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GCHQ to fund Oxford Doctoral studentship in Cyber Security


The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham will be sponsoring a new Doctoral Studentship at Oxford University’s Department of Computer Science in the exciting area of Cyber Security. 

Commercial applications frequently have more bugs and flaws than it is economically viable to fix. These issues range from largely inconsequential (integer wrap-around in statistics generation) to critical (enabling remote attacks). Security analysts have to to prioritise the bugs found in terms of the potential harm they may cause and the privileges required to trigger them. For example, a buffer over-run that can only be triggered by a malformed configuration file is of less interest than an integer overflow giving arbitrary memory access that can be remotely triggered by an unprivileged user. Performing this prioritisation triage requires tools that can generate exploits from verification failures or assess the likelihood that they are exploitable.

The successful DPhil student will be working on a project that aims to build a common framework so that source code software verification tools can be combined with and applied to binary analysis. This framework will be used to repurpose existing test case generation and analysis tools for automated, scalable exploit generation.

This fully funded DPhil (the Oxford word for a PhD) scholarship will see the successful candidate spend in the region of 2 - 4 weeks per year at GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham, being based in Oxford at one of the country's eight Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research for the rest of the time.  The selected student will be supervised by Professor Daniel Kroening.  The Oxford Doctoral Studentship is one of ten studentships sponsored by GCHQ across the country.  

The studentship is open to UK nationals only.

Further information, including details of the application process are available here:

Details of other doctoral studentships available from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford: