Prateek Mittal wins ACM Grace Hopper Award for enhancing internet privacy and security

Written by
Alaina O'Regan
June 18, 2024

Prateek Mittal, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has received the 2023 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Grace Murray Hopper Award — one of the most prestigious in computing research — for developing a robust method for preserving internet privacy and security.

Mittal is an expert in the design and development of privacy-preserving and secure systems­­. His work is helping safeguard vulnerable internet users by protecting communication data as well as metadata. He also studies how artificial intelligence (AI) based systems can be corrupted to cause harm and draws on techniques from data science, network science and applied cryptography to solve privacy and security challenges.

The Hopper Award recognizes Mittal’s work on uncovering an important class of attacks that can undermine the safety of widely used encryption protocols, and mitigating these attacks by enabling trusted sources to validate website domain ownership from multiple vantage points on the internet. The technology has already led to the secure issuance of over 2.5 billion digital certificates used by 350 million websites, according to a statement from ACM.

The Hopper Award is given to “the outstanding young computer professional of the year” based on a single, significant technical or service contribution made at or before the age of 35, according to ACM. Established in 1971, the award is named after the computer engineer and Naval officer Grace Hopper who, as a young woman, was one of the first pioneers of computer programming.

Mittal joined Princeton University in 2013. He has built a track record of research with societal impact, and has won numerous awards from industry, including faculty research awards from Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook, Cisco and Siemens, as well as from government entities including the Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award, the Army Research Organization’s Young Investigator Prize, and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He has collaborated with non-profit entities including Let’s Encrypt, the Tor Project, and the Open Technology Foundation to enable direct societal change. Mittal is an associated faculty member in the department of computer science and Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, where he served as interim director from 2022 to 2023.