Department of Computer Science and Technology

Dr Markus Kuhn

Portrait, July 2012

I am a University Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and a Fellow of Wolfson College.

Primarily a computer scientist by training, I also have backgrounds in electronics, digital signal processing, communications engineering, and physiology. My broader interests cover most aspects of applied computer science and technology, including neurophysiology and robotics.

My research and that of my PhD students has focused so far on computer security, in particular hardware and signal-processing aspects of this very wide field. Compromising emanations, RFID security, and the security of positioning systems (distance-bounding protocols, authentication of navigation signals) have recently been particular areas of interest. I also worked in the past on hardware tamper resistance, smartcards, network security, “intellectual property” protection technology (in particular pay-TV conditional access), data compression, video and audio technology, FPGA applications, and some standardization matters (character sets, semi-structured data, file formats, etc.).

Contact information

Dr Markus Kuhn
University of Cambridge
Computer Laboratory
15 JJ Thomson Avenue
Cambridge CB3 0FD
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 1223 3-34676  (09:30–18:30)
Fax: +44 1223 3-34678
Email: [Javascript required]
(spam-filter delays possible)
Time zone: UTC+1h in summer (last Sun Mar – last Sun Oct)
UTC in winter

Reachability status: Back in Cambridge.

PhD applicants: I may be able to take on 1–2 new PhD students, and in particular look for applicants interested in hardware security, side-channel analysis, statistical signal processing, and/or radio-frequency electronics. See also below for the one funded studentship opportunity I hope to have available next year for a UK student to work on side-channel analysis. I'm happy to discuss your research proposals informally any time, but please send formal application documents through the University's graduate admissions system (i.e., please do not email me CVs, transcripts, or references).

Internships: I do not have any interships on offer.

Hardware-security PhD studentship

  • PhD Studentship in Side-Channel Security

    I may be able to offer a 3.5-year PhD studentship on side-channel security, starting in October 2019, to applicants interested in hardware security, radio communication, experiments with software-defined radio hardware, and digital signal processing. The basic idea of the project is to investigate, how radio waves reflected from an electronic device can pick up side-channel information about the processed data, and how that can be reconstructed and used to enhance eavesdropping range in comparison to purely passive electromagnetic eavesdropping attacks. Applicants should have an undergraduate or masters degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics or Physics.

    Please contact me by phone or email for more information before submitting a formal application. I should know by 23 January 2019 if funding for this position will be available.

    Note: Due to the UK government funding source, this studentship is restricted to UK nationals, or applicants who have been resident in the UK for the past 10 years, and subject to the candidate being able to obtain a UK DV security clearance.

Recent publications

More ...

Some other online texts


  • OTPW is my one-time password package for POSIX systems, optimized for being used with printed password lists and designed to be more robust against certain denial-of-service attacks than various older schemes.
  • JBIG-KIT is my portable C implementation of a highly effective lossless bi-level image compression algorithm based on context sensitive arithmetic coding. The JBIG1 algorithm (specified in ITU-T Recommendation T.82) implemented in this library is especially suitable for compressing scanned documents and fax pages. You can also download the (German) project report (Studienarbeit) that I wrote about JBIG-KIT (abstract).
  • I prepared and maintain the ISO 10646-1 extension of the classic X Window System pixel fonts.
  • In early 1997, I wrote StirMark, a robustness testing tool for steganographic watermarking algorithms of still images. It is now maintained by Fabien Petitcolas.

Older material previously found here is now in my home page attic.


I teach second and third year undergraduate courses in the Computer Science Tripos on Security, Cryptography, Digital Signal Processing, and Unix Tools.

Course materials pages: 2018/19, 2017/18, 2016/17, 2015/16, 2014/15, 2013/14, 2012/13, 2011/12, 2010/11, 2009/10.

PhD students: Christian O'Connell (submitted September 2018), Shih-Chun You (starting October 2018). Former PhD students of mine that have already graduated: Piotr Zieliński, Steven Murdoch, Gerhard Hancke, Saar Drimer, Andrew Lewis, Marios Omar Choudary.

We organize a Security Seminar Series, which is open to the public.