Kevin Gallagher's Website


This site serves as the personal page of Kevin Gallagher, an Invited Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa.


Current Projects



Email me at kevin.gallagher [at]!

Ongoing Projects

This page serves as a repository of my current projects.

Envisioning and Implementing Horizontal Security

Cybersecurity has its origin in military, which typically exhibits a very hierarchical structre. But what would cybersecurity look like in a democractic, horizontal entity? How do actvist groups, worker cooperatives, and other horizontal groups design security? What technology could we create to facilitate horizontal security policy creation, implementation, and enforcement?

Current Status

COLBAC: Shifting Cybersecurity From Hierarchical to Horizontal Designs was published in NSPW 2021.

Next Steps
  1. Study the security practices of horizontal organizations.
  2. Develop a technological solution to allow activists organizations, NGOs, and other more horizontal groups to avoid “password wars,” or, the occurance of a malicious insider denying the group access to their third party accounts.
  3. Identify necessary changes in traditional cybersecurity concepts and technologies to facilitate horizontality, and implementing them.
  4. Work towards applying a COLBAC-like solution to the Portuguese Parliament’s insider attack threat model.
Previous Steps
  1. Presented COLBAC, a collective based access control system, to NSPW

Measuring Tor’s User Experience

The Tor Browser is the currently the best low-latency anonymity solution on the Internet. However, users of the Tor Browser often come across issues. What isuses do users face when using Tor? Why do users use Tor? How do they understand what Tor is providing them? What can developers do better to provide a better experience on their site for Tor Browser users?

Current Status

Submitted Scanning the Web for Tor Friendliness to PETS 2022.

Next Steps
  1. Implement recommendations from my previous publications and evaluate their efficacy.
  2. Create plugins that allow for easy Tor Browser friendly site development.
Previous Steps
  1. Measured user perceptions of the Tor anonymity network, and why they use Tor.
  2. Measured what issues new users may face if they were to adopt the Tor Browser as their default Browser.
  3. Created a scanner to scan the Internet and provide useful feedback to web developers on how to improve the Tor Browser Friendliness of their site.

Determining the Practices of People Search Websites

People Search Websites aggregate and publicize users’ Personal Identifiable Information (PII), previously sourced from data brokers and make it available to customers who wish to access that information. In this project we study how people can interact with People Search Websites, how effective data removal from these People Search Websites are, and dark patterns in the operation of these sites.

Current Status

``It Feels Like Whack-a-mole’’: User Experiences of Data Removal from People Search Websites was accepted to PETS 2022.

Next Steps

  1. Study the effectiveness of different methods of data removal from People Search Websites through an empircal, controled study.

Previous Steps

  1. Studied people’s perceptions of people search websites, their experiences trying to remove data from them, and their motivations for doing so.
  2. Worked with Kejsi T. and others to publish ``It Feels Like Whack-a-mole’’ in PETS 2022.

Measuring the User Experience of Generating Deepfakes

Many news articles state that Deepfaked media could erode trust in online media, and that soon the average person would be able to create a deepfaked video that could fool others and lead to serious political consequences. But is this true? What issues stand between the common person and the ability to generate deepfake media? If they can already generate deepfaked media, how believable are the media they create?

Current Status

How Easily Can Novice Users Create Deepfakes? was submitted to SOUPS 2022.

Next Steps
  1. Figure out next steps.
Previous Steps
  1. Developed study protocol to determine what user experience issues people face when generating Deepfake media.
  2. Piloted study protocol with masters students, Ph.D. students, and research staff to identify and repair flaws.
  3. Submitted the study propsal to the IRB for approval.
  4. Performed our study with participants from many different backgrounds.
  5. Analyzed results.
  6. Submitted to SOUPS 2022.