Our society increasingly relies on technology in all aspects of life without always understanding the implications and consequences. As more and more devices are connected, the boundaries between physical and digital systems blur, which gives rise to a plethora of security and privacy issues. Considering how challenging improving or replacing wide-deployed systems is, it is essential to design applications carefully today. Now is the time to build a solid, secure, privacy-preserving foundation based on which humanity can enjoy the miracles of digital progress without fearing data misuse, suffering from censorship, or otherwise becoming victim to cybercriminal activities. Privacy-preserving computation and advanced cryptographic techniques — such as multi-party computation and zero-knowledge proofs — often enable us to design data-driven applications that respect privacy in theory. However, in practice, the development of such solutions faces many challenges: side-channel attacks, sparse tool support, diverse requirements, and highly complex processes hinder wide adoption.
I want to contribute to spreading privacy and making it more practical and usable, for instance, by improving cryptographic primitives and making them more accessible. I see this as a vital challenge in the intersection of system security, applied cryptography, and privacy. I am excited to question and improve the status quo by putting existing systems to the test and contributing ideas to improve or replace them. To conduct such applied research, I draw upon my profound theoretical training from ETHZ’s unique Cyber Security master program and practical experience in analyzing and exploiting systems from longstanding CTF playing.