Ongoing projects

EquiVox: Secure, Quantum-Safe, Practical Voting Technologies, FNR CORE

April 1, 2020 - April 1, 2023

Digital information and communication technologies, entrenched in the fabric of modern society, enrich and facilitate our lives. Used carefully, the very same tools can also serve to enrich and protect core mechanisms, such as elections, that are fundamental to the functioning of democratic societies. In effect, elections form the foundations of democracy and as such, ensuring their security is of the utmost importance. One of the major security challenges that ought to be dealt with is the threat posed by the emergence of quantum computers. Despite a considerable number of well-designed secure electronic voting schemes proposed over the past few decades, almost all existing schemes depend on cryptography which will be broken by quantum algorithms. Therefore, the goal of this project is to develop and prototype practical e-voting schemes that are secure against attackers capable of performing arbitrary quantum computations.

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Peter Roenne, Johannes Mueller, Georgios Fotiadis

FP2: Future-Proofing Privacy in Secure Electronic Voting, FNR CORE Junior

January 2020 - December 2023

Electronic voting is a reality. Systems for electronic voting, short e-voting systems, are now widely used both for national, state-wide, and municipal elections all over the world with several hundred million voters so far. At the same time, the security of e-voting systems is increasingly challenged: bad cyber actors, ranging from nation states, cyber criminals and hacktivists, pose massive threats for e-voting systems.
Our project "FP2: Future-Proofing Privacy in Secure Electronic Voting" aims to provide solutions for protecting voters' privacy against future quantum attackers or even more powerful ones. The motivation of our project is to not wait until such attackers have become a reality: we anticipate their development and act now. Therefore, our solutions aim to be highly practical so that they can be used for securing today's elections. Altogether, our results have the potential to make elections all over the world more secure.

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Johannes Mueller

FutureTPM: Future Proofing the Connected World: A Quantum-Resistant Trusted Platform Module

Start: 2016

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

Q-CoDe: Quantum Communication with Deniability

July 1st 2018 - June 30th 2021

Project number: 11689058

The goal of this project is to conduct a thorough formal analysis of the promising, but poorly understood field of deniable quantum communication. It will entail a systematic analysis and classification of the quantum primitives that are relevant for deniability, and further give precise definitions of deniability and related concepts in quantum protocols. The results will be both in the form of impossibility, as well as feasibility theorems with corresponding protocols. This will be both in the form of modifying existing QKD protocols to restore deniability, as well as devising new quantum protocols that provide deniability for key exchange and beyond, e.g. for e-voting.

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Arash Atashpendar, Dimiter Ostrev, Peter Roenne, Jeroen van Wier

SeVoTe: Secure Voting Technologies

Project number: 11106658

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Peter Roenne, Marie-Laure Zollinger

SURVCS: Secure, Usable and Robust Cryptographic Voting Systems, FNR INTER-CORE

August 1st 2018 - July 31st 2022

Project number: 11747298

This project will investigate the security of voting systems and increase our assurance in state-of-the-art voting systems. The focus will be on three specific areas which are critical in progressing towards adoption of modern voting systems to the benefit of society. (1) User confidence: voting systems must be designed so that voters believe in their security and integrity. (2) Security proofs: to provide a mathematical security proofs for the typically complex voting systems. (3) Long-term security: protect electronic records to remain secure into the future, specifically also against quantum computers.

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Peter Roenne, Johannes Mueller

Completed projects

aToMS: A Theory of Matching Sessions

May 1, 2015 - April 30, 2018

Project number: 8293135

The AToMS project studies the security of key exchange protocols in the presence of an active adversary. The project is broad in scope and includes work in several different directions. One area of the project involves studying security models and definitions for key exchange in the presence of an active attacker, and comparing different models. Another area involves studying the challenges that arise when honest users have only a low-entropy secret like a password at their disposal. A third area involves studying authentication in the context of quantum key distribution.

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Jean Lancrenon, Jose Becerra, Dimiter Ostrev, Marjan Skrobot

BRAIDS: Boosting Security and Efficiency in Recommended Systems

Start: 2013

In this project, we aim at solving the utility-privacy dilemma, namely we want to protect users’ privacy to the maximal extent while still enabling them to receive accurate recommendations. We investigate the realistic privacy notions for recommender systems, and invent privacy-enhancing technologies that allow recommendations to be generated in a secure manner (e.g. generated on encrypted data by exploiting the state-of-the-art homomorphic encryption schemes). To achieve practical efficiency, we pay special attention to the adaptation of existing recommender algorithms, in an attempt to make them privacy or crypto friendly.

