List of supervisors, schedule and projects
Contact details of the supervisors and schedule
Supervised by Ehsan Ebrahimi
(This project was added after the kick-off meeting. It is availale for taking.)
The project is based on the paper by Christian Badertscher, Ueli Maurer, Daniel Tschudi, and Vassilis Zikas "Bitcoin as a Transaction Ledger: A Composable Treatment?" https://eprint.iacr.org/2017/149.pdf
The student's task is to read, understand, write a summary and present the paper.
PhD or MSc level
Assigned to Mart Simisker
Supervised by Benson Muite
- Open source voting applications
There are a number of open source voting applications including:
Examine some of these applications. Do they allow for anonymous voting, if so how good are the implementations? How might they be improved?
BSc or MSc level
- Secure communication
Design and build a secure and simple encrypted chat, voice or messaging system. Be sure to explain choice of protocols used, their software and hardware implementations. You may build on existing projects, but the final result should be as simple as possible.
BSc or MSc level
- Sparse fast Fourier transform
Perform a survey of algorithms for the sparse fast Fourier transform. Explain the main concepts. Possibly implement the sparse fast Fourier transform or use an implementation of the sparse fast Fourier transform in the creation of jpeg like files.
MSc or PhD level
- Meltdown and Spectre
Review the papers on Meltdown and Spectre. Try to reproduce the vulnerability on a modern CPU. Determine whether this impacts the Estonian ID card system.
Level: BSc, MSc, PhD
Supervised by Arnis Parsovs
- Reproducing iOS Vote Verification Application Builds for Estonian I-Voting System
The Estonian I-voting System provides vote verification feature which can be used by the voter to check if the vote has reached the election servers as intended. The vote can be verified using vote verification application which is provided for Android and iOS mobile operating systems. The Estonian National Electoral Committee has published the source code of the vote verification application in a GitHub repository. The purpose of this project is to verify whether the vote verification application binary distributed in the iOS app store in the election period was compiled from the source code published in GitHub. The task involves reproducing build environment until the build process produces binary package that matches the package distributed in the app store. The report should describe the reproduction process and provide the recommendations for making the build process more reporoducible-friendly.
GitHub repository: https://github.com/vvk-ehk/
PhD, MSc or BSc level
Supervised by Vitaly Skachek
- Security for 4G and 5G Cellular Networks
This project is based on the following paper and the references therein:
 Mohamed Amine Ferrag, Leandros Maglaras, Antonios Argyriou, Dimitrios Kosmanos, and Helge Janicke, "Security for 4G and 5G Cellular Networks: A Survey of Existing Authentication and Privacy-preserving Schemes", https://arxiv.org/pdf/1708.04027.pdf
The student will perform a comprehensive survey of existing authentication and privacy-preserving schemes for 4G and 5G cellular networks, and their countermeasures. A classification of threat models in 4G and 5G cellular networks consists of four categories, including, attacks against privacy, attacks against integrity, attacks against availability, and attacks against authentication. Possible countermeasures can be divided into three types of categories, including, cryptography methods, humans factors, and intrusion detection methods. The countermeasures and informal and formal security analysis techniques used by the authentication and privacy preserving schemes will be summarized and presented.
BSc or MSc level
Assigned to Shahla Atapoor
- Using Blockchain Technology in Distributed Storage Systems
It is proposed to use blockchain technology in order to manage future distrbuted storage systems. In systems like the one developed by Storj, millions of users offer their disk space for storing someone's else data in exchange for small royalties. The data is divided into pieces and encrypted, and each piece is stored in a different user's computer. The management of the data is done via blockchain.
In this project, the student will survey existing approaches to blockchain-based distributed storage systems, and discuss their pros and cons.
BSc, MSc or PhD level
Assigned to Bruno Didier Produit
- Private information retrieval with side information
The problem of Private Information Retrieval (PIR) in the presence of prior side information is studied. The problem setup includes a database of K independent messages possibly replicated on several servers, and a user that needs to retrieve one of these messages. In addition, the user has some prior side information in the form of a subset of M messages, not containing the desired message and unknown to the servers. The objective of the user is to retrieve the required message without revealing its identity while minimizing the amount of data downloaded from the servers.
