Physical Cryptography and Security Group
at the University of Virginia

Research Summary

Computing is moving into the real world. Instead of performing computations in protected beige boxes with narrow interfaces to the real world, the majority of future computing will be done by devices (such as nodes in sensor networks) that interact with the real world in rich and dynamic ways.

Our research explores how this trend impacts security. We consider ways to use properties of the physical world in which computing devices are deployed to improve security.

The Phyisicrypt project is no longer active. See our group blog for updates on active projects.


Faculty: David Evans

Graduate Students
    Karsten Nohl
    Nathanael Paul
    Jeffrey Shirley

Undergraduate Students
    Adrienne Felt

    Lingxuan Hu
    Jackson Kwok
    Matthew Spear (now at UC Davis grad school)
    Chalermpong Worawannotai


Malware Seminar, Fall 2004
Cryptography Applications Bistro (CrAB Seminar), Spring 2004
CS588: Cryptology: Principles and Applications, Fall 2001


Nathanael Paul, Sudhanva Gurumurthi, David Evans. Thermal Attacks on Storage Systems . 14th NASA Goddard, 23rd IEEE Conference on Mass Storage Systems and Technologies, College Park, Maryland, May 2006.

Nathanael Paul and David Evans. .NET Security: Lessons Learned and Missed from Java. 20th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC 2004). December 6-10, 2004, Tucson, Arizona. [PDF]

Lingxuan Hu and David Evans. Localization for Mobile Sensor Networks. Tenth Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (ACM MobiCom 2004). 26 September - 1 October 2004. [PDF]

Lingxuan Hu and David Evans. Using Directional Antennas to Prevent Wormhole Attacks. Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, February 2004. [PDF]

David Evans and Nathanael Paul. Election Security: Perception and Reality. IEEE Security and Privacy, January-February 2004. (PDF, 8 pages)

Lingxuan Hu and David Evans. Secure Aggregation for Wireless Networks. Workshop on Security and Assurance in Ad hoc Networks. January, 2003. (PDF, PS, 8 pages)

Nathanael Paul, David Evans, Avi Rubin and Dan Wallach. Authentication for Remote Voting. Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Security Systems. 6 April 2003. (PDF, 4 pages)

Chenxi Wang, Antonio Carzaniga, David Evans, Alexander L. Wolf. Security Issues and Requirements for Internet-Scale Publish-Subscribe Systems. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, January 7-10, 2002. (PDF, 8 pages)


Wireless Security in the Real World: Using Physical Properties to Mitigate Wormhole Attacks [PPT]. Invited seminar talk at University of Delaware SIGNET Seminar, 15 September 2004.

What Biology Can (and Can't) Teach Us About Security [PPT] [PDF]. Invited talk at USENIX Security Symposium, San Diego, August 12, 2004.

Using Directional Antennas to Prevent Wormhole Attacks (Lingxuan Hu and David Evans) [PPT]. Conference paper presentation at Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, San Diego, 6 February 2004.

What Biology Can Teach Us About Security (David Evans) [PPT (warning: 35MB)]. Invited talk at Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute, 14 November 2003.

Biological Programming Models for Intrusion-Tolerant Systems (David Evans) [PPT (warning 18MB)]. Invited presentation at Workshop on Statistical and Maching Learning Techniques in Computer Intrusion Detection, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), 24 September 2003.

Securing Bits with Atoms (and Vices with Verses) [PPT, PDF]. Short talk in "Outrageous Ideas" session at DIMACS Workshop on Software Security, 6-7 January 2003.


Wormhole Network Simulation (Lingxuan Hu)
This simulation program was used for the NDSS 2004 paper (Using Directional Antennas to Prevent Wormhole Attacks). It is available under GPL license.

Related Projects

Inexpensive Program Analysis
N-Variant Systems


Our research is supported by the National Science Foundation through these grants:

ITR: A Framework for Environment-Aware, Massively Distributed Computing (with Tarek Abdelzaher and David Brogan), 2001 - 2005.

CAREER: Programming the Swarm, 2000 - 2006. (PDF, PS, NSF Page)

swarm University of Virginia
Department of Computer Science
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation David Evans