About Me



University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Master of Science, Computer Science - August 2016
5th Year PhD. Student - May 2018
Security & Big Data Focus


Mississippi State University – Starkville, MS
Bachelor of Science, Computer Engineering
Graduated May 2013
summa cum laude


MIT Lincoln Laboratory – Research Intern (Summer 2017) Boston, MA

  • Return Oriented Programming (ROP) Defense / Control Flow Integrity (CFI) Hardening
  • Developed compiler level (LLVM) instrumentation to harden a binary to protect against inherent weaknesses in existing CFI based defenses

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Research Assistant Summer/Fall 2017

  • Cloud Security Research: IDS for Micro-Services, Virtual Machine Introspection, Cache Side-Channel Defense

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Fall 2016) - Teaching Assistant

  • Helped run CS 523 Advanced Operating Systems

Responsibilities Included:

  • Prepare and present a portion of the lectures
  • Read and grade student’s paper reviews, and project reports
  • Guiding students to guide them on the latest advancements in operating systems

PayPal, Inc. (Summer 2016) - Software Development Intern - San Jose, CA

  • Tuning in memory machine learning workloads to perform better on multi-socket CPU’s (NUMA)
    • Achieved a 60% speed up by taking NUMA into account during workload distribution
    • Organized meetings, ran benchmarks, presented findings
    • Initiated collaboration with external vendors to ensure scalability beyond that achievable through CPU’s
  • Benchmarked and identified bottlenecks in the Hadoop job analyzer “Dr. Elephant”
    • Produced a patch to highlight network inefficiencies
    • Was able to reduce network traffic of the tool by an order of magnitude
  • Distributed File System Metadata Query Engine
    • Collaborated with team members to architect a metadata query engine.

NCC Group (Summer 2015) – Security Intern - New York City, NY

  • Worked on a reverse engineering project involving network and binary analysis that resulted in a responsible disclosure (Disclosure Pending).
  • Shadowed Client Project
    • Manually Dumped a 48 Pin NAND flash and recovered device’s firmware

eBay Inc. (Summer 2014) – Software Development Intern. - San Jose, CA

  • Fault injection for distributed workloads
    • Simulated “soft-failures” within Hadoop (e.g.: degraded NIC or Disk).
  • Developer Onboarding
    • Produced tool to help new developers quickly spin up Hadoop clusters.

Nimbus Mobile (2012-2014) – Co-Founder & Product Development - USA

  • www.featherserve.com - streamlines pool service companies’ management of employees, customers, routing and scheduling; provides chemical treatment recommendations based on readings entered into the mobile app
  • Acquired in February of 2014

Undergraduate Research Assistant - Starkville, MS

  • IDS produced is being evaluated in PG&E Research Labs (as of Fall 2014)
  • Worked on intrusion detection systems for the power grid (February 2012 through April 2013)
  • Implemented custom IDS on top of Snort using Snort’s C API
    • Implemented an IEEE C37.118 protocol reader in C using the IEEE spec
    • Worked with packet headers and Ethernet frames
    • Tested IDS by writing attacks using Python + Scapy
    • Worked with a team to ensure that our environment simulated a realistic deployment

Newspaper (Fall 2010) - Starkville, MS

  • Wrote for Mississippi State University’s campus newspaper, The Reflector.

Study Abroad – Singapore, January 2011 – May 2011

  • Lived and studied at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore
  • Studied Mandarin Chinese


BlindStorage - https://github.com/wratner/Searchable-File-Encryption.git

  • Implemented Blind Storage Searchable Symmetric Encryption scheme allowing client to store files on remote server in such a way that no information about files is revealed.
  • Developed client side android application to carry out keyword searches on encrypted documents located on server.
  • Mechanism described in https://eprint.iacr.org/2014/219.pdf

FindYourFarmers – www.findyourfarmers.com (no longer live)

  • Allows farmers that sell at farmers’ markets on Saturday and farmers who only sell goods occasionally (i.e.: infrequent goods, such as organic beef) to connect with their shoppers throughout the week allowing them to handle reservations across markets and giving them a web presence.
  • Founded an LLC
    • Interacted with customers
    • Identified strengths and weaknesses of the business model
    • Gained more insight into the B2B business model

FeatherServe – www.featherserve.com

  • Django based application that helps pool service companies manage their employees, customers, routing and scheduling while providing recommendations for treatment chemical amounts based off readings entered by the employee at the site of the pool.