The goal of the project is to read and understand the paper, to summarize it and to present in the class.
MSc or PhD level
Assigned to Sander Mikelsaar
Supervised by Ahto Truu (Guardtime)
- Comparison of gossip mechanisms for blockchains/authenticated data structures
Blockchains and authenticated data structure based servers can be augmented with gossip protocols when the parties don't trust each other and/or publication of checkpoints is deemed too cumbersome. The goal of this research effort is to compare various existing gossip protocols with respect to performance, suitable use cases, security, maturity of existing libraries, etc.
References to authenticated data structures:
References to gossip protocols:
- IPFS publish/subscribe mechanism - https://ipfs.io/blog/25-pubsub/
- Kademlia based DHT - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.76.8338&rep=rep1&type=pdf
- Other DHT based mechanisms like Pastry, Chord, etc - https://pdos.csail.mit.edu/~strib/presentations/pvc-infocom05.pdf
- libp2p gossip - https://github.com/dfinity/js-libp2p-gossip-discovery
- Tendermint's gossip based on PEX, libp2p - https://github.com/tendermint/tendermint/issues/988
Approximately MSc level
- Comparison of Swirlds' hashgraph and IoTA's tangle to existing blockchains
Swirlds' hashgraph and IoTA's tangle are being touted as the replacements for existing blockchains. Goal of this research is to compare them to existing blockchain/consensus mechanisms with respect to performance, security, shortcomings, etc.
Approximately MSc level
Assigned to Janno Siim
Supervised by Dominique Unruh
- Verification of crypto with EasyCrypt
Cryptographic proofs are typically very error prone. Humans make mistakes that are hard to notice. To avoid this, machine-verified proofs can be used. EasyCrypt is a popular tool for formulating such proofs. The task of the seminar is to give an introduction to EasyCrypt (with own examples) to the class, and to create a report explaining EasyCrypt.
Required background: Crypto I or comparable
- Formal proofs in Isabelle/HOL
If we want to make sure that mathematical proofs are correct, you can use a proof assistant such as Isabelle/HOL. This software allows us to write a mathematical proof such that the computer understands it, and to check their correctness. The task is to understand the basic principles of Isabelle/HOL, and to explain them to the class, based on your own example proof. (And a report, of course.)
You should not take this topic if you took a lecture on Isabelle/HOL! (E.g., Vesal Vojdani’s)
Assigned to Sara Chiers
- Verification of crypto with Isabelle/HOL
Cryptographic proofs are typically very error prone. Humans make mistakes that are hard to notice. To avoid this, machine-verified proofs can be used. A general purpose proof assistant like Isabelle/HOL can be used for this (this gives more trustworthy proofs than, e.g., EasyCrypt). This is facilitated by a framework such as CryptHOL. The task is to explain an example proof in CryptHOL (not necessarily your own because CryptHOL is a bit more tricky).
Required background: Some course on Isabelle/HOL (or experience with). Crypto I or comparable.
- Survey of quantum algorithms
Give a survey of the state of the art in quantum algorithms. For which problems are there algorithms that beat what classical computers can do? (This is to a large part literature search.)
Required background: Something with quantum computing / quantum crypto
- NIST quantum competition - the candidates
Give an overview over the submissions to the NIST competition for post-quantum secure cryptosystems. This competition is going to select future standards for cryptosystems that are supposed to withstand quantum attacks. (This is to a large part consolidation of different articles etc.)
