Marie Vasek

Name: Marie Vasek
Hometown: Tumwater, Washington
Major: B.S. Computer Science

At SMU, I work as a research assistant with Dr. Tyler Moore. My research focuses on understanding and countering web-based malware. The current state of the web has enabled criminals to profit by cheaply hacking many thousands of webservers. This in turn inflicts huge costs on society.

Currently, defenders expend their precious resources playing a never-ending game of "whack-a-mole'': cleaning up webservers after they are hacked with little or no strategy for getting ahead of the criminals. The status quo is clearly not working. My research aims to take a step back and tackle several of the major issues hampering defenders. Economic analysis offers insights into this ongoing fight spanning technological and social dimensions. I collect extensive data on reported malware infections and track the time required to clean up.

I then incorporate the data into statistical models that help explain what factors are associated with compromise. This in turn informs ways to better allocate defensive resources.