Provably secure systems: foundations, design, and modularity#

February 2011 - January 2016


Our research project ProSecure is supported by the European Research Council ("Starting Grant Project"). This is a long-term project (5 years) aiming at developping provably secure systems such as security protocols.

Context of the project#

Security protocols are short distributed computer programs dedicated to securing communications on digital networks. They are designed to achieve various goals such as data privacy and data authenticity, even when communication channels are controlled by malicious users. Their increasing penetration in many important applications makes it a very important research challenge to design and establish security properties. In the last decade, formal approaches and automated verification techniques have been successfully applied for detecting potential attacks. However, the security guarantees obtained so far usually hold in a rather abstract model, and are limited to isolated specific protocols analyzed for a few set of specific security properties. Moreover new types of protocols are still emerging in order to face new technological and societal challenges.

Goals of the project#

The goal of the project is to propose foundations for a careful analysis and design of large classes of up-to-date protocols. We plan to develop general verification techniques for new classes of protocols that are of primary interest in nowadays life like e-voting protocols, routing protocols or APIs. Our techniques will first be developed in symbolic models where messages are represented by terms but we will also consider the cryptographic part of the primitives that are used in such protocols (encryption, signatures, ...), obtaining higher security guarantees. We aim at proposing modular results both for the analysis and design of protocols. As a particular outcome, we should characterize simple design principles that ease the analysis (thus the security) of protocols and discard families of attacks.

Research themes#

  • Security protocols: authentication and confidentiality protocols, e-votings, security APIs, routing protocols
  • Automatic verification: rewriting, constraint solving, automatic deduction
  • Provable security

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Visiting researchers#

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