Verification of security and privacy in modern threat landscapes

New threat models, issued from e.g., IoT and FinTech, linked to intricate adversarial collusions, contrived forms of tracing objects/subjects, mixing cryptographic savviness with rationality (e.g., incentives driven by finance, etc.) need to be incorporated in novel techniques and tools for the verification of security and privacy.
Start date
Ongoing
Application deadline
Ongoing
Funding information

A stipend of £16,000 per annum, tax-free, subject to nationality and residence status. Fees are covered for UK/EU students (in value of £4,260).

About

The student will join a team of researchers at Surrey University’s Centre for Cyber Security, supervised by Dr Ioana Boureanu, in collaboration with Prof. Steve Schneider. Their research interests include verification and provable security applied to a broad range of secure systems, ranging from established cryptographic protocols to emerging ones, like those in the sphere of Internet of Things.

This project is in the area of verification of systems’ security and privacy: theory and practice (model checking, theorem proving). New threat models, issued from e.g., IoT and FinTech, linked to intricate adversarial collusions, contrived forms of tracing objects/subjects, mixing cryptographic savviness  with rationality (e.g., incentives driven by finance, etc.) need to be incorporated in novel techniques and tools for the verification of security and privacy.

The candidate will undertake not only technical aspects of such a project, but will also have an interest in cyber security in general and the translation of this type of technology to real-life secure systems. Previous experience in formal methods and/or security is not essential, but evidence of previous work in one of these fields is desirable.

If you have interests in any of these topics, but not in all, we encourage you to contact us for an informal discussion.

Eligibility criteria

Essential:

  • Bachelor degree in Computer Science (UK equivalent 2:1 classification or above)
  • Interest in verification techniques (e.g. formal methods/analysis) and/or in security and privacy
  • Programming experience (any language)
  • Analytical skills: knowledge of foundations of computer science (e.g., discrete mathematics); ability to think independently
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, both in plain English, and scientific language for publication in relevant journals and presentation at conferences.

Desirable:

  • Master’s degree (UK equivalent of Merit classification or above)
  • Experience in Boolean and/or first order logic
  • Experience in formal verification (model checking, theorem proving or SMT solving)
  • Experience of implementation and/or experimentation with verification tools
  • Knowledge of cryptography and/or information security
  • Proficiency in C++ and/or Java
  • Experience with a functional programming language (e.g., Haskell, Ocaml)
  • Flexible, able to work collaboratively 
  • A strong team player with good interpersonal skills able to build and sustain effective working relationships with the SCCS group
  • Self-motivated researcher, with a hands-on approach, willing to develop their technical and analytical skills and contribute to the overall aims of the research project in innovative ways
  • Proven organisational skills.

How to apply

To apply, go to the Apply tab on the Computer Science PhD course page.

Please submit your CV (preferably no longer than 2 pages), 2 letters of recommendation or the contact information of 2 referees, copies of degree certificates and transcripts from all university-level courses taken.

Please also upload a cover letter, explaining your interests, computer-science and research experience (including examples of previous project work).

Closing date

The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

Interviews

Interviews will be conducted either in person at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) or via Skype.

Please note that we can only guarantee to contact the shortlisted candidates.

PhD Computer Science

Contact details

Ioana Boureanu
09 BB 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683425
E-mail: i.boureanu@surrey.ac.uk

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