Our Research

At Symantec Research Labs, we are dedicated to building secure systems and providing human-centric solutions to help users preserve privacy and be secure in an online world. Our main research areas are enumerated below.

Secure Systems

Central to trust in an increasingly digital world is the ability to detect and prevent attacks in modern (and not so modern) information systems. This research includes building secure software, supporting forensics, malware analysis, browser/web/network security, and information-centric security.

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Privacy, Identity, and Trust

Consumers and corporations are driven to engage in a digital world that they cannot adequately trust. We are developing paradigms to enable online commerce and facilitate machine learning in ways that provide privacy and protect user identities, by leveraging such concepts as local differential privacy, federated machine learning, identity brokering, and blockchain technology.

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Robust and Fair Machine Learning, Data Mining, and Artificial Intelligence

The tremendous growth in the learning capacity of Machine Learning methods has yet to be met with a corresponding growth in our ability to understand these models. Equally troubling, our ability to build robust machine learning models has not kept pace with research in adversarial attacks against machine learning. As we increasingly hand over decision making to automated machine learning and AI systems, we must find ways that the life-altering decisions made by these systems can be audited for fairness, safety, robustness to adversaries, and the preservation of privacy of any personally identifiable information over which they operate.

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Systems Security: Internet of Things, Mobile, Cloud, Virtualization

There is a continual need for security systems of many kinds, including traditional endpoints, mobile devices, cloud, IoT and virtual hosts. The continual evolution of these computing platforms results in new threats, but also in opportunities to better secure these systems. Furthermore, widespread deployment of trusted hardware brings new opportunities, but also a set of hardware-level threats that are not easily mitigated. The escalating cost of data breaches continues to make defending sensitive data a priority, and enterprises are becoming increasingly open to adopting new classes of defenses and encryption-based solutions to prevent serious breaches.

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Risk Measurement and Mitigation

Cyber incidents are unavoidable. As digitalization marches on, online security weak spots proliferate while digital footprints become more prominent. The endless stream of digital assets is even more lucrative to an evolving set of well-equipped and skillful attackers. A combination of risk analytics and risk prediction can help improve security posture by taking appropriate counter measures. Risk analytics can identify the key actors that correlate with and cause the risk. Risk prediction can forecast the elements in the ecosystem that will be attacked or infected.

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Social Good

Where possible, we want to investigate how existing technology and/or telemetry could be used to address key issues pertaining to vulnerable populations. In addition, we want to develop new techniques to try and solve specific problems in the areas of abuse, scams, and child online safety.

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