PhD in Game Theory of Cryptographic Threat Mitigation


Faculties of Engineering and Science, Department of Computer Science


The project:
Rivest and others have recently introduced the game of FlipIt to model the case of persistent attacks against a single server or service. The game, whilst surprisingly simple, turns out to be surprisingly hard to mathematically model via game theory. In this project we aim to extend and analyse the FlipIt game in the case of multiple servers working together in a threshold (or other) manner to defend a multi-server application. The project will use a game-theoretical approach to investigate and analyse various attack and defence strategies in this extension.Â


Security information: The studentship is funded by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which is therefore only open to UK nationals, and the successful candidate will be required to spend in the region of 2 – 4 weeks per year at GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham. To be considered for this studentship, candidates must therefore be prepared to undergo GCHQ’s security clearance procedures.


Candidate requirements:
We expect a candidate to have at least a strong 2:1 degree in Mathematics or Computer Science. Prior knowledge of cryptology or a security-related field is not essential, but prior exposure to game theory and/or stochastic processes is desirable.


The studentships will be funded for a period of 3.5 years. GCHQ will cover the costs of university fees and will provide an annual stipend to the student corresponding to the National Minimum Stipend (currently £13,726 per annum) plus an additional stipend of £7,000 per annum, making a total tax-free stipend of £20,726 per annum. A generous travel budget is also provided to enable attendance at international conferences and workshops. Due to the requirement for an individual to be cleared to work at GCHQ, the studentship is limited to UK applicants and more information can be found here:

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How to apply:
Please make an online application for this project at via the Apply button below. Please select PhD Computer Science on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form stating that you are interested in the Game Theory of Cryptographic Threat Mitigation project.


Due to the additional requirement of security clearance, applicants to either position are advised to send in their application as soon as possible.


Nigel Smart – or David Leslie


Deadline for applications: 15 November 2013


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