Krzysztof Pietrzak from CWI was awarded an ERC Starting Grant of € 1.1 million from the European Research Council for his proposal ‘Provable Security for Physical Cryptography’. In this project he will develop methods to design cryptographic schemes which are ‘provably secure against all types of physical attacks, such as side-channel attacks, where an adversary exploits information leakage from the physical implementation of a cryptosystem, eg by measuring the power-consumption of a smart-card. Even modern security notions do not take physical attacks into account, and as a consequence many ‘provably secure’ schemes get broken once an adversary can attack their physical implementation. In the future the ‘leakage-resilient’ schemes developed in this project can be used on lightweight cryptosystems, such as smart cards, RFID tokens or mobile phones, which are particularly susceptible to physical attacks. The grant, which started November 2010 and runs for five years, pays for two postdoc positions and two PhD students.

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