Heather Richter Lipford

Heather's headshot

Interim Associate Dean of Research, College of Computing and Informatics
Professor, Department of Software and Information Systems
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Office: 305E Woodward Hall
Phone: +1 704-687-8376
Email: Heather.Lipford at uncc.edu


Dr. Heather Richter Lipford is a Professor at UNC Charlotte, and is also serving as the Interim Associate Dean of Research in the College of Computing and Informatics. She completed her Ph.D. from the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include Usable Security and Privacy, Human-Computer Interaction, and social computing. She is co-directing the HCI Lab and is a member of the UNCC Cyber Defense and Network Assurability Center.


  • I am now serving as the Interim Associate Dean of Research in the college. Come talk to me about your research interests and needs!
  • I chaired the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security in August 2020! Check out the fantastic program of usable security and privacy research.
  • Our paper on "Smart Home Beyond the Home" was accepted at CHI 2020.


My primary research interest is Usable Security and Privacy - the intersection of Human Computer Interaction and information security and privacy.

Active Projects

  • User Interface Security Assessment: A method for assessing the security risk of a particular application interface design
  • Wearable fitness tracker privacy: Investigating users' behaviors and concerns when sharing wearable fitness tracker data
  • Smart home privacy: Exploring users' perceptions and needs for managing their privacy with smart home devices
  • Leveraging Community for Security and Privacy: Exploring how to utilize decisions and oversight from a community of users to aid in security and privacy decision making.
Previous Projects
  • Interactive Static Analysis: Exploring tools within the IDE for improving the awareness, knowledge, and practice of secure programming among developers.
  • Secure Programming Education in the IDE: Providing educational support for students to learn how to recognize and prevent security vulnerabilities in their code.
  • Usable Security and Privacy Body of Knowledge: Creating a framework of topics and learning objectives to organize the usable security and privacy discipline, along with online educational resources for students and faculty.
  • PrIncipedia: A privacy incidents database
  • Improving Privacy on Social Network Sites: Investigating how people are sharing and protecting their information on social network sites and mobile platforms, and proposing new interfaces and privacy mechanisms to improve privacy management.

Recent Publications

See my Google Scholar profile for a complete list of publications.

  • Simson Garfinkel and Heather Richter Lipford. Usable Security: History, Themes, and Challenges. Synthesis Lectures on Information Security, Privacy, and Trust, Morgan & Claypool, September 2014.
  • Jess Kropczynski, Zaina Aljallad, Nathan Jeffrey Elrod, Heather Lipford, and Pamela Wisniewski. “Towards Building Community Collective Efficacy for Managing Digital Privacy and Security within Older Adult Communities.” In the Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2020), October 2020.
  • Madiha Tabassum, Jess Kropczynski, Pamela Wisniewski, and Heather Richter Lipford. “Smart Home Beyond the Home: A Case for Community-Based Access Control.” In the Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2020), April 2020.
  • Abdulmajeed Alqhatani and Heather Richter Lipford. “ ‘There is nothing that I need to keep secret’: Sharing Practices and Concerns of Wearable Fitness Data.” In the Proceedings of the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2019), August 2019.
  • Madiha Tabassum, Tomasz Kosinski, and Heather Lipford. “ ‘I don’t own the data’: End User Perceptions of Smart Home Device Data Practices and Risks.” In the Proceedings of the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2019), August 2019.


Below are the courses that I commonly teach. Email me for course materials.
  • ITIS 3130: Introduction to Human Computer Interaction
  • ITIS 6400/8400: Principles of Human Computer Interaction
  • ITIS 4420, 6420/8420: Usable Security and Privacy

Ph.D. Students

  • Jacqueline Smith
  • Abdulmajeed Alqhatani
  • Sakib Miazi (Ph.D. 2020): Visiting Assistant Professor, Davidson College
  • Madiha Tabassum
  • Stacey Watson (Ph.D. 2018): Assistant Professor, Algoma University
  • Tyler Thomas (Ph.D. 2018): Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, Stout
  • Michael Whitney (Ph.D. 2015): Associate Professor, Winthrop University
  • Jason Watson (Ph.D. 2014): Associate Professor, University of North Alabama
  • Andrew Besmer (Ph.D. 2013): Associate Professor, Winthrop University
  • Pamela Wisniewski (Ph.D. 2012, with Dave Wilson): Associate Professor, University of Central Florida
  • Jing Xie (Ph.D. 2012, with Bill Chu): FireEye Security