Postgraduate research project

Novel side channels across boundaries: attacks and defences

Fully funded (UK only)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Side channels have been a major topic in cybersecurity, with growing interests in both academia and industry. This project aims to discover novel side-channels and investigate their countermeasures.

In a side channel, sensitive information leaks accidentally via some medium or mechanism that was not designed or intended for communication. Exploiting a side channel, an adversary can compromise completely the security of a cryptographic scheme (which would otherwise be secure), or even an entire computer system.  

You will be working alongside Professor Jeff Yan and Dr Ahmad Atamli in the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and Dr Aaron Zhao (Imperial College). 

Depending on technical backgrounds and research interests, you may work on either cryptographical side-channels or non-cryptographical ones, with a focus on one or several of the following strands:

  • Physical side-channels (e.g. acoustic, optical or EM ones) that cross the boundary between the physical and the digital
  • Software and hardware side-channels that will break Deep Learning models
  • Side-channels between virtual machines and trusted hardware

You will build on our award-winning research. In either strand, you will find machine learning may help detect complex pattern of attacks that may result in information exposure or performance reduction.

You will have opportunities for working with our collaborators in academia and industry, including Cambridge, Imperial, Microsoft, Nvidia, ARM, and Google DeepMind.

This project is funded by the Centre for Doctoral Training in Complex Integrated Systems for Defence & Security (CISDnS). They are recruiting candidates interested in digital, physical, and biological systems to create a diverse and interconnected training environment. 

Besides training with a world-leading research group, a CISDnS membership will give you the skills and knowledge to handle real-world interdisciplinary challenges through a Systems Thinking approach.