Involved researchers: Q. Tang

CRYPTOCHESS: Cryptography for Cloud Homomorphic Encrypted Secure Systems

Start: 2014

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

Crystal Security: Generating unclonable patterns to fight counterfeiting


DAPRECO: DAta Protection REgulation COmpliance

Start: 2016

Involved researchers: Gabriele Lenzini

ESA LASP – Localisation Assurance Service Provider

December 2010 - December 2012

LASP is about assuring reliable localisation. It aims at developing a solution that, by intelligently combining existing techniques, can assess the integrity of GNSS satellite signals from spoofing attacks. Spoofing is a serious threat able to compromise satellite signals and to cause untrue localisation in navigation devices, and thus able to compromise the quality and the utility of location-based services. The target activity sectors of the ESA/LASP project are automotive industries (e.g., insurance, road toll), fleet and resource management, location-based access control. The project has been managed by itrust consulting and executed together with SnT of the University of Luxembourg. Wherein the research has been coupled with the AFR-PhD project “Secure and Private Location Proofs: Architecture and Design for Location-based Services”.

Principal investigators: Sjouke Mauw, Carlo Harpes, Gabriele Lenzini, Miguel Martins, Jun Pang, Xihui Chen

FESS: Functional Encrypted Secure Systems

Start: 2016

Involved researchers: Vincenzo Iovino

FNR COVID-19 Fast Track project SmartExit: Facilitating optimal containment and exit strategies with minimal disclosure access control and tracking

01/05/2020 - 31/10/2020

This project aims at facilitating exit strategies that incorporate access control to the public space, border crossings, and critical areas. The strategies are based on the individual COVID-19 immunity and/or infection status. Also, the project will investigate the implementation of contact-tracing apps in Luxembourg, which clearly is an essential component of a successful exit strategy in order to backtrack and contain the infection.
The smart access control system can be based on passports, ID cards or smart cards. We will propose a mechanism, produce a prototype implementation, and present a preliminary formal analysis of access control solutions for exit strategies.
While it might be necessary to waive users’ privacy in order to efficiently contain the epidemic, we will look for mechanisms that waive it to the least possible extent. In this sense, the focus of the project will be on preserving privacy, unlinkability and GDPR compliance for the access control system. Further, contact-tracing apps with minimal privacy disclosure will be investigated, especially the DP-3T proposal from PEPP-PT.

GAIVS: Games and Information Algebras in Analysis of Voting Systems

Start: 2013

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

PAKAJ -- Password-Authenticated Keying Algorithms by Juggling

July 31, 2012 - June 30, 2014

The objective of PAKAJ is to conduct a broad study of the password-based key exchange protocol J-PAKE designed by Feng HAO and Peter Y.A. RYAN. Three main directions are to be explored: 1) comparing different notions of security for password-authenticated key agreement, 2) establishing the exact security of J-PAKE in a computational model of security, and 3) abstracting J-PAKE’s underlying construction to try to obtain similar password-based key exchange algorithms from other computational assumptions.

Involved researchers: Jean Lancrenon, Peter Y. A. Ryan

PETRVS: Privacy Enhancing Technologies for Robust Voting Systems

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

PLAyBACk: Practical Lattice-Based Public-Key Cryptosystems Secure Against Quantum Computers

Start: 2013

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

RAPID -- Practical Searchable Encryption Design through Computation Delegation (AFR PhD)

January 1, 2013 - December 30, 2015

In this project, we are interested in searchable encryption schemes, which allow third-party service providers to search in encrypted data. Despite of the abundance of literature, there is a gap between the theory (theoretical schemes) and practice (practical requirements of application scenarios). The main objective of this project is to bridge this gap by designing new searchable encryption schemes, which provide rigorous security guarantees, support flexible search queries, and remain efficient in practical application scenarios.

