Security & Privacy | Research & Development
Thomas S. Benjamin researches security and privacy technology. Thomas brings with him to this work his prior experience in both attacks on and defenses of a variety of technologies. In 2007 he participated in investigation of new contactless smart credit cards used in the United States, in which the team discovered serious flaws. In 2008 he and colleagues examined security and privacy properties of pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators, determining that some aspects of existing designs may present dangerous security vulnerabilities. As a member of the security and cryptography team at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory from 2008 to 2009, Thomas worked with ZRL’s anonymous credentials systems, helping to invent several extensions to anonymous credentials. Thomas is currently focused on novel solutions to real world problems.
Thomas started hacking and exploring computer security systems at age 6 when first exposed to assembler programming on the IBM PC. This early interest lead to formal study of computer science during high school through the Science Honors Program at Columbia University. Informal study within the NYC hacker community and internship at panix, NYC’s first commercial internet service provider, led to Thomas’ focus on making technology work in the real world for real people.
Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Yale University, and a Master of Science in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Thomas commenced Ph. D. studies first at UMASS Amherst, then at ETH Zürich (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology).
Thomas greatly believes in the importance of bringing science to a wide audience. For this reason Thomas travels frequently to give invited talks, and to appear on television and radio. Past appearances include ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, and NPR’s Leonard Lopate Show, and the New York Times.