Research Interests

Please find below a list of my research interests. Please expand the topic headings by click to learn more about my interests.

 

Many digital systems have strong and critical demand for advanced security services that need to be seamlessly integrated over several levels of abstraction in hardware and software.

Needless to say that with increasing complexity of the overall system this becomes a major challenge for the designer. In this context, security engineering is the process to create of security primitives with well-defined security guarantees that are combined into complex security architectures to satisfy the given security requirements. Providing the support for security primitives, security architectures as well as their integration into the functional development process of complex systems is one of my a primary research interests.

Modern security systems have a strong need for highly efficient but cheap implementations of cryptographic algorithms as, for example, high speed networks or car-to-car communication. In particular, asymmetric crypto systems have a high computational complexity so that it is in fact a challenge to provide efficient implementations involving such cryptography at lowest costs.

In addition to thtat modern cryptography also needs to face the threat of arising cryptanalysis platforms such as quantum computers. Although it is not clear if and when quantum computers that are powerful enough to tackle cryptanalytic problems will enter a scene, it is still essential for cryptographers to be prepared for the worst case. Therefore a major part of my research therefore focuses on novel post-quantum-secure cryptosystem that are capable to provide security even in the long term over a period of several decades.

 

Since the late 1990s it is publically known that it is not sufficient for algorithms to be just only mathematically secure. It is often fairly easy to recover cryptographic secrets by means of so-called physical attacks on the respective implementation of a cryptographic instance. For example, measuring the power consumption or injecting computations errors during the runtime of cryptographic operation is a typical option for an attacker to easily reveal secrets within seconds if no countermeasures against such attacks are presents.

My research interest in this context covers both theory and experimental realizations of implementation attacks, including passive side channel and active fault injection attacks. Certainly, a major share of my work also focuses on countermeasures to eliminate such attacks without increasing the cost for the cryptographic operation significantly.

For fundamental security a security system typically requires at least one trust anchor in hardware. This includes in particular the technology to secretly embed secret parameters but also to handle other critical cryptographic properties such as chip identification (e.g., by Physically Unclonable Functions) or cryptographically secure random number generation. 

Part of my research is to construct and develop cheap and secure constructions for such cryptographic hardware. 

 

Modern cryptographic algorithms are designed that they cannot be broken by contemporary off-the-shelf computers. However, special-purpose machines that are specifically tailored to break cryptographic system might have a significantly better chance to successful attack a corresponding security system. Part of my research is to identify possible architectures and design cryptanalytic implementations to precisely assess the feasibility and duration of attacks under optimal conditions.

In this context, I co-developed the COPACOBANA (Cost-Optimized Parallel Code Breaker) cluster platform, a cost-efficient platform to efficiently conduct a large variety of different cryptanalytic applications. This machine and its successor RIVYERA is now distributed by our spin-off company Sciengines GmbH.