Michael Specter


I’m an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech with a joint appointment in the department of Computer Science and Cybersecurity & Privacy, and a Senior Research Scientist at Google.

My focus is on systems security and applied cryptography, particularly in areas relevant to public policy. Check out my publications page, or the course I teach to learn more about the kinds of things I hack on.

I have a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, where I was lucky to be advised by Gerry Sussman and Danny Weitzner. My thesis committee included Matthew D. Green, Joan Feigenbaum, and Ron Rivest. Prior to becoming graduate student, I was research staff at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.

recent classes

program committee membership

  • IEEE S&P: 2023, 2022
  • Usenix Security: 2023, 2022
  • Euro S&P: 2021

press, awards, & other work

Selected Press: My research on elections security has been featured in the New York Times (twice), the New Yorker, CNN, Vice, Bloomberg, Fortune, The Economist, and others.

Awards: I earned a research award from the Elections Verification Network, and an EFF Pioneer Award for my joint work on encryption policy, which has been used in congressional testimony on surveillance and law enforcement.

Outside of my academic work, I’ve written for Lawfare, and contributed to the EFF’s Brief to the Supreme Court on the need to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. I enjoy finding bugs in my spare time, and am a contributor to Google’s Linux kernel fuzzer Syzkaller.


Sep 16, 2020 :email: Our work on deniability in email “Keyforge: Mitigating Email Breaches with Forward-Forgeable Signatures” was accepted to Usenix Security ‘21 (Blogpost, Paper)
Sep 15, 2020 :ballot_box: Our security analysis of OmniBallot was accepted to Usenix Security ‘21 (Blogpost, Paper)
Aug 10, 2020 :boom: I presented our security analysis of Voatz at Defcon! (Presentation, Usenix Paper) :boom:
Jul 20, 2020 ⚖ I joined as an amicus to an EFF-led amicus brief to SCOTUS on the need to reform the CFAA (Press Release, Brief)
Jul 14, 2020 Our security analysis of Voatz was accepted to Usenix Security 2020!