Attila Yavuz awarded the Cisco Research Center Award

June 25, 2019

USF Department of Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Attila Yavuz was awarded the Cisco Research Center Award for his project titled “Lightweight and Quantum –Safe Authentication for the Internet of Things.” Cisco Research Center’s (CRC) goal is to foster collaboration among industry partners, academics, governments and customers to explore new and promising technologies. CRC is especially interested in proposals that focus on improving the internet and using the power of the network to change the world around us.  

“Internet of Things (IoT) is a heterogeneous system containing a plethora of interrelated smart-objects, sensors and actuators. It is of paramount importance to ensure the security of IoT due to its pervasiveness and critical control capabilities. Digital signatures, as a fundamental authentication tool, lay the foundation of trust, public key infrastructure and they secure the communication in IoT. However, it is well-known that the conventional signature schemes are vulnerable to the emerging quantum computers, and therefore, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has initiated the second round of standardizations for post-quantum cryptography. The existing post-quantum digital signatures are known to be notoriously costly in terms of communication, computation and energy consumption, compared to their standard counterparts. Hence, there is a critical need to develop lightweight, energy-aware, and computationally efficient post-quantum signatures for resource-limited IoT systems.  The goal of this project is to devise new quantum-safe digital signatures that respect the battery, bandwidth, memory and computational limitations of low-end devices in IoT systems. We will propose a new set of lattice-based, post-quantum signatures that are suitable for heterogeneous IoT, in which the efficiency of the resource-limited signer (e.g., a wireless sensor) is the priority, and the verification can be done with commodity hardware (e.g., a laptop). We will put forth new signer-efficient signatures by vastly improving the signature generation of the eligible NIST post-quantum candidates via novel algorithmic designs and distributed verification strategies. The successful completion of this project will substantially improve the overall signing process of eligible lattice-based post-quantum signatures, and therefore, enable their practical deployments even on resource-limited IoT systems,” Yavuz explains.