Zubair Shafiq

Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
Iowa Informatics Initiative
The University of Iowa
CV, Google Scholar, Twitter

Research Interests

I am mainly interested in measurement and modeling of computer systems. I conduct measurements of Internet-scale networked systems, analyze data to draw insights, use machine learning and statistical tools to model them, and design new approaches to improve their performance, security, and privacy.

What's New

  • 11/2017: Received the Best Paper Award at the 2017 ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) on OAuth abuse measurement

  • 11/2017: Paper accepted by INFOCOM on video QoE monitoring over HTTPS and QUIC

  • 10/2017: Paper accepted by NDSS on anti-adblock detection and disruption

  • 10/2017: Paper accepted by IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking on Internet transit routing

  • 9/2017: Media coverage of our research on Facebook collusion networks: USA Today, CBS, Fortune, CNET, DailyMail, ZeroHedge, The Economic Times

  • 8/2017: Paper accepted by ICDM on text spinning

  • 8/2017: Two papers accepted by IMC on adblocking and OAuth security

  • 8/2017: NSF SaTC grant on the arms race between advertisers and ad-blockers. Thanks NSF!

  • 7/2017: Three papers accepted by ICNP on video QoE, peering, and multipath TCP security

  • 6/2017: I have joined the researcher/academia seat on the inaugural Acceptable Ads Committee. Looking forward to help improve security and privacy requirements in the acceptable ads critera.

  • 6/2017: Paper accepted by ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security on detecting Facebook like farms

  • 5/2017: Delivered keynote at the 35th Brazilian Symposium on Computer Networks and Distributed Systems. Keynote: The Arms Race Between Ad-Tech and Ad-Blockers; Tutorial: Machine Learning on Encrypted Traffic: Past, Present, Future

  • 4/2017: Two papers accepted by IFIP Networking on social network and malware modeling

  • 4/2017: Paper accepted by ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media on mining political discourse on Twitter

  • 4/2017: Paper accepted by ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology on predicting crowded events

  • 3/2017: Paper accepted by SIGMETRICS on measuring patching

  • 3/2017: Delivered keynote at IEEE PerCom workshop on data analytics for mobile networking about QoE in the encrypted Internet

  • 3/2017: Delivered Hawkeye Lunch & Learn lecture on Big Data, Big Brother. Watch here

  • 3/2017: Paper accepted by PETS on anti ad-blockers. Watch here

  • 3/2017: Paper accepted by eCrime on black-hat marketplaces

  • 2/2017: Awarded U.S. patent 9585177 on Cellular Connection Sharing

  • 2/2017: Paper accepted by ICWSM on slant measurement

  • 2/2017: Paper accepted by ICDCS on key-value storage in CDNs

  • 1/2017: Presented our research on anti ad-blockers at the Federal Trade Commission's 2017 PrivacyCon. Watch here

  • 12/2016: Paper accepted by CHI on measuring political discourse using Twitter

  • 12/2016: Talk at the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council on online tracking and surveillance. Watch here

  • 9/2016: Papers accepted by SIGSPATIAL and CIKM on mobility modeling

  • 8/2016: NSF NeTS grant on scalable and energy efficient IoT communication. Thanks NSF!

  • 7/2016: Paper accepted by ICNP on Internet transit

  • 6/2016: Data Transparency Lab grant to conduct research on ad-blockers.

  • 5/2016: Our research on the arms race between ad-blockers and anti ad-blockers is covered by MIT Tech Review.

  • 4/2016: Guest on WorldCanvass program Big Data: Big Brother or Big Sister? to discuss security and privacy challenges in social networks.

  • 3/2016: Paper accepted by DSN on measurement of malware on traffic exchanges

  • 3/2016: Paper accepted by ICDCS on measurement of adult traffic

  • 2/2016: Paper accepted by SIGMETRICS on live video QoE measurement

  • 2/2016: Talk at the 9th UI Computing Conference on tracking reputation fraud on Facebook.

  • 1/2016: UI GAP grant to commercialize social media research. News coverage: KCRG-TV9, The Daily Iowan, Iowa Now

  • 12/2015: Awarded Obermann 2016 interdisciplinary research grant.

  • 11/2015: Keynote at the Iowa Computer Science Graduate Research Symposium on fraud in the online advertising ecosystem.

  • 11/2015: Paper accepted by INFOCOM on CDN workload measurement

  • 10/2015: White papers at NSF/FCC workshop on quality of experience. Encrypted QoE Measurement, Cross-layer QoE Optimization

  • 8/2015: NSF SaTC grant on securing multi-path TCP. Thanks NSF!

  • 5/2015: NSF NeTS CRII grant on optimizing video quality-of-experience. Thanks NSF!

  • 3/2015: Paper on improving cellular network performance during crowded events accepted by IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking.

  • 11/2014: Paper accepted by IMC on measuring Facebook like farms. Media coverage: MIT Tech Reivew, The Telegraph, Yahoo! Finance The Register, The New Republic, DZone

Selected Projects

Quality of Experience

Internet Content Delivery

IoT Scalability

IoT Security

Spam, Fraud, Abuse

Online Advertising

Bias, Slant, Polarization

Selected Awards

  • 2017: Best Paper Award, ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC)

  • 2013: Fitch Beach Outstanding Graduate Research Award, Michigan State University

  • 2012: Best Paper Award, IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols (ICNP)

  • 2008: Dean's Plaque of Excellence, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Pakistan

  • 2007: Dean's Plaque of Excellence, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Pakistan


My research is supported by the National Science Foundation, Data Transparency Lab, UI Research Foundation, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Facebook, Nokia, Futurewei, and Siemens.

Outreach Activities

Student Guidelines


201J MacLean Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1419
Tel: (319) 335-0713
Fax: (319) 335-0627