Visiting Lecture Series: Dave Levin, “Securing the Internet by Proving the Impossible”

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The state of today's Internet security is largely reactive, continually raising the defensive bar in response to increasingly sophisticated attackers.  In this talk, Dave Levin will present an alternate approach to building Internet systems that underlies much of his work: instead of reactively working around some attacks, what if they were impossible to execute in the first place?

Levin will discuss two primitives that he and his collaborators have created that provide small "proofs of impossibility," and he will demonstrate how he and his colleagues can applied these methods to large-scale problems, including censorship resistance, digital currency, and online voting. First, he will present "TrInc," a small piece of trusted hardware that provides proof that an attacker could not send conflicting messages to others. Second, Levin will present "Alibi Routing," a peer-to-peer system that provides proof that a user's packets could not have gone through a region of the world the user forbids. Finally, he will describe some of his ongoing and future efforts, including securing the Web's public key infrastructure.



Dave Levin is a research scientist and co-chair of the Computer Science Undergraduate Honors program at the University of Maryland. He previously worked in the Social Computing Group at Hewlett-Packard Labs after getting his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2010. Dave has received a best paper award at NSDI, and a best reviewer award from ACM SIGCOMM. His work lies at the intersection of networking, security, and economics. 


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Devin Young
  • Created:03/14/2016
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017