Elena Pagnin, Assistant Professor
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I believe that good research is a combination of real-world questions, innovative ideas, and fruitful collaborations. My research interests are focused around homomorphic cryptographic primitives, user privacy and data authentication.
My plan for the future
Homomorphic Cryptographic Primitives. In the last decade, cryptographic primitives achieving homomorphic properties have become increasingly popular. Such primitives allow untrusted parties to compute on cryptographic data while achieving either privacy of the data (homomorphic encryption) or integrity of the computation (homomorphic signatures). This is particularly interesting when we want to outsource complex computations on large datasets in the cloud. I would like to investigate how we can achieve fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) without relying on noisy ciphertexts. In particular, I will study building FHE from algebraic-only assumptions.
Cryptography for Secure Communications. Cryptographic primitives are the building blocks for creating secure environments, but they must be implemented and used correctly. Communication protocols enable different parties to communicate through an insecure channel where a third party may be listening and potentially tampering with the information transmitted. In the light of Snowden revelations, cryptographers should aim to design secure communication protocols with minimal trust. To this end, I initiated to study the security of widely deployed Asynchronous Message Protocols (like Signal and Telegram).
Post-Quantum Cryptographic Primitives. Quantum computers are different from classical computers in that they handle quantum-bits (qbits) that encode both 0 and 1 at the same time. When large-scale, quantum processors become a reality, cryptographic problems believed to be intractable on classical computers become efficiently solvable. IBM, Google, Microsoft, and several military services have already developed quantum computers on few qbits, therefore the need for new security assumptions and cryptographic schemes that guarantee the confidentiality and integrity of digital communications in the quantum era.
Other Topics I have worked on
Multi-Key Homomorphic Authenticators, Secure Messaging (Signal Protocol), Privacy-Preserving Location Proximity Testing, Secure and Private Multi-Client Data Deduplication, Server-Aided Signature Verification, Biometric Authentication, Distance-Bounding Authentication Protocols.