Projects & Funding Sources

Upcoming Projects

ERC Starting Grant Privacy-preserving Services On The Internet (PSOTI)

European Research Council, 2020-2025

ERC Starting Grants with funding of up to €1.5 over five years are awarded to researchers with two to seven years of experience since completion of the PhD and a scientific track record showing great promise.

Users of Internet services currently have to entrust the respective service provider with their data. However, attackers or secret services can obtain access to that data by using vulnerabilities or backdoors in hard- or software. Moreover, authorities can force the service provider to give out data. The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now mandates that companies take appropriate measures to protect user data.

The ERC Starting Grant „PSOTI“ (Privacy-preserving Services On The Internet) will eliminate the need to trust a single service provider in Internet Services and empower users to keep full control over their data. For this, the user can choose from multiple service providers who jointly process the data, without gaining direct access to the contents. The data will be protected, as long as at least one provider is trustworthy.

The main goal of PSOTI is to develop privacy-preserving services for commonly used applications on the Internet like data storage, online surveys, and email. These services will provide extensive functionalities and will allow to securely and efficiently store, retrieve, search, and process data. This will allow to comply with the GDPR and preserve the fundamental rights to privacy and the protection of personal data.

A practical system for secure multi-party computations will be developed which can also be used for the secure processing of other sensitive data such as in the areas of genomics or machine learning. Also protocols for private search queries will be built that even hide the structure of the query and that can be used in multiple application scenarios.

Running Projects

Collaborative Research Center: Cryptography-Based Security Solutions (CROSSING)

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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), 2014-2022

Collaborative Research Centers (Sonderforschungsbereiche) are institutions funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and are established at universities to pursue a scientifically ambitious, complex, long-term research program. The goal of the center CROSSING – Cryptography-Based Security Solutions: Enabling Trust in New and Next Generation Computing Environments is to provide cryptography-based security solutions enabling trust in new and next generation computing environments. The solutions will meet the efficiency and security requirements of the new environments and will have sound implementations. They will be easy to use for developers, administrators, and end users of IT, even if they are not cryptography experts. In CROSSING researchers from different areas such as cryptography, IT security, computing hardware, quantum physics, and software engineering will collaborate. In the first funding phase of CROSSING, our group was involved in project S5 (Privacy-Preserving Computation) and project E4 (Compiler for Privacy-Preserving Protocols). In the second funding phase, both projects were merged into project E4 (Compiler for Privacy-Preserving Protocols).

 

Research Training Group: Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users

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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), since 2019

The Doctoral College “Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users” is a Research Training Group (RTG) funded by the German National Science Foundation (DFG). It is a highly interdisciplinary collaboration between Computer Science and the fields of Law, Economics, Sociology, and usability research. Mobile information and communication technology has become virtually ubiquitous due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablet computers; large sections of the society use it to their advantage. In reference to the relationship users-network, public debates highlight the increasing transparency of users (in the sense of a surveillance society) while the network is deemed to become increasingly nontransparent, i.e. inscrutable. The RTG focuses on major contributions to reversing this trend: It shall enable better privacy protection for users and better transparency, i.e., assessability of the network; Privacy protection shall be customizable to personal interests yet manageable by the lay person; Privacy-opposing economic or societal interests shall be better reconciled. The ENCRYPTO group is involved in research area A (Privacy and Trust in Service Networks).

 

National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity CRISP

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Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) & State of Hesse, since 2015

The former IT security centers EC SPRIDE and CASED funded by the German Federal Government and the Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst (HMWK) respectively have been united to bundle their strengths in the “National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity CRISP”. Under the core topic “Security at Large” its research activities focus on the study of security for large systems, starting with their individual components up to their interaction within comprehensive security solutions. The ENCRYPTO group is involved in the following subprojects:

  • Practical Private Set Intersection for Data Protection (01.01.2019 – 31.12.2022, as part of the mission Future Data Economy and Society (FANCY): Co-Development of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies and Data-Driven Business Models): we will improve the practicality of private set intersection (PSI) protocols that allow to match (and further process) sensitive data collections in a provably secure way without unjustifiably compromising the privacy of the associated individuals; the PI is Prof. Thomas Schneider.
  • IP3 – Protection Mechanisms for Big Data and Complex Private Functions (01.06.2017 – 31.05.2020): we will develop protection mechanisms for big data and complex private functions based on cryptographic protocols for secure computation as well as hardware measures in the form of Trusted Execution Environments such as Intel SGX; the PIs are Prof. Thomas Schneider, Prof. Stefan Katzenbeisser, and Prof. Patrick Eugster
  • IP1 – Scalable Privacy-Preserving Protocols (01.10.2015 – 31.3.2018): we developed innovative methods that guarantee the protection of privacy, can be integrated into applications, and scale even for large amounts of data; the PIs are Prof. Thomas Schneider and Prof. Kay Hamacher.
 

Intel Early Career Faculty Honor Program Award

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Intel, since 2012

The Intel Early Career Faculty Honor Program was created to promote the careers of the best and brightest early career faculty members at the top universities around the world. Awardees are selected through a competitive and rigorous application process and they receive recognition as well as a cash award to help fund their research and sponsor travel to Intel to collaborate with Intel researchers. The Early Career Faculty Honor Program is an annual award that is currently open to select universities in the U.S., Europe, China, and Taiwan.

Finished Projects

Privacy-Preserving Computation In The Cloud (PRACTICE)

Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt (CASED)

European Center for Security and Privacy by Design (EC SPRIDE)