CyberspACe securiTy and forensIcs lab (CactiLab)

University at Buffalo

CactiLab is in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at University at Buffalo. Members of CactiLab are interested in security, privacy, and forensics in computer and communications systems. Current research foci include hardware-assisted, system, and software security.

Prof. Ziming Zhao is the director of CactiLab. He received a PhD degree in Computer Science from the Arizona State University. Research outcomes of CactiLab have appeared in top-tier security conferences and journals, including IEEE S&P, USENIX Security, CCS, NDSS, DAC, MobiSys, RTAS, IMWUT, ACSAC, ESORICS, TISSEC/TOPS, TDSC, TIFS, etc.

The research of CactiLab has been supported by National Science Foundation (NSF), National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C), and Department of Defense (DoD).

Please check out CactiLab’s open-source projects on GitHub and open lectures on YouTube.


May 13, 2024 [Paper] Our paper entitled “SoK: Where’s the “up”?! A Comprehensive (bottom-up) Study on the Security of Arm Cortex-M Systems” will appear in USENIX WOOT‘24!
Apr 18, 2024 [CTF] Team Cacti advised by Dr. Zhao and Dr. Hu placed 4th in MITRE eCTF 2024!
Mar 15, 2024 [Paper] Our papers entitled “Building Your Own Trusted Execution Environments Using FPGA” (open-source repo at here) and “Command Hijacking on Voice-Controlled IoT in Amazon Alexa Platform” will appear in ACM AsiaCCS‘24!
Feb 15, 2024 [Paper] Our paper entitled “InsectACIDE: Debugger-Based Holistic Asynchronous CFI for Embedded System” will appear in IEEE RTAS‘24!
Jan 15, 2024 [Paper] Our paper entitled “LocCams: An Efficient and Robust Approach for Detecting and Localizing Hidden Wireless Cameras via Commodity Devices” will appear in ACM IMWUT‘24!
Oct 29, 2023 [Paper] Our paper entitled “Moderating New Waves of Online Hate with Chain-of-Thought Reasoning in Large Language Models” will appear in IEEE Security and Privacy (Oakland)‘24!
Aug 10, 2023 [Paper] Our paper entitled “SHERLOC: Secure and Holistic Control-Flow Violation Detection on Embedded Systems” will appear in ACM CCS‘23! Check out our open-source repo at here!
Apr 26, 2023 [CTF] Team Cacti advised by Dr. Zhao and Dr. Hu placed 4th in MITRE eCTF 2023!