Today, much of our personal freedom and the power to guarantee and maintain a free society depends on cryptographic primitives (e.g., digital signatures and encryption) incorporated in the security protocols of today's Internet used for securing many daily tasks such as messaging, online banking or sending e-mails. While anticipated regulations like the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) promote the usage of cryptography to protect sensitive data, revelations about activities of governmental agencies have revealed worryingly information. Examples include subverting cryptographic software products, subverting certification authorities, backdooring cryptographic schemes, or influencing and weakening cryptographic standardization processes. Besides providing governmental institutions means to spy on citizens, such practices are highly vulnerable to also be exploited by non-governmental attackers.
Many of the public-key cryptographic schemes used to secure today's Internet were not designed with the functionality and the security requirements in mind that come along with tomorrow's envisioned use-cases on the Internet. This requires novel and typically more advanced cryptographic schemes that consider aspects that were not known or of interest in the early days of the Internet. Cryptography for a future-proof Internet needs to consider a potentially huge number of devices to which data is communicated simultaneously and shared selectively and needs to be flexible enough to work on both ends of the spectrum, i.e., resource constrained IoT devices as well as cloud-powered services. What is more, new security aspects such as readiness for a post-quantum era as well as the increasing importance of cryptographic schemes which are resilient against threats due to subversion as well as surveillance (as mentioned before) are of high relevance.
PROFET targets at designing public-key cryptography capable to secure tomorrow's Internet which will encompass paradigms such as cloud computing, the IoT and distributed ledgers as essential ingredients. We thereby want to specifically put our focus on two highly important issues for the future: (1) designing security models and cryptographic schemes that are surveillance and subversion resilient by design, e.g., provide strong notions such as forward security and post-compromise security, and (2) designing cryptographic schemes that remain secure in the presence of powerful quantum computers, i.e., schemes that provide post-quantum security. We will one the one hand work on foundational aspects, but also investigate the application of our techniques to certain problems encountered in the IoT and cloud application scenarios.
More information about the project can be found at: https://profet.at/