|Nationality||German and American|
|Alma mater|| Universität Hamburg, M.S Mathematics (1998)|
University of Michigan, Ph.D. Computer Science (2003)
|Known for||OpenBSD, OpenSSH, Bcrypt, Safe Browsing|
|Doctoral advisor||Peter Honeyman|
Niels Provos is a German-American researcher in security engineering, malware, and cryptography. He received a PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan. From 2003 to 2018, he worked at Google as a Distinguished Engineer on security for Google. In 2018, he left Google to join Stripe as its new head of security.In 2022, Provos left Stripe and joined Lacework as head of Security Efficacy.
For many years, Provos contributed to the OpenBSD operating system, where he developed the bcrypt adaptive cryptographic hash function. He is the author of numerous software packages, including the libevent event driven programming system, the Systrace access control system, the honeyd honeypot system, the StegDetect steganography detector, the Bcrypt password encryption technique, and many others.
Provos has been an outspoken critic of the effect of the DMCA and similar laws on security researchers, arguing that they threaten to make criminals of people conducting legitimate security research.
Provos has also served as the Program Chair of the Usenix Security Symposium, on the program committees of the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, ACM SIGCOMM, and numerous other conferences, and served on the board of directors of Usenix from 2006 to 2010.
Blending his professional interests and creative pursuits, Provos has also started producing security-themed Electronic Dance Music (EDM) tracks under his artist name Activ8te. He embarked on this musical endeavor with the aim of garnering more interest in the field of security.
Provos's hobbies also include swordsmithing, and he has forged swords in both Japanese and Viking styles. It started with his father collecting sabres. Niels routinely posts videos of his blacksmithing activities online. By his words "At work, we try to fight the bad guys and make the world safer for our users. And swords are maybe an expression in a similar way. You create weapons to defend yourself against the hordes of barbarians."
After 15 years working on Security, I am saying Goodbye to @Google today.
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