Dachman-Soled Receives NSF CAREER Award to Study Cryptographic Attacks

Thu Mar 12, 2015

Dana Dachman-Soled, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering with appointments in UMIACS and the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2), was just named a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award.

The CAREER award is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty. It recognizes individuals that exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through their outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of their organization’s mission.

Dachman-Soled’s project, “Non-Black-Box Cryptography: Defending Against and Benefiting from Access to Code,” will use research funding from the award—$495,000 over the course of five years—to study ways to defend against non-black-box attacks, a class of cryptographic attacks that can be particularly damaging. Non-black-box attacks, also known as side-channel attacks, have been shown to be remarkably effective in breaking various implementations of encryption schemes and authentication protocols. Threat models for side-channel attacks and techniques for designing provably secure cryptosystems in these models have been limited thus far, something Dachman-Soled’s work is intended to address.

Dachman-Soled’s work will also investigate whether non-black-box techniques can be used to construct secure cryptosystems by explicitly making use of the code of an underlying cryptographic implementation, instead of using it only as a “black-box” subroutine. Her work will help characterize settings in which such non-black-box techniques are effective or ineffective

“Dana has been a great asset to the center since she joined a year-and-a-half ago,” says Jonathan Katz, director of MC2. “I am glad to see her outstanding work being recognized by NSF in this way.”

Dachman-Soled is the 21st member of UMIACS to receive the NSF CAREER award.

Read more about Dachman-Soled's project here.