Cisco Gifts ECE $65K for Post-Quantum Cryptography

November 20, 2020

Photo of Dimitris Sikeridis

The Cisco University Research Program Fund has awarded a gift of $65,757 to support a proposal by ECE Chair Michael Devetsikiotis called "Frameworks for Suppressing the Intermediate Certificate Exchange in Post-Quantum TLS."

“These gifts [from Cisco] are very competitive, and the list of recipients is a “Who’s Who” in the area of Internet and Networking,” said Principal Investigator Devetsikiotis.

Devetsikiotis said ECE Graduate Student Dimitris Sikeridis was instrumental in bringing this award to ECE. 

Dimitris Sikeridis came to UNM in 2016 to pursue a Ph.D. under Devetsikiotis and hopes to finish in 2021. He received his Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The University of Patras, Greece.

Sikeridis worked as a Ph.D. intern at Cisco in their Advanced Security Research Team during the summers of 2019 and 2020.  

“My work with Dr. Devetsikiotis was a natural continuation of my research at Cisco, and the next step towards optimizing post-quantum crypto adoption,” said Sikeridis.

The emergence of quantum computing is making public-key cryptography insecure and that’s what protects our data from unauthorized access or use when we get on the internet.

To remedy that problem, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been studying a new generation of quantum-resistant key encapsulation and authentication schemes. Unfortunately, NIST’s new schemes are expected to add a delay during secure communication establishment. Therefore, their adoption may be delayed especially for applications like browsers that strive to eliminate any delays.

“Our project proposes new ways to reduce the introduced delays from the quantum computer-resistant schemes using intelligent caching and machine learning,” said Sikeridis. “Our research has the potential to expedite the wider adoption of the upcoming post-quantum cryptography mechanisms.”

The research that leads up to Devetsikiotis’ proposal was published at The Network and Distributed Systems Security Symposium in San Diego (Feb  2020) and the International Conference on emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies held in Barcelona, Spain (Dec 2020). [Click hyperlinks to view papers]

This project is the latest addition to the collaboration of the UNM ECE Internet of Things Lab with industry partners including IBM and Vizzia Technologies.

“Our research falls within the scope of the ECE work on Quantum-era technologies and complements these advances from the existing systems' security perspective,” said Sikeridis.