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PhD Studentship: Security Analysis of Systems using Emerging 5G Technologies (5GTech-Sec)

University of Surrey - Computer Science

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Guildford
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £22,000 per year, tax free
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 2nd May 2019
Closes: 1st July 2019

Studentship description

The 5G systems will be arbitrarily large, and they will introduce new designs, elements, paradigms compared to their 4G counterparts. What is more, one core aspect that is set to change in 5G vs. 4G is way in which privacy is provisioned. Some formal security analysis of security and privacy of 5G specifications have already started. Continuing on this trend but also complementary to it, in this work, we will look at developing threat-models, verification methodologies and tools that are, this time, bespoke to 5G systems and their arbitrary sizes and lend themselves particularly well to analysing privacy properties. 

We can summarise the 5GTech-Sec quests here as follows: 

Q1: What are the main threat- and security-models suited to 5G systems, accounting for 5G-specific architectures and designs, including the introduction of small cells (including pico-cells, femto-cells and the general infrastructure for heterogenous networks)? 
Q2: How do the different 5G architectures (e.g., flat vs. hierarchical), different communication-primitives (e.g., broadcast vs. focused beams) and the changing topologies induced by the positioning of 5G’s small cells (jointly) influence the formal analysis of 5G systems w.r.t. security and privacy properties? How do the arbitrary numbers of pseudo-arbitrarily positioned small cells and how do focused beams influence 5G attacks and their analysis, when applicable? 

Main research-challenge:
5GTech-Sec envisages tackling the following: the advancement of new automated-verification theories and tools, based on non-classical logics, for the analysis of privacy and security in arbitrarily-large/unbounded-size 5G systems, where the 5G-specific designs --such as the topologies in which the SCs are placed-- are considered within new, 5G-suited threat-models and analyses. 
Indeed, this project focuses on the theory and practice of formal verification of 5G systems privacy through model checking using non-classical logics. 

This is a 3.5 year project, starting on the 1st July 2019.

Entry Requirements

• Bachelor degree in Computer Science (UK equivalent 1st classification) 
• Interest in verification techniques (e.g. formal methods/analysis, logics) and/or in security and privacy 
• Programming experience (any language) 
• Analytical skills: knowledge of foundations of computer science (e.g., discrete mathematics); ability to think independently 
• Strong verbal and written communication skills, both in plain English (see, and scientific language for publication in relevant journals and presentation at conferences. 

• Master’s degree (UK equivalent of Merit classification or above) 
• Experience in Boolean logic, and first order logic, or other specific logics 
• Experience in formal verification (model checking, theorem proving or SMT solving) 
• Experience of implementation and/or experimentation with verification tools 
• Knowledge of cryptography and/or information security and/or networks 
• Proficiency in C++ and/or Java 
• Experience with a functional programming language (e.g., Haskell, Ocaml) 


Applicants: British citizen only (due to funding regulations).
Stipend: £22,000/ year, tax free.

How to apply

Applicants can apply through the PhD Computer Science course page: Please include the studentship title in your application.

Closing date for applications:


Application enquiries

Ioana Boureanu:

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