[Ugrads] Seeking Collaborators for Mobile Phone Authentication Research (and a chance to win $10, 000 with me)

Chad Spensky cspensky at cs.ucsb.edu
Tue Dec 15 11:55:59 PST 2015


Fellow CS Students,

  I am a first-year Ph.D. student here in the SecLab and am interested in
competing the in the New Venture Competition (http://www.tmp.ucsb.edu/nvc),
which offers cash prizes (first place gets $10,000 and there's a potential
to win even more) to the best product idea.  However, I am currently in
need of some teammates.  A little background about myself, I have a B.S. in
Math and CS from Pitt, a M.S. in Computer Security from UNC, and was
research staff at MIT doing computer security research for the past ~4
years.

  The idea that I hope to compete with is *Single Device Authentication*, a
technology that I started developing while I was a researcher at MIT.  The
high-level idea is that you are able to authenticate to your smartphone
(e.g., using a PIN or fingerprint), and then leverage that phone to
authentication to *everything* else (e.g., computers, doors, cars) without
passwords or any other interaction.  My colleagues and I have already built
a prototype that interacts with linux computers and Python-based websites.
This prototype received very positive feedback in our user study, and we
have also vetted the required technologies, notably the Secure Element and
ARM's TrustZone, which are available on all modern smartphones.  I'm
looking for some folks who are passionate about this type of authentication
(or really dislike passwords and other existing schemes) that would like to
help create a production-ready version and push the research forward.
Ideally someone with experience programming in Python, Java (Android), or
ARM assembly.  Hardware-level experience is a plus (e.g., driver
development, board design, knowledge of modern architectures).  The project
requires development on every level of the stack, from the hardware all the
way through, to meet the security constraints.

  The benefits of working on this project would be two-fold.  First, you
will get exposure to modern hardware-based security features, and have the
opportunity to work on an [exciting] research project, which will very
likely lead to a top publication.  Second, you will have to opportunity to
get some entrepreneurship experience, and maybe pad your wallet some with
cash.  :-)

  If you're interested in working on this project with me, please e-mail me
directly at (cspensky at cs.ucsb.edu).  I have a technical paper that I'd be
happy to share with those who are interested, and am more than happy to
chat if you have any questions.

 Cheers,
   Chad
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