[PET] PhD position - Project on Mix-nets

Claudia Diaz claudia.diaz at esat.kuleuven.be
Tue Jun 9 17:53:35 BST 2015

Dear all,

We have a PhD position open within a project focused on developing an anonymous communication infrastructure for mid-latency, message based communications.

I am looking for a PhD student to work on this project, ideally from September 2015.

We also have funding for a post-doc position on this topic.

Please distribute to know any potentially interested candidates you might know of.

Thanks and best regards


Project Description

PANORAMIX is an EU H2020 project that aims to develop a multipurpose infrastructure for privacy-preserving communications based on "mix-networks" (mix-nets) and its integration into high-value applications. Mix-nets protect not only the content of communications from third parties, but also obscure the identity of the senders or receivers of messages, through the use of cryptographic relays. Mix-nets are necessary for implementing strong privacy-preserving systems and protocols. PANORAMIX aims to realize, integrate and demonstrate the use of an infrastructure for mix-nets in the context of three high-value applications. The objectives are: (1) Building a Mix-Net Infrastructure, creating a mix-network open-source codebase; (2) use this infrastructure to implement private electronic voting, where anonymity is necessary to guarantee ballot secrecy, and verifiability is needed for holding fair, transparent and trustworthy elections; (3) apply the infrastructure to privacy- aware cloud data-handling, in the context of privacy-friendly surveys, statistics and big data gathering protocols, where protecting the identity of the surveyed users is necessary to elicit truthful answers and incentivize participation; and (4) apply the infrastructure to privacy-preserving messaging, where two or more users may communicate privately without third parties being able to track what is said or who-is-talking-to-whom.

The project consortium includes leading academic and industry partners, including KU Leuven, University College London, University of Athens, University of Tartu, and SAP.

Research Topic

Modelling, design, analysis, and implementation of anonymous communication systems. The first task of the student will be to identify the feature set, security and performance tradeoffs in mix-nets. Secondly, the student will investigate methods to efficiently and securely anonymize mid-latency, bidirectional message-based communications. This involves analysing the robustness of mix-net designs towards a variety of adversary models and attacks, and proposing secure designs and configurations. Further, the student will investigate how differential privacy definitions and mechanisms can be adapted to the context of mix-nets.  The student will also contribute to the implementation of the developed methods in a mix-net infrastructure, as well as to the implementation of a privacy-enhanced messaging application that runs on this infrastructure.

Profile and Skills Required

The candidates should hold a master degree in Mathematics, Engineering, or Computer Science have good grades and have a keen interest in computer security and privacy. Fluency in English is an absolute must. Preferably to have passed courses in Cryptography and/or Computer Security.  The applicant should be a team player with the capability to work in an international research team. The candidate should be prepared to deliver high quality research results, attend project meetings with industry partners abroad, work according to tight deadlines and write project deliverables.

To apply, please send following documents (in pdf) to jobs-cosic at esat.kuleuven.be.

• Curriculum Vitae
• Motivation letter
• List of publications
• Relevant research experience
• Study curriculum with rankings
• English proficiency
• Pdf of diploma and transcripts (translation if the original is not in Dutch, English, French or German)
• 1 page research proposal describing which research questions you would like to work on
• Names (and e-mail) of 2 reference persons and the nature of contact with them

Contact: Claudia.Diaz at esat.kuleuven.be
Webpage group: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/cosic/
Application page: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/cosic/?page_id=401
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