Enabling Developers, Protecting Users: Investigating Harassment and Safety in VR
Accepted at USENIX Security Symposium, 2024

Virtual Reality (VR) has witnessed a rising issue of harassment, prompting the integration of safety controls like muting and blocking in VR applications. However, the lack of standardized safety measures across VR applications hinders their universal effectiveness, especially across contexts like socializing, gaming, and streaming. While prior research has studied safety controls in social VR applications, our user study (n = 27) takes a multi-perspective approach, examining both users' perceptions of safety control usability and effectiveness as well as the challenges that developers face in designing and deploying VR safety controls. We identify challenges VR users face while employing safety controls, such as finding users in crowded virtual spaces to block them. VR users also find controls ineffective in addressing harassment; for instance, they fail to eliminate the harassers' presence from the environment. Further, VR users find the current methods of submitting evidence for reports time-consuming and cumbersome. Improvements desired by users include live moderation and behavior tracking across VR apps; however, developers cite technological, financial, and legal obstacles to implementing such solutions, often due to a lack of awareness and high development costs. We emphasize the importance of establishing technical and legal guidelines to enhance user safety in virtual environments.

Understanding Parents’ Perceptions and Practices Toward Children’s Security and Privacy in Virtual Reality
Accepted at IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland), 2024

Recent years have seen a sharp increase in underage users of virtual reality (VR), where security and privacy (S&P) risks such as data surveillance and self-disclosure in social interaction have been increasingly prominent. Prior work shows children largely rely on parents to mitigate S&P risks in their technology use. Therefore, understanding parents' S&P knowledge, perceptions, and practices is critical for identifying the gaps for parents, technology designers, and policymakers to enhance children's S&P. While such empirical knowledge is substantial in other consumer technologies, it remains largely unknown in the context of VR. To address the gap, we conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with 20 parents of children under the age of 18 who use VR at home. Our findings highlight parents generally lack S&P awareness due to the perception that VR is still in its infancy. To protect their children's interaction with VR, parents currently primarily rely on active strategies such as verbal education about S&P. Passive strategies such as parental controls in VR are not commonly used among our interviewees, mainly due to their perceived technical constraints. Parents also highlight that a multi-stakeholder ecosystem must be established towards more S&P support for children in VR. Based on the findings, we propose actionable S&P recommendations for critical stakeholders, including parents, educators, VR companies, and governments.

A Question Answering and Quiz Generation Chatbot for Education
Published in the proceedings of Grace Hopper Celebration India (GHCI), 2019

There have been a number of chatbots developed for education. While many of them are designed to answer queries based on publicly available or predefined knowledge base, there is no possibility of customizing the information to be queried. There are no chatbots capable of generating self assessment quizzes based on any given document. This paper proposes a Question Answering and Quiz Generation Chatbot that allows a user to perform answer extraction and question generation on any input document.

A Survey of Techniques for Improving Security of GPUs
Published in the Journal of Hardware and Systems Security, 2018

Graphics processing unit (GPU), although a powerful performance-booster, also has many security vulnerabilities. Due to these, the GPU can be vulnerable to stealthy malware. In this paper, we present a survey of techniques for analyzing and improving GPU security. We classify the works on key attributes to highlight their similarities and differences. Alongside informing users and researchers about GPU security techniques, this survey aims to increase their awareness about GPU security vulnerabilities and potential countermeasures.


May 2024: I'm attending the RSA conference as a Security Scholar in San Franscisco!
Mar 2024: New Paper Accepted: Our work on "Understanding Parents’ Perceptions and Practices Toward Children’s Security and Privacy in Virtual Reality" has been accepted at IEEE S&P 2024(preprint)
Feb 2024: First Paper Accepted: Our work on VR harassment and safety controls ("Enabling Developers, Protecting Users: Investigating Harassment and Safety in VR") has been accepted at USENIX Security 2024(preprint)
Feb 2024: I’m presenting our work on VR harassment and safety controls at the 3rd Annual North Carolina Cybersecurity Symposium
Nov 2023: I passed my Written Preliminary Examination at NC State!
Aug 2023: I’m serving on the USENIX Security '24 Artifact Evaluation committee
Aug 2023: I’m presenting a poster titled "Virtual Adventures, Real Challenges: Analyzing Harassment Controls in VR" at USENIX Security 2023
Aug 2023: I’m attending GREPSEC VI!
Jun 2023: I’m serving on the USENIX Security '23 Artifact Evaluation committee
Apr 2023: I've been honored with the College of Engineering Graduate Enhancement Award at NC State
Apr 2023: I'm presenting a poster at the Graduate Student Symposium, NC State
Mar 2023: I'm attending WiCys 2023 at Denver, Colorado
Jan 2023: I'm the teaching assistant for CSC 433: Privacy in the Digital Age
Aug 2022: Started my Ph.D. at NC State!