Closing date: 10 July 2021
The field of distributed ledgers and blockchains is a vast and quickly developing landscape. The use of blockchains spans from financial services to medical and other sensitive areas. While some protocols and applications are specifically designed to preserve the privacy of their users (e.g., Monero or Zcash), others do not or only inadequately address this problem despite the sensitivity of the data processed. Previous research has shown that attacks to de-anonymize and identify users on such platforms are possible and employed in practice. The pseudonymous nature of some systems often leaves users with a false sense of privacy, further exacerbating the risks. Moreover, with new projects being released every week, interoperability of blockchains, services, and applications has become a major concern. The interfacing of different technologies, however, brings additional, unexplored privacy threats.
This project aims at analysing, quantifying, and mitigating such privacy risks in distributed ledgers and applications using or connecting such ledgers. This includes the discovery and analysis of new privacy threats and attacks through measurements and simulations. The risks will then be quantified using established privacy metrics. Finally, such risks will be thoroughly mitigated – either through the development of add-on privacy solutions or modifications of the original systems. Due to the strong utility requirements of blockchain systems, such privacy-enhancing techniques will be mostly based on applied cryptography.
Essential Knowledge and Experience
Desirable Knowledge and Experience
Applicants should have a very good BSc (Honours) (First or Upper Second class) degree or a Master degree (with Distinction or Merit) in Computing Science or a related discipline. We also consider applicants from diverse backgrounds that has provided them with equally rich relevant experience and knowledge. Full-time and part-time study modes are available. If your first language is not English and you have not studied in an English-speaking country, you will have to provide an English language qualification. We want our PhD student cohorts to reflect our diverse society. UoB is therefore committed to widening the diversity of our PhD student cohorts. UoB studentships are open to all and we particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups, including, but not limited to BAME, disabled and neuro-diverse candidates. We also welcome applications for part-time study.
Call for Events is now open! We're supporting Members and Expert Fellows to lead activities that explore aspects of TIPS in the Digital Economy. We will help to organise the activity with up to £5,000 to cover the associated costs.