At CRC, we focus on developing cryptographic schemes to protect data, systems and network communications against the threat of quantum computers.
Public-key cryptography based on RSA or ECC will be insecure the day that a sufficiently powerful quantum computer is built and is able to run Shor’s and Grover’s algorithms. For this reason, post-quantum cryptography (PQC) has emerged as a practical solution to make communications and systems quantum-resistant.
We are developing PQC libraries to protect today’s data against tomorrow’s quantum attacks, and we also are exploring implementations that incorporate both classical and post-quantum implementations to ensure existing classical cryptography provides continuity of information security in the present, while post-quantum schemes provide inbuilt protection against the emergence of quantum algorithms.
Our work is open and conducted in collaboration with academic partners, with the goal of designing and implementing robust and tested post-quantum cryptosystems, in both software and hardware implementations.
Embedded systems, including Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), are proliferating across multiple domains. These include mission-critical systems, such as nuclear power plants, smart cities and smart healthcare.
However, there are widespread cyber-security vulnerabilities in the design and implementation of IoT and CPS devices. This is coupled with an absence of standard cryptographic primitives and network protocols for these systems.
That’s why lightweight cryptography has become a pivotal research area, focused on designing and securely implementing cryptographic primitives suitable for all sorts of IoT and CPS scenarios.
Our collaborative work is designing and implementing robust and tested lightweight cryptosystems for software and hardware.
Cloud computing has undergone significant growth in the last decade, offering myriad applications. This growth has raised privacy and confidentiality challenges, even in environments where the connection between users and cloud providers is secure. However, traditional cryptography is not suited for security preservation in cloud environments, especially in untrusted cloud domains.
At CRC, we are working on novel privacy enhancing and secure computing solutions based on secure multi-party computation (MPC), fully-homomorphic encryption (FHE), verifiable computation (VC) and other advanced cryptographic constructions. MPC, FHE and VC are next-generation algorithms for privacy-preserving cloud computing and secure data processing.
MPC leverages interaction and decentralisation in order to perform private, secure computation among multiple parties, while FHE enables secure computation over encrypted data with reduced interaction. VC, on the other hand, proves correctness of outsourced computations, potentially maintaining privacy when combined with techniques such as Zero-Knowledge proofs.
Our work covers the application of MPC, FHE and VC in several fields under the cloud computing paradigm, such as federated learning and privacy-preserving authentication, among others.
Cryptographic protocols have evolved significantly, adapting to the needs of recently developed applications. They provide several security properties at once, and end up being complex compositions of cryptographic primitives and schemes. The detailed study of such protocols is of utmost importance, given that some are deployed on a large, even global, scale.
At CRC, we focus on multiple areas of cryptographic protocols, from foundational primitives to the design, analysis, implementation and testing of robust, security-proof cryptographic protocols.
In addition, some of today’s most-used protocols are not quantum-resistant. As a consequence, hybrid protocols that combine PQC and traditional RSA or ECC have emerged as a practical solution.
In cryptography, it is important not only to design secure systems, but also to implement, integrate and deploy them in a secure and modular way.
A secure implementation of cryptographic libraries in both software and hardware is pivotal, as they need to comply with performance requirements without jeopardising security properties.
More recently, software-hardware co-designs have come into play and offer valuable trade-offs for engineers. All these constructions need to be thoroughly tested in multiple scenarios, including a wide variety of side-channel attacks and fault injections.
Collaboration is at the heart of our innovation. Bringing different ideas, perspectives and resources together is how we keep ahead of the world’s evolving cyber threats.
Cryptanalysis focuses on analysing cryptographic constructions to identify weaknesses in design and implementation that can be exploited to derive keys or plaintexts. Cryptanalysis also paves the way for the development of criteria for the security evaluation of cryptographic primitives.
At CRC, we conduct research in both major cryptanalytic domains:
- Theoretical cryptanalysis attacks
- Cryptanalytic attacks against cryptographic implementations in software and hardware
Our goal is to design and implement new and modular cryptanalytic frameworks, in both software and hardware implementations. We are building a comprehensive cryptanalysis library aimed at gathering different cryptanalysis techniques and tools under a common framework.