PhD Studentship Foundations of Traffic Analysis Security

Supervisor: George Danezis

Applications are invited for a PhD position at the Information Security Group of the UCL Department of Computer Science, funded by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The studentship is only open to UK nationals due to the sponsor’s eligibility requirements and the successful candidate will be required to undertake an internship 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.

The successful applicant will study the engineering of systems resistant to traffic analysis, the discipline of extracting sensitive information from communications meta-data, and how to extend the state of the art in measuring resistance to and performing traffic analysis using state of the art machine learning techniques. The aim of the project is to improve current security techniques, such as communications encryption and anonymisation, to offer stronger privacy against traffic analysis. The project will involve fundamental public research in the probabilistic modelling of such systems, design and robust evaluation of protection techniques, and a software engineering component to build and evaluate research prototypes.

All research undertaken at UCL as part of the studentship will be unclassified and published openly.

The studentship will be funded for a period of 3.5 years. GCHQ will cover the costs of university fees (currently £4,400 per annum) and will provide a total tax-free stipend of £24,500 per annum. A generous travel budget is also provided to enable attendance at international conferences and workshops.

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The start date for the studentship will be in January 2014.

We expect a candidate to have at least a strong 2:1 degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, or a related MSc course. Prior knowledge of computer security is not essential, but prior exposure to machine learning, statistics and/or probability theory is desirable.

Applications should be submitted to University College London. Please follow the link here to the online application. You should specify on your application that you would like to be supervised by Dr George Danezis and make it clear in your personal statement which studentship you are applying for.

If you have any queries about submitting an application, please email Melanie Johnson at 

Your application must reach the department by the 20th December 2013.

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