Involved researchers: Afonso Delerue Arriaga, Qiang Tang, Peter Y. A. Ryan

REQUISITE: Reconciling the Uneasy Relationship between the Economics of Personal Data and Privacy

In this project, we carry out interdisciplinary research (together with economists) to bridge the theory-practice gap in tackling the privacy issues associated with personal data. We investigate the economic incentives behind users’ participation in the data sharing systems, and subsequently establish a model for gains and costs in bigdata applications. We apply game-theoretic techniques to the data sharing and computation outsourcing scenarios, and propose mechanisms for safeguarding users’ utility and privacy against rational attackers.

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Q. Tang

Secure and Trustworthy Electronic Exam Systems (CSC funding)

April 2012 - April 2015

When, by adopting new technologies, we renew certain established procedures we should evaluate carefully the risks and the threats that may come along. The shift to new technologies should be performed in such a way that the security and trust on those procedures is maintained or improved. This situation is happening for exams systems.  Schools and universities are interested in anticipating the publication of results and in offering courses to a larger number of outsiders. Thus, they are offering exam systems that are not any more paper-based but computer or Internet-based. This shift is likely to allow new frauds and collusion which nobody has deeply considered so far. This research project studies the security aspects of exam systems of new generation, that is, electronic exam (e-exam) systems.

Principal investigators: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Gabriele Lenzini, Rosario Giustolisi

SEQUOIA: Security Properties, Process Equivalences, and Automated Verification

Project number: INTER/ANR/13/36

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

SeRTVS: Secure, Reliable and Trustworthy Voting Systems

Start: 2009

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

SSh: Security in the Shell

Start: 2017

Involved researchers: J. Lagerwall

STAST – Socio-Technical Analysis of Security and Trust (CORE-FNR)

May 2012 - May 2015

STAST is about modelling and analysing the security and trustworthiness of systems as complex socio-technical structures where humans are crucial in either maintaining or undermining security. In such systems vulnerabilities exist not in the technical but rather in the social components, which are usually weaker because they are overlooked in traditional security analysis. STAST refers to a multi-layered model of systems, which consists of a sequence of communicating elements such as personae, user interfaces, operating system processes, and network agents.

Involved researchers: Sjouke Mauw, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Vincent Koenig, Gabriele Lenzini, Ana Margarita Ferreira, Wu Yining, Jean-Louis Huynen

SZK: Stateful Zero-Knowledge

March 1st 2018 - February 28th 2021

A zero-knowledge (ZK) proof system allows a prover to prove statements to a verifier without revealing secret information. The goal of this project is to define, construct and analyse protocols for stateful zero-knowledge (SZK). SZK is defined as the task of keeping state information between prover and verifier in a ZK proof system. We view the state as a data structure where the prover stores each piece of data at a certain position.
Our definitions must ensure the following: (1) data in the state is hidden from the verifier, (2) the prover can read and write data at positions while hiding both the data and the positions, and (3) a piece of data read from the state at a position equals the last piece of data stored at that position.
Our constructions for SZK will allow the prover to prove statements about the positions read or written. We will use SZK as building block in protocols for data collection and analysis, which are useful to protect privacy while allowing the release of statistics about data. These protocols are of interest in a lot of settings, e.g. e-commerce, location-based services and smart metering and billing. Thanks to the strong privacy properties offered by SZK, we will be able to design protocols for tasks that before could not be realized while fully protecting user privacy.

Involved researchers: Alfredo Rial, Peter Y. A. Ryan

TYPAMED: Transparent Yet Private Access to Medical Data

Start: 2014

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan

UNIQUE: Unclonable Networks for Identification using CHolesteric Emulsions

Involved researchers: Gabriele Lenzini

Verifiable Internet Voting (VIVO): Moving Theory into Practice

October 2012 - October 2014

The VIVO project is motivated by the broad discrepancy between theory and practice in electronic voting today. The general goal of the project is to diminish this gap between the theory and practice of Internet voting and to push the deployment of the latest research achievements into next-generation systems to be developed worldwide.
The project is a collaboration between two internationally well-recognized e-voting research groups from the Bern University of Applied Sciences and the University of Luxembourg.

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan, Rui Joaquim, Rolf Haenni, Eric Dubuis, Reto Koenig

VoteVerif: Verification of Voter-Verifiable Voting Protocols

Start: 2015

Project number: 10415467

Involved researchers: Peter Y. A. Ryan