[Busec] Bryan Ford, EPFL (Wed 9:45 am)

Foteini Baldimtsi foteini at baldimtsi.com
Tue Apr 12 11:41:14 EDT 2016

Hi all,

Join us tomorrow for the 4th seminar on our series of network security
talks. Bryan Ford from EPFL will give an talk on how to securely
decentralize trust at scale. Lunch will follow.

Next week there will be no seminar and on April 27th we will have a talk
by Prabhanjan Ananth from UCLA.

See you tomorrow,

BUsec Calendar:  http://www.bu.edu/cs/busec/

The busec seminar gratefully acknowledges the support of BU's Center for
Reliable Information Systems and Cyber Security (RISCS).

Collective Authorities: Securely Decentralizing Trust at Scale
Speaker: Bryan Ford, EPFL
April 13, 2015, 9:45-11am
111 Cummington St, Boston 02215

Online infrastructure depends on many security-critical authorities such as
logging, time, directory, and software update services. These authorities
represent high-value attack targets to hackers, criminals, and spy
agencies, who can secretly compromise many hosts by stealing keys from or
coercing only one such “weakest-link” authority.  We propose to address
these systemic weaknesses by decentralizing conventional authorities into
scalable “strongest-link" authorities or cothorities.  A cothority
efficiently splits trust among tens, hundreds, or thousands of independent
parties, remaining secure unless many participants collude.  As a first
step in this long-term program we introduce CoSi, a cothority architecture
for decentralized witness cosigning, which increases the transparency and
security of traditional centralized authorities while remaining
backward-compatible with and incrementally deployable alongside their
existing logic.  By increasing the scalability of existing multisignature
techniques, CoSi efficiently ensures that every authoritative statement is
validated and publicly logged by a diverse group of witnesses before any
client will accept it, forcing secrecy-minded attackers to risk that any
compromise will be detected quickly.  As a second step, we adapt CoSi’s
collective signing techniques to create ByzCoin, a blockchain architecture
that enhances Bitcoin with strong consistency, Byzantine fault tolerance,
higher throughput, and lower transaction latencies.  CoSi and ByzCoin have
been demonstrated to scale efficiently to support over 8,000
globally-distributed participants, while keeping collective signing and
transaction latencies to within a few seconds.


Title: TBA
Speaker: Prabhanjan Ananth, UCLA
April 27, 2015, 9:45-11am
111 Cummington St, Boston 02215
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