Skills Summary

  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Puppet
  • Web Development – Rails & Django
  • Hadoop
  • Storm
  • Ansible
  • BASH Shell scripting
  • Fabric
  • Python
  • C/C++
  • KVM Kernel Level Functionality
  • FreeBSD & Linux Server Management
  • Ham Radio Operator - General Class
  • Vagrant
  • supervisord
  • WSGI
  • Snort
  • Linux Scheduler
  • Linux Kernel Hacking
  • Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) Hacking
  • LLVM Passes


Sprabery, R., Estrada, Z., Kalbarczyk, Z., Iyer, R., Bobba, R., Campbell, R. Trustworthy Services Built on Event Based Probing for Layered Defense. International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E), 2017 Fifth IEEE, 2017

Zachary J. Estrada, Read Sprabery, Lok Yan, Zhongzhi Yu, Roy Campbell, Zbigniew Kalbarczyk, Ravishankar K. Iyer. Using OS Design Patterns to Provide Reliability and Security as-a-Service for VM-based Clouds. VEE ‘17: Proceedings of the 13th ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, April 2017

Di Giulio, C., Sprabery, R., Kamhoua, C., Kwiat, K. Campbell, R., Bashir, M. “IT Security and Privacy Standards in Comparison: Improving FedRAMP Authorization for Cloud Service Providers”. International Workshop on Assured Cloud Computing and QoS Aware Big Data (WACC ‘17), Madrid, Spain. May 14, 2017

Di Giulio, C., Sprabery, R., Kamhoua, C., Kwiat, K. Campbell, R., Bashir, M. Cloud Security Certifications: A Comparison to Improve Cloud Service Provider Security. To be presented at the second International Conference on Internet of Things, Data and Cloud Computing (ICC 2017), Churchill College, Cambridge, UK. March 22-23, 2017

Sprabery, R., Morris, T., Pan, S., Adhikari, U., Protocol Mutation Intrusion Detection for Synchrophasor Communications. Accepted by the 8th Annual Cyber Security and Information Intelligence Research Workshop (CSIIRW8). Jan 8-10, 2013. Oak Ridge, TN

Fangzhou Yao, Read Sprabery, and Roy H. Campbell. 2014. CryptVMI: a flexible and encrypted virtual machine introspection system in the cloud. In Proceedings of the 2nd international workshop on Security in cloud computing (SCC ‘14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 11-18. DOI=10.1145/2600075.2600078 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2600075.2600078

J. Lamps, I. Palmer and R. Sprabery, “WinWizard: Expanding Xen with a LibVMI Intrusion Detection Tool,” Cloud Computing (CLOUD), 2014 IEEE 7th International Conference on, Anchorage, AK, 2014, pp. 849-856. doi: 10.1109/CLOUD.2014.117


Sprabery, R., Estrada, Z., Kalbarczyk, Z., Iyer, R., Bobba, R., Campbell, R. Defense in Depth for Virtual Appliances Built on Event Based Probing of Untrusted Guests. Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC 2016). Dec 5-9, 2016. Los Angeles, CA

Sprabery, R., Tuncay, G. Gunter, C., Campbell, R. Retrofitting Door Locks for Cheap Control through Mobile Devices. Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC 2016). Dec 5-9, 2016. Los Angeles, CA


Assurance Challenges in Isolated Execution Environments. Layered Assurance Workshop. Dec. 6, 2016. Los Angeles, CA

Privacy and the Internet of Things. Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conference. March 11, 2016. Springfield, IL

Proposals & Fellowships

Received fellowship from National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)

Mississippi State Honors College Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship (Summer 2012)

  • Presented findings in undergraduate research symposium (Spring 2013)

Heiselt, A., Hall, K., Sainsbury, R., Watkins, A., Ammons, R., & Sprabery, R. (2010, November). Researching the Impact of an Online Counseling Library. Office of Research and Economic Development Cross-Disciplinary Research Grant, Mississippi State University, $2,000. (Funded)

  • Participated in obtaining seed money for a cross disciplinary research project

1st place in Epsilon Big Data Scholarship Competition (June 2014)

  • Competed with other students working in big data.

Burke Study Abroad Scholarship Competition - Competed with other engineering students for a study abroad scholarship as an undergraduate.

Leadership / Activities and Honors

  • Mississippi State University Entrepreneurship Center - Peer Review Entrepreneurship Panel (2016-2017 School Year, 2017-2018 School Year)
    • Meet monthly to listen to student presentations/business proposals. The committee provides advice to students with early stage businesses and optimally awards grants to be used to perform customer outreach.
  • Healing Horse Stables (Fall 2013 - Present) - horse therapy program dedicated to helping children with disabilities improve mobility, social skills, and confidence.

  • Habitat for Humanity (Fall 2014) - helping to build homes for those in need.

  • Engineering Graduate Student Advisory Council (2014-2015 School Year) – Board of engineering students selected to help advise the Dean of Engineering on issues important to the graduate student body.
    • Served on the Underrepresented Groups in Engineering Subcommittee
      • Investigated ways to help underrepresented groups pursue graduate studies in engineering.
  • Boy Scouts of America – received Eagle Scout award
  • Member of Tau Beta Pi
  • Member of Phi Kappa Phi
  • Model United Nations (2009-2012) – hosted a conference for high school students, in addition to attending a college conference each year
    • Appointed Secretary General for the 2012-2013 school year
  • Honors College Council (2009-2010) – Elected position, helped plan evens for the honors college
  • Habitat for Humanity House (Fall 2009) – Helped with the Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity House
  • MVNU2MSU (Fall 2010) – Volunteered to help students move into the dorms
  • Frostbite Half-marathon (Spring 2010) – Helped provide communication with our HAM radio club, W5YD, during the race
  • Laps for Lupus (Spring 2010) – Helped provide communication with our HAM radio club, W5YD, during the race
  • MSU Recruitment (Fall 2010) – helped with honors college recruitment on MSU visit days