Ehsan Toreini

Assistant Professor in Computer Security

Room 2109, Department of Computer Science,
Durham University Durham, United Kingdom

ehsan dot toreini AT durham DOT ac DOT uk

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I am an assistant professor at department of computer science in Durham University.

I did my Ph.D at Newcastle University, where I was fortunate to work with Feng Hao. He taught me how to be practical with security and avoid over-complicating stuff!

My primary research interests are focused in protecting the identity of everything (physical objects, microchips, humans, browsers and etc.). I am broadly interested in many other things in security, such as trustworthy machine learning (meaning being robust, resilient and fair), socio-technical impacts of web tracking and side channel attacks to sensors and other hardware components. I particularly am interested into exiting topics in hardware security (device attestation) and secure identification of smart devices in various Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructures. If you want to know more detail on my current (and past) projects and grants, follow my research page.

In my research, I am particularly proud of a few highlights. First, the research on anti-counterfeiting technologies which was featured in many esteemed news outlets such as the Economist and Wall Street Journal and two US patents (I and II). Also, my white hacker sidekick projects lead to two specific major improvements in security of web ecosystem: JavaScript-based side channel attacks to motion and orientation sensors caused major security patches in all mainstream browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Chrome and Safari, and iOS), making W3C dedicate a section on privacy and security of deviceorientation API in the documentation (now deprecated) . Also, the privacy leakages of private browsing caused major updates in apple Safari and google Chrome. Due to these impacts, I am also invited expert in World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 'Device and Sensor (DAS)' working group.

In my spare time, I enjoy watching good movies (fascinated by nice story telling beyond hollywood, especially exploring classics of italian neorealism masters, french new wave and japanese golden era), cooking (I am trying to master umami-fused grills and pizza bread fermentation process), and remarkably mediocre at chess, amongst other things.

Research Team

I am lucky to be exposed to a talented pool of students and researchers so far. I am expanding my team for now so keep an eye on any upcoming hiring notifications in this section!

Current members:
  • Patrick Wake (PhD candidate, Global Head of Information Security, FDM Group), co-supervised with Prof. Sue Black.
  • Amira Alrewetae (PhD candidate), co-supervised with Dr. Gaganjeet Aujla
Alumni (few that I am proud to work with):
  • Josh Harrison (Research Project, 2022) --> Software Development Engineer @ Amazon uk
  • Jack Reeves (Research Project, 2022) --> Digital Consultant @ Newton Europe
  • Jia Xiu Sai (Research Project, 2022) --> Graduate Software Engineer @ THG
  • Max Dormon (Research Project, 2022) --> Software Engineer @ JPMorgn Chase
Future opportunities::
  • Student project? If you're a Durham University student looking for a final undergrad project or MSc thesis projects, please refer to this page.
  • Work with me? If you are looking for a PhD or Postdoc, please send an email to me with your proposal and CV.


I have many teaching experiences in different roles; however, since I joined Durham University, I have been module leader, module coordinator and module designer for security related (and unrelated) courses.

Year 2022 - 2023

  • To be Confirmed soon!

Year 2021 - 2022

  • Security Engineering: This module is proposed in Durham University Curriculum for the first time. Teaching Goal: available here.
  • Bias in AI: continuation of the module taught in previous year with minor modifications.

Year 2020 - 2021

  • Bias in AI: This module is proposed in Durham University Curriculum for the first time. Teaching Goal: available here.
  • Probability: This module is proposed in Durham University Curriculum for the first time. Teaching Goal: available here.


Authors are ordered alphabetically unless they're not 🤔🤔🤔

List of all citations: Google Scholar

Bibtex Representation: Bibtex


  • "I feel invaded, annoyed, anxious and I may protect myself": Individuals' Feelings about Online Tracking and their Protective Behaviour across Gender and Country". Kovila Coopamootoo, Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini. 31st USENIX Security Symposium 2022
  • "How Can and Would People Protect From Online Tracking?.". Maryam Mehrnezhad, Kovila Coopamootoo, Ehsan Toreini. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETS) 2022


  • "Anti-Counterfeiting for Polymer Banknotes Based on Polymer Substrate Fingerprinting". Shen Wang, Ehsan Toreini, Feng Hao. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security (TIFS)
  • "On Secure E-Voting over Blockchain". Patrick Mccorry, Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini, Siamak F Shahandashti, Feng Hao. ACM journal of Digital Threats: Research and Practice (DTRAP)


  • "Keeping it Human: A Focus Group Study of Public Attitudes Towards AI in Banking". Mhairi Aitken, Magdalene Ng, Ehsan Toreini, Aad van Moorsel, Kovila PL Coopamootoo, Karen Elliott. European Symposium on Research in Computer Security

  • "Technologies for Trustworthy Machine Learning: A Survey in a Socio-Technical Context" . Ehsan Toreini, Mhairi Aitken, Kovila PL Coopamootoo, Karen Elliott, Vladimiro Gonzalez Zelaya, Paolo Missier, Magdalene Ng, Aad van Moorsel.

  • "Simulating the Effects of Social Presence on Trust, Privacy Concerns & Usage Intentions in Automated Bots for Finance" . Magdalene Ng, Kovila PL Coopamootoo, Ehsan Toreini, Mhairi Aitken, Karen Elliot, Aad van Moorsel. EuroUSEC 2020, The 5th European Workshop on Usable Security.

