Time+Place: Thursday 28/05/2015 14:30 Room 337-8 Taub Bld.
Title: The Ring of Gyges: Using Smart Contracts for Crime
Speaker: Ari Juels - COLLOQUIUM LECTURE http://tech.cornell.edu/people/ari-juels
Affiliation: Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute
Host: Eitan Yaakobi


Thanks to their anonymity (pseudonymity) and lack of trusted intermediaries, 
cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have created or stimulated growth in many 
businesses and communities. A number of resulting activities, however, 
are harmful or criminal, including money laundering, marketplaces for illicit 
goods, and ransomware. 

Emerging next-generation cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum will include rich
scripting languages in support of *smart contracts*, programs that
autonomously intermediate transactions and can consume authenticated data
feeds as inputs.  We show how these new cryptocurrency environments will
enlarge the range of criminal activities that can be achieved with anonymity
and minimal trust assumptions and may thus fuel new criminal ecosystems.
Specifically, we show how cryptographically secure and incentive-compatible
criminal smart contracts can facilitate leakage of confidential information,
theft of cryptographic keys, and various real-world crimes (murder, arson,

While some contracts for some of these crimes are efficiently realizable in
existing scripting languages, others require cryptographic primitives such
as succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge (SNARKs). Today's
cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum can in principle support these primitives,
but with minimal changes would enable far more efficient implementation.
These changes would also benefit benign contracts, and are thus already
envisioned by the community.

Joint work with Ahmed Kosba (UMD) and Elaine Shi (Cornell Univ.)

Short Bio:
Ari Juels is a Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell
Tech in New York City. He was previously the Chief Scientist of RSA (The
Security Division of EMC), Director of RSA Laboratories, and a Distinguished
Engineer at EMC, where he worked until 2013. He received his Ph.D. in
computer science from U.C. Berkeley in 1996. Prof. Juels's recent areas of
interest include "big data" security analytics, virtual currency and
financial cryptography, cybersecurity, cloud security, user authentication,
privacy, medical-device security, biometric security, and RFID / NFC
security. To learn more, visit arijuels.com.

Desserts will be served from 14:15
Lecture starts at 14:30