Lecturer in Networks and Security, University of Sydney

Dr Ralph Holz's research aims to enhance the security and privacy of internet users. His current focus are Internet security measurements and blockchains. Since internet users are also human beings, his work necessarily takes into account the complex interactions between the two.

"I try to understand the security of computer technology as it is deployed in real systems, and hence as it affects our daily lives. It is a tremendous challenge, with many implications, to bridge the gap between a purely technical understanding and the workings of the human mind. Human factors critically determine whether a system will be securely deployed, operated and used.

"I actually measure the security of computer systems, which allows me to determine how well they achieve their purpose. Once I have identified any potential shortcomings, I design solutions so they achieve their purpose better and provide an overall higher level of security.

"Importantly, I also take into account how the system is used by actual users. Ideally, technology should be designed in such a way that its users are supported and that its security features do not get in the way of how those users want to use the technology.

"I am driven by my curiosity. I want to understand how technology works in the real world - what effects it has on people, organisations and society.

"The digital world is a fact, and we need to understand it in order to improve its performance and security. We must also get to the point where we can give guarantees of fundamental human rights, such as free speech online. Security and privacy technology is an enabler of these rights in the digital world.

"Ultimately I hope to contribute to much-improved security on the internet. Security for users implies improved security for industry, government, NGOs and, ultimately, society.

"I have been working in this area for more than 10 years, and I joined the University of Sydney in 2016. Being an academic here gives me great freedom to work on problems that matter, while remaining engaged with important groups from industry and society."

Experience

  • –present
    Lecturer in Networks and Security, University of Sydney