I am currently a fifth year Ph.D. student at the University of Washington in the Security and Privacy Lab working under Tadayoshi Kohno.

I received my Master's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington and my Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Research

The University of Washington has given me the opportunity to work with some really talented people on a number of very interesting projects related to security and privacy. I have done work related to driver privacy, signal processing, and authentication. Currently, I am working on building out pieces of the ecosystem which will ideally enable people to easily use asymmetric cryptography for client authentication on the web.

Automobile Driver Fingerprinting
As cars become increasingly capable computers, more data flows through their internal networks. Along with alum Miro Enev, I investigated the extent to which an adversary could identify a given driver based on driving characteristics taken from data on the internal network of a car.

Miro Enev, Alex Takakuwa, Karl Koscher, Tadayoshi Kohno.
Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies. 2016 [paper]
In the news: WIRED, Schneier on Security, Naked Security.
Through-Wall Surveillance
Along with Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, I investigated the possibility of low-cost covert through-barrier sensing on common off-the-shelf hardware. A preliminary version of this work was submitted as a part of my Qualifying Exam. I will post a link to this paper when it has been published publicly.

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, Alex Takakuwa, Tadayoshi Kohno, Shyamnath Gollakota. Proceedings of ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies. 2017 [paper]
In the news: DailyMail, The Register, Science Daily, Security Intelligence, Geek Wire, IBTimes, The Hacker News, UPI.
Site: http://musicattacks.cs.washington.edu/
Authentication
The FIDO Alliance is forging ahead to solve some of the problems with authentication on the web using asymmetric cryptography. Within that space, there are a number of unsolved problems. For example, how should authentication be done in the internet of things? What is the best way to recover access to lost keys? How can someone move to new hardware securely and elegantly? We have been exploring some of the potential solutions to these questions over the past few years, leading to a final-16 appearance at the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition.

We have also published a tech report on transferring access to new authenticators within the FIDO ecosystem. [Tech Report]
Our code is at https://github.com/alextaka/u2f-ref-code

It is our hope that we can have the University of Washington join and contribute as a member of the FIDO Alliance.

Teaching

CSE 484, Computer Security (TA, Autumn, 2013)
PMP 564, Computer Security (TA, Autumn 2012)

Personal

I'm a soccer enthusiast, and love to play and watch, health permitting. I also enjoy playing beer-league basketball, softball, and flag-football, and generally enjoying the sunshine when I have a chance.

Links

My github
My LinkedIn
My CV
I have an IMDb page now!