Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Computer Science


Qun Li


Online social networks (OSNs) have gained soaring popularity and are among the most popular sites on the Web. With OSNs, users around the world establish and strengthen connections by sharing thoughts, activities, photos, locations, and other personal information. However, the immense popularity of OSNs also raises significant security and privacy concerns. Storing millions of users' private information and their social connections, OSNs are susceptible to becoming the target of various attacks. In addition, user privacy will be compromised if the private data collected by OSNs are abused, inadvertently leaked, or under the control of adversaries. as a result, the tension between the value of joining OSNs and the security and privacy risks is rising.;To make OSNs more secure and privacy-preserving, our work follow a bottom-up approach. OSNs are composed of three components, the infrastructure layer, the function layer, and the user data stored on OSNs. For each component of OSNs, in this dissertation, we analyze and address a representative security/privacy issue. Starting from the infrastructure layer of OSNs, we first consider how to improve the reliability of OSN infrastructures, and we propose Fast Mencius, a crash-fault tolerant state machine replication protocol that has low latency and high throughput in wide-area networks. For the function layer of OSNs, we investigate how to prevent the functioning of OSNs from being disturbed by adversaries, and we propose SybilDefender, a centralized sybil defense scheme that can effectively detect sybil nodes by analyzing social network topologies. Finally, we study how to protect user privacy on OSNs, and we propose two schemes. MobiShare is a privacy-preserving location-sharing scheme designed for location-based OSNs (LBSNs), which supports sharing locations between both friends and strangers. LBSNSim is a trace-driven LBSN model that can generate synthetic LBSN datasets used in place of real datasets. Combining our work contributes to improving security and privacy in OSNs.



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