Me at the Nuremberg Imperial Castle, Germany in Summer 2017.

Hello there! Thanks for thinking I'm interesting enough to check up on. If you've come this far, I dare you to say hello before you leave :)

My name is Yixin Zou (pronounced "Yee-Shin Zoh"). I am a PhD Candidate at University of Michigan, School of Information (UMSI) advised by Florian Schaub. I am part of the Security and Privacy Interaction (SPI) Lab and the Michigan Interactive and Social Computing (MISC) group. I also work closely with the Usable Privacy Policy Project team at Carnegie Mellon University, the GWUSEC Lab at George Washington University, and a research team based in New York City that studies computer security and privacy issues for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV).

My research focuses on understanding and improving people's adoption of protective behaviors against privacy and security threats (e.g., reacting to data breaches, exercising website privacy choices, and navigating privacy risks in smart homes). A second line of my research investigates the privacy risks and needs of vulnerable populations, such as survivors of intimate partner violence and older adults. My research has been published at top HCI and security venues including CHI, CSCW, and USENIX Security. I'm also interested in making my research relevant to policymakers: I've been an invited speaker at the US Federal Trade Commission's annual PrivacyCon, and a series of work with my CMU collaborators has directly influenced the California Consumer Privacy Act's rulemaking process.

I will be on the job market in Fall 2021, open to both academia and industry positions. If you have or know any opening in privacy, security, human-computer interaction or adjacent areas, I'd love to get in touch!

Selected Honors and Awards


  • Oct 2021 I was invited to co-present our research on data breaches and opportunities for policy interventions at an internal seminar held by the US Federal Trade Commission. Looking forward to it!
  • Aug 2021 I presented two papers at USENIX Security 2021: one on consumer reactions to real-world data breaches affecting them, the other on the role of computer security customer support in helping survivors of intimate partner violence.
  • May 2021 - I passed my dissertation proposal defense! One step closer toward graduation :)