Eric Zeng

About Me

I'm a first year PhD student at the University of Washington, and I'm being advised by Franzi Roesner.

I'm broadly interested in building usable security and privacy tools. My current research is focused on making sense of permissions in the Internet of Things and smart homes.

When I'm not working, I enjoy running, hiking, cycling, skiing, video games, and watching Mariners baseball.


End User Security and Privacy Concerns with Smart Homes

Eric Zeng, Shrirang Mare, and Franziska Roesner
13th Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (July 2017)
[ Slides ]

Confidante: Usable Encrypted Email

A Case Study with Lawyers and Journalists

Ada (Adam) Lerner*, Eric Zeng*, and Franziska Roesner
2nd IEEE European Symposium on Security & Privacy (May 2017)
[ Confidante website and downloads ] [ Slides ]

*Co-first authors listed in alphabetical order

Industry Experience


Software Engineering Intern

Jun 2015 - Sep 2015

I was an intern on the Ads Billing team at Twitter. During my time there, I migrated our team's front-end web endpoints from inside a large, Ruby on Rails monolith to a Scala-based microservice. If you are a huge advertiser on Twitter, you might have seen my work.


Software Engineering Intern

Jun 2014 - Sep 2014

I was an intern on the Chrome Apps and Extensions team. I created a new Chrome Extensions API that allows extensions to embed their options pages inside of Chrome's settings page. This improved the user experience significantly, because it allows users to see the options as a modal dialogue, instead of a new tab.

To protect Chrome's system pages from third party executable code in the extension, the extension options modal runs in an isolated process, even though it is embedded in a Chrome system page.

Docs for my feature:


Engineering Practicum Intern

Jun 2013 - Sep 2013

I worked on the development and testing of Widevine DRM systems on embedded devices. These components are responsible for securely handling keys for playback of encrypted video streams. I wrote interface modules and performed pen testing to help verify the security of the license protocol and the low level key handling of devices.

Previous Projects


Class Project for CSE 512: Data Visualization

Eric Zeng and Lucy Simko

AwesomeBus is a d3.js visualization that provides an interactive tool to explore Seattle's public transportation system. AwesomeBus enables exploration by showing every transit route and stop in King County on a detailed geographic map, and helps the user make sense of the information through intuitive visual encodings and multiple selection and filtering techniques.

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Auctora is an app that simplifies career fairs by eliminating paper resumes and making recruiters’ lives easier. Our team formed in an entrepreneurship class at the UW, where we learned how to build a tech startup, pitch our company to investors, and ultimately bring a product to market. We placed in the top 16 in the UW Business Plan Competition.

I was the lead developer, and was responsible for product design, web development, and backend development. This is where I learned how to write web apps! I also learned a lot about the challenges of an early-stage startup.

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You Make the Dungeon

You Make the Dungeon is an iterative RPG map-building flash game. First, you place tiles to create a dungeon map, and then you move Nea around the map, defeating monsters, finding treasure, and unlocking doors. Then, buy more tiles and expand the dungeon with your hard-earned loot!

Our team (King Xia, Babak Dabagh, Kyle Steiner) developed the game in only 10 weeks, during an undergraduate game development capstone course. The game is written in Actionscript 3, using the Starling game engine. I worked on core game mechanics and infrastructure, AI, tooling, and maintaining code quality.

Play on Kongregate