(Michael) Joe DeBlasio

PhD Candidate, Graduate Student Researcher
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of California, San Diego

Email: jdeblasio cs DOT edu [PGP]
Snail: Joe DeBlasio
9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0404
La Jolla, CA 92093-0404

Academic Interests

My projects focus on e-crime (fraud, abuse) and user-centric web/network security/privacy measurement. My interests are widespread across security, privacy, and distributed systems, but I'm particularly interested in improving the WebPKI and making security user-friendly and accessible.

I have a number of fun ongoing projects, some in collaboration with Microsoft, Google and others. I'd love to talk more about my work, yours, or how the two overlap-- just contact me!


I am a PhD candidate with the Center for Evidence-based Security Research (CESR), and part of the Systems and Networking and Cryptography and Security groups at UC San Diego.

I am ably advised by Alex Snoeren, and work closely with Geoff Voelker and Stefan Savage.

I received my MS in CS from UCSD in July of 2013. I also hold a BS with honors in CS from the wonderful Harvey Mudd College.


Tripwire: Inferring Internet Site Compromise (Press: Gizmodo, The Register) Joe DeBlasio, Stefan Savage, Geoffrey M. Voelker, and Alex C. Snoeren, Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference, November 2017

Tripwire is a method for detecting website compromises as an unprivileged third-party using externally-visible side effects. Our proof-of-concept implementation exposed previously-unknown compromises impacting more than 100 million users.

Exploring the Dynamics of Search Advertiser Fraud, Joe DeBlasio, Saikat Guha, Geoffrey M. Voelker, and Alex C. Snoeren, Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference, November 2017.

This work explored search advertiser fraud on Microsoft's Bing search engine, characterizing the scale of fraud, the targeting and bidding behavior of fraudsters, and how those fraudsters impact legitimate advertisers in the ecosystem.


In summer 2017, I co-designed and taught CSE 80, covering essential Linux/UNIX command line skills for all computer scientists and software engineers. The course is highly interactive, taking place entirely at a traditional Bash command prompt.

I have also previously TA'd CSE 223B (Graduate Distributed Computing & Systems) and CSE 30 (Computer Organization & Systems Programming).

Personal Interests

I have a number of side projects working on making the internet safer and more private. Until April 2018, I was also the primary maintainer of Chez Bob.

When not on a computer, I try to spend as much time outside as possible.

Past or Interesting Research and Work

(last updated September 2014)

Google Switzerland GmbH: In the summer of 2014, I worked for Google in Switzerland to investigate and counter botnets that are commit ad fraud. In particular, I worked with these fine folks.

CISA3: From July 2011 to July 2013 I worked for CISA3, or the "Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology". The center performs a diverse range of research relating to documenting and preserving cultural heritage, specializing in cultural heritage diagnostics (assessing the state of cultural heritage to inform further work).

"Exploring the Feasibility of 2D Sparse Matrix Partitioning": Sandia National Labs has developed the Trilinos software framework for large-scale scientific computing. Large, sparse, matrix-vector multiplications arise frequently, and distributing the matrix efficiently among many processors can produce significant speedup. As a senior capstone project at HMC, we significantly extended Trilions' support for sparse matrices, including adding additional partitioning algorithms and code to visualize and evaluate these partitions. We also performed an empirical study of the additions.

Observationally Cooperative Multithreading: At HMC, I spent a summer working on "Observationally Cooperative Multithreading," which is a different model for parallel programming that attempts to simplify process interaction and memory protection. See the poster at SPLASH '11, or read the full writeup.

NASA Ames Lunar Micro-Rover: Over two summers at HMC, I worked at NASA Ames Research Center on the Lunar Micro-Rover (LMR) project. The project aimed to develop a small, inexpensive rover platform adaptable for a wide variety of payloads and applications. I developed the core of the Command and Data Handling system that communicated with the rover, and distributed commands to and from the various control systems in operations command.