  • "End-to-End Verifiable E-Voting Trial for Polling Station Voting at Gateshead" .Feng Hao, Shen Wang, Samiran Bag, Rob Procter, Siamak F Shahandashti, Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini, Roberto Metere, Lana Liu. IEEE Security & Privacy Journal, 2020


  • "The relationship between trust in AI and trustworthy machine learning technologies" .Ehsan Toreini, Mhari Aitken, Aad van Moorsel, Karen Elliot, Kovila Koopamootoo. ACM conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency in Machine Learning (ACM FAT*), Spain, 2020.
    ePrint | Presentation | Video

  • "DOMtegrity: Ensuring Web Page Integrity against Malicious Browser Extensions" . Ehsan Toreini, Siamak F. Shahandashti, Maryam Mehrnezhad, Feng Hao. International Journal of Information Security.
    ePrint | Source Code | More

  • "What Is This Sensor and Does This App Need Access to It?" . Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini. Informatics Journal.


  • "Making sense of sensors: mobile sensor security awareness and education" . Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini, Sami Alajrami. 7th Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust.

  • "Stealing PINs via Mobile Sensors: Actual Risk versus User Perception" . Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini, Siamak F. Shahandashti, Feng Hao. International Journal of Information Security.
    ePrint | Source Code | (Listed as top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric)



  • "Touchsignatures: identification of user touch actions and pins based on mobile sensor data via javascript" . Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini, Siamak F. Shahandashti, Feng Hao. Journal of Information Security and Applications 26, 23-38.
    Publication | Source Code |

  • "PiSHi: click the images and I tell if you are a human" . Maryam Mehrnezhad, Abbas Ghaemi Bafghi, Ahad Harati, Ehsan Toreini. International Journal of Information Security, 1-17.
    Publication |

  • "Removing Trusted Tallying Authorities" . Patrick McCorry, Ehsan Toreini, Maryam Mehrnezhad. Newcastle University.
    Technical Report


  • "Determining User Passwords From Partial Information" . Dylan Clarke, Ehsan Toreini, Feng Hao. Newcastle University.
    Technical Report

  • "An acoustic side channel attack on enigma" . Ehsan Toreini, Brian Randell, Feng Hao. Newcastle University.
    Technical Report


  • "Analysis Of The Usage Of Chaotic Theory In Data Clustering Using Particle Swarm Optimization" . Saman Poursiah Navi, Ehsan Toreini, Maryam Mehrnejad, Seyyed Kazem Shekofteh. Indian Journal of Scientific Research 4 (3), 335-353.

  • "On the privacy of private browsing–a forensic approach" . Kiavash Satvat, Matthew Forshaw, Feng Hao, Ehsan Toreini. Data Privacy Management and Autonomous Spontaneous Security, 380-389.


  • Maryam Mehrnejad, Abbas Ghaemi Bafghi, Ahad Harati, Ehsan Toreini. "SEIMCHA: a new semantic image CAPTCHA using geometric transformations" . The ISC International Journal of Information Security 4 (1), 63-76.


  • "Multiple seimcha: multiple semantic image captcha" . Maryam Mehrnejad, Abbas Ghaemi Bafghi, Ahad Harati, Ehsan Toreini International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST), 2011.

  • "A novel method in fuzzy data clustering based on chaotic PSO" . Ehsan Toreini, Maryam Mehrnejad. International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST), 2011.

  • "Security analyzing and designing GUI with the resources model" . Maryam Mehrnejad, Ehsan Toreini, Abbas Ghaemi Bafghi. International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST), 2011.

  • "Clustering Data with Particle Swarm Optimization using a new fitness" . Ehsan Toreini, Maryam Mehrnejad. Data Mining and Optimization (DMO), 2011 3rd Conference on, 266-270.

  • "A novel fuzzy metric to evaluate clusters for prolonging lifetime in wireless sensor networks" . Peyman Neamatollahi, Hoda Taheri, Ehsan Toreini, Mahmoud Naghibzadeh, Mohhamad Hossein Yaghmaee. Artificial Intelligence and Signal Processing (AISP), 2011 International.

  • "A new image based CAPTCHA based on geometric transformations" . Maryam Mehrnejad, Abbas Ghaemi Bafghi, Ahad Harati, Ehsan Toreini. 8thInternational ISC Conference on Information Security and Cryptology, FUM.


Other bits and pieces that I am proud of include nominations, public outreach presentations and impacts. Some are:

  • Nominated by Dep. of Computer Science at DU for “Blavatnik award for young scientists in the UK”, 2022
  • Shortlisted in EPSRC Connected Nation Pioneers Competition, 2018
  • Winner ($3k) of The Kaspersky Lab Cyber Security Case Study Competition Hosted by The Economist on blockchain for e-voting, 2016.
  • Invited Talk, Sutton Trust Summer School 2021, A Discussion on Trust, and Security
  • Invited Panel Member, Dynamo 20, FinTrust: A discussion of tech, social & ethical approaches to establish trust in FinTech
  • What Your Sensors Say about You, Thinking Digital, Newcastle, 2016 and 2018.