Stefan Savage is a computer scientist using an interdisciplinary approach to address challenges to computer security and to counter cybercrime. In addition to identifying technological deficiencies, he contextualizes cybersecurity threats within much broader ecosystems, including underlying economic incentives and social structures contributing to vulnerabilities.
In early work, Savage created new strategies for defending against malware and what are known as distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). To impede the spread of fast-acting worms, which can quickly compromise an entire network, he and colleagues devised a method for automatically measuring unusual data patterns and identifying worm signatures (or recurring strings of code) across a network.
Savage and colleagues were the first to demonstrate the ability to hack an automobile remotely and find ways to mitigate the immediate security threats. More recently, Savage and collaborators measured network-level interactions to characterize the value chain of internet-related crime.
With deep insights into internet security and a commitment to tackling problems of immediate, real-world importance, Savage is playing a key role in shaping cybersecurity debates among computer scientists while also informing efforts to fight ongoing security threats posed by a variety of actors.
Savage received a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University (1991) and a Ph.D. (2002) from the University of Washington. In 2000, he joined the faculty of the University of California at San Diego, where he is currently a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, co-director of the Center for Evidence-Based Security Research, and co-director of the Center for Networked Systems. In 2017, Savage was named a MacArthur 'Genius Grant' Fellow.
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