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Office Location

805 Columbus Avenue
625 Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC)
Boston, MA 02120

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Alina Oprea, 435 ISEC
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Research Interests

  • Security analytics
  • Cloud security
  • Network security
  • Applied cryptography


  • PhD in Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
  • MS in Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
  • BS in Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Bucharest, Romania


Alina Oprea is an associate professor in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University. Prior to her position at Northeastern, Oprea was a consultant research scientist at RSA Laboratories, where she performed research in cloud security, applied cryptography, foundations of cybersecurity, and security analytics. Oprea received a BS in mathematics and computer science from the University of Bucharest in Romania. She also earned MS and PhD degrees in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003 and 2007, respectively.

Oprea is interested in extracting meaningful intelligence from different data sources for various security applications. By researching how she can design rigorous machine learning techniques to predict sophisticated attackers’ behavior, she hopes to identify techniques to protect cloud infrastructures against emerging threats. Oprea co-directs the Network and Distributed Systems Security Lab, which focuses on building distributed systems and network protocols that achieve security, availability, and performance.

As the co-author of numerous journal and peer-review conference papers, Oprea has participated in a large number of technical program committees (IEEE S&P, NDSS, ACM CCS, ACSAC, DSN) and is a co-inventor of 20 issued patents. She currently sits as an associate editor for the ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security (TOPS) journal. At the 2005 Network and Distributed System Security Conference, Oprea was the recipient of the Best Paper Award, and in 2011, she received the Technology Review TR35 award for her research in cloud security.

About me:

Where did you grow up?

My home town is Bucharest, Romania, and I spent my first childhood years in the beautiful city of Sibiu in Transylvania.

Field of research/teaching

Computer Security

What are the specifics of your educational background?

I majored in Mathematics and Computer Science at University of Bucharest, Romania, and in my senior year I got interested in cryptography and security after taking a class in mathematical foundations of cryptography. My undergraduate thesis was on the topic of off-line digital cash. I started a PhD at CMU in Computer Science, where I continued to pursue my interests in computer security, by applying my theoretical background to practical problems. My PhD thesis was on designing efficient cryptographic file systems for protecting confidentiality and integrity of data stored on untrusted storage servers.

What are your research interests?

My most recent focus is on applying data mining and machine learning algorithms to different security problems. Many areas (image classification, speech recognition, personalized medicine) benefit from availability of massive data sources and recent advances in accuracy of data science methods. My goal is to explore these advances in the area of computer security, by working on applications such as defending against advanced attackers, building more usable and secure systems, and designing algorithms that are resilient against adversarial manipulation.
I like to explore new topics that have practical relevance to current computer security issues, and my research evolved over the years into new areas of interest. I have broad interests in applied cryptography, cloud security, foundation of cybersecurity, and network security.

What do you enjoy most about your subject?

It is a technically interesting and challenging topic, with high relevance to the industry. Students have different backgrounds, from cryptography to very applied systems security.