Picture of Anna

Photo Credit: Matt Hagen, 2020

Anna Kornfeld Simpson

Pronouns: she/her/hers

aksimpso at cs dot washington dot edu

Mailing Address:
Anna Kornfeld Simpson
Computer Science and Engineering
University of Washington
Box 352350
Seattle, WA 98195-2350



Recruiters, I am NOT graduating this year. I am not interested in full-time opportunities at this time. Thank you!

I am a PhD student at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington interested in a broad variety of problems across computer security and privacy. My current focus is in secure systems: using techniques from security to improve the design of state-of-the-art systems, and techniques from systems research to amplify the effectiveness of recent security and cryptography research. I have had the pleasure of learning from a variety of research collaborators, current and previous, including Irene Zhang (Microsoft Research (MSR), University of Washington (UW)), Jacob Nelson (MSR), Dave Tarditi (MSR), Franzi Roesner (UW), Yoshi Kohno (UW), Ada Lerner (while at UW) and Stefan Saroiu (MSR). I am also a member of the UW Tech Policy Lab. I was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for part of my PhD.

I received a B.S.E. summa cum laude in Computer Science with a certificate (similar to a minor) in Technology and Society in June 2014 from Princeton University, where I did a senior thesis under Ed Felten. At Princeton, I was an Undergraduate Fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy.

Off campus, I have done research at Microsoft Research (summer 2018, summer 2016) and MIT Lincoln Laboratory (summer 2014), and interned at Microsoft (Windows Sustained Engineering in summer 2012 and Windows Core Security and Identity in summer 2013), Qualcomm (Video Decoder Software team, summer 2011), and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific (summer 2010). My research from Lincoln Laboratory was presented as a poster at ACSAC 2014.

Publications and Posters

Anna Kornfeld Simpson, Adriana Szekeres, Jacob Nelson, and Irene Zhang. "Securing RDMA for High-Performance Datacenter Storage Systems" In 12th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud 20). Presentation

Anna Kornfeld Simpson, Shwetak N. Patel, Franziska Roesner, and Tadayoshi Kohno. "Securing Vulnerable Home IoT Devices with an In-Hub Security Manager." University of Washington Tech Report. A version of this work appears as Anna Kornfeld Simpson, Franziska Roesner, and Tadayoshi Kohno. "Securing Vulnerable Home IoT Devices with an In-Hub Security Manager." In Proceedings of IEEE PerCom 2017 - the First International Workshop on Pervasive Smart Living Spaces (PerLS 2017), 2017.

Ada Lerner*, Anna Kornfeld Simpson*, Tadayoshi Kohno, and Franziska Roesner. "Internet Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Trackers: An Archaeological Study of Web Tracking from 1996 to 2016." In Proceedings of the 25th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security '16), 2016. Presentation [given by Ada Lerner].
*Co-first authors listed alphabetically.

Anna Kornfeld Simpson, Nabil Schear, Thomas Moyer. "Runtime Integrity Measurement and Enforcement with Automated Whitelist Generation." Poster. Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, 2014. Presented 11 December 2014. Abstract. Poster.

Anne Edmundson, Anna Kornfeld Simpson, Joshua A. Kroll, Edward W. Felten. "Security Audit of Safeplug 'Tor in a Box.'" 4th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '14), 2014. Presentation [given by Annie Edmundson]. Blog post at Freedom to Tinker.

Press mentioning my projects

Web Tracking Archaeology (from 2016 USENIX Security paper).

UW News press release. Unearthing Trackers of the Past: UW Computer Scientists Reveal the History of Third Party Web Tracking August 15, 2016.

UW Computer Science Department. UW CSE Researchers Tap Their Inner Indiana Jones to Unearth the History of Web Tracker August 15, 2016.

TechCrunch. Researchers track the trackers through 20 years of the archived web August 15, 2016.

USA Today. They really are watching you: web tracking surges with online ads August 17, 2016.

Fortune. Yes, that Website You're Visiting is Probably Tracking You August 17, 2016.

KOMO News (radio). Link to the audio clip August 17, 2016.

NBC Affiliate. Study Finds 75 of Most Popular Websites are Tracking Users August 18, 2016.

Daily Herald (local paper). Editorial: Tracking your online "followers" August 22, 2016.

IEEE Spectrum. You're Being Tracked (and Tracked and Tracked) on the Web August 23, 2016.

The Fiscal Times. The New "Tracking Excavator" Proves how your Privacy is Violated Online August 24, 2016.

Inc. This New Tool Can Sniff Out Who (or What) is Following You Online August 26, 2016.

Top Tech News. Computer Scientists Reveal History of Third-Party Web Tracking September 4, 2016.

Safeplug Audit (from 2014 FOCI publication).

WIRED. Mention of our Safeplug work in an article about a possibly similar device. October, 2014. This article was reposted or mirrored to a number of other sites.

Tor Weekly News. Summary of our Safeplug findings, including the difference between a proxy and a hardened browser. September 2014.

Schneier on Security. Post linking to our Safeplug paper and blog post. September 2014.


NSF LiveScience. Article about my work on a chemical-detecting robot for a high school science fair project. October 2009.

If information is missing, a link is dead, or you otherwise would like to communicate with me, please email me at aksimpso at cs dot washington dot edu!