17 PC Co-Chair
  • USENIX SOUPS'17 PC Co-Chair
  • USENIX SOUPS'16 PC Co-Chair
  • WWW’15 Area PC Chair Security and Privacy
  • NDSS’15 Workshop Chair
  • Associate Editor ACM Transaction on the Web
  • USEC’14 Workshop Co-Chair
  • NDSS Organising Committee
  • USENIX SOUPS Steering Committee
  • Financial Crypto

Board of Directors

  • USEC Steering Committee

Program Committees

  • USENIX Security'18
  • ACM CCS'14,15,18
  • IEEE S&P'14,15,16,18
  • IEEE EuroS&P'16
  • SOUPS'14,15
  • USEC'14
  • FC'13,14


I am very lucky to work with many very talented students. Currently I am supervising:

  • Karoline Busse
  • Anastasia Danilova
  • Sergej Dechand
  • Marco Herzog
  • Alena Naiakshina
  • Henning Perl
  • Christian Tiefenau
  • Klaus Tulbure
  • Khaled Yakdan



Institute of Computer Science 4

Endenicher Allee 19C

Room 2.065 in 19A

D-53115 Bonn


Phone: +49-228-73-60745

Fax: +49 228 73-4571

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