Required background: Crypto I
Supervised by Michal Zajac
- Fruitchain or how to reduce variations of prizes in Bitcoin
One way to get bitcoins is mining them, by confirming blocks to blockchain. Since mining bitcoins is a huge business now, expected time needed to mine a single bitcoin is very long. This comes since the expected time is inversely proportional to the party’s share of the total computational power in the whole blockchain. On the other hand, the prize is also considerable. The mining has big variation then – a long time with no reward at all, and a big reward in the end. This makes people join mines, where the computational power is put together and all prizes shared. The problem with such mines is that there are very few of them and their agenda is unknown – if some mines decide to collude and break the security of Bitcoin, it is possible. To discourage people from joining such facilities, Pass and Shi proposed an alternative to the standard Bitcoin blockchain, called fruitchain, which allows people to mine many block at the same time. The prize for confirming a block is smaller, yet the probability of getting it is bigger, exactly as in a mine.
The task for the student is to read, understand and present an article "FruitChains: a Fair Blockchain," Rafael Pass, Elaine Shi, https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/916.pdf
Assigned to Kyrylo Voronchenko
- Lightning or how to pay quickly with Bitcoin
Except from being a speculation bubble, the main problem with Bitcoin is its inefficiency and (lack of) scalability. A very limited number of transactions that can be confirmed in each Bitcoin blockchain block and a small rate of block production (one block in every 10 minutes) constrain Bitcoin usability for small and quick transactions, like everyday shopping.
For the rescue comes Lightning. Lightning network allows to make Bitcoin transactions cheaper and quicker. It relies on virtual channels, an off-blockchain connection between two parties which uses blockchain only in case of a disagreement between them. What makes lightning special is fact that the channels can be combined. That is, given channels between parties A and B and between B and C, we can easily build a channel connecting A and C.
The task for the student is to read, understand and present an article "The Bitcoin Lightning Network: Scalable Off-Chain Instant Payments," Joseph Poon, Thomas Dryja, https://lightning.network/lightning-network-paper.pdf
See: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/bitcoins-lightning-network-adeep-dive/ for more informal explanation.
Assigned to Karim Baghery
- Secure multi-party computation with PoW
Many multi-party protocols’ security is often proven assumed: (1) broadcast channel that is a possibility for a party to send a message to all other parties such that all parties agree on the message’s content; (2) honest majority most of the parties behaves correctly and accordingly to the executed protocol. It turns out, both of these assumptions can be fulfilled using primitive known as Proof-of-Work (PoW). To explain PoW in practice, look at the Bitcoin, which security relies on it. To add a block to the blockchain one has to show that some work has been done related to the block. For example, one has to show it solved some cryptographic puzzles. Cryptographic puzzles require a lot of work (computational power use) to solve, thus presenting a solution for them gives the desired proof. A PoW-based blockchain is secure under assumption that most of the computational power of the parties participating in it is honest. The assumption assures that, statistically, majority of block will be added to the blockchain by honest parties.
The task for the student is to read, understand and present an article "Distributed Cryptography Based on the Proofs of Work," Marcin Andrychowicz, Stefan Dziembowski, https://eprint.iacr.org/2014/796.pdf
Projects of Michal Zajac in one file: michal_projects_s18.pdf
Supervised by Michal Zajac and Vitaly Skachek
- Redactable Blockchain
In the case when blockchain contains incorrect or outdated entries, it might be desirable that a trusted entity could modify the entries in the blockchain. Recently, a novel framework was proposed that allows for changing or compressing the data in the blockchain. The proposed approach uses so-called Chameleon Hash functions (Krawczyk and Rabin, ’00), which allow determining hash collisions efficiently, given a secret trapdoor information. A chameleon hash function can be integrated into a blockchain-based technology, for both cases where the power of redacting the blockchain content is in the hands of a single trusted entity and where such a capability is distributed among several distrustful parties.
 Giuseppe Ateniese, Bernardo Magri, Daniele Venturi, and Ewerton Andrade, "Redactable Blockchain or Rewriting History in Bitcoin and Friends," https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/757.pdf
 Hugo Krawczyk and Tal Rabin, "Chameleon signatures," NDSS, 2000
MSc or PhD level
Assigned to Artem Fliunt