How to apply as a prospective PhD or Master's student, to internship positions, or advertised full-time posts

(This list has partially been stolen from the excellent advice published by the EPFL Hexhive group.)

  • Q: Which research topics are you interested in?

    A: The research group at the Institute of Networks and Security (INS) is mainly interested in:

    • digital identity mainly from a cryptographic, privacy, and usable security point of view
    • mobile security with a strong focus on Android (and only very little experience with other platforms)
    • network security on many layers of the network stack
    • network privacy with a strong focus on Tor
    • software security with a particular interest in safe programming languages (Rust etc.) and reproducible builds

    Please make sure to read through the list of our papers published in the last few years for a more detailed idea about what we are currently working on, and that there is significant overlap with your research interest and goals for the next few years. Considering the limited number of people supervising student work in the group, we realistically cannot take on new topics that we are not already familiar with and do a good job as advisors.

  • Q: Which research topics are you not interested in?

    A: We don’t do cryptocurrencies, and we don’t use Blockchains for everything we come across (there is only a very limited set of reasonable use cases). We are also not hardware engineers and therefore not sufficiently confident in supervising work on hardware/processor design (the interface between low-level software and hardware is fine, though). While we use many cryptographic primitives and occasionally privacy protection methods like federated learning or differential privacy, we are not experts in mathematical and statistical methods and therefore do not contribute do those methods themselves.

  • Q: What are you looking for in a graduate student (Master’s or PhD curriculum)?

    A: Students are epxected to have solid programming skills, both in high-level safe languages like Java/Kotlin/Scala, Rust, and/or Python as well as at least some experience with lower-level programming in C/C++. Basic knowledge of cryptographic primitives and their use is expected, although this can be acquired within the first few months of working in the group. The most important aspect, however, is a mindset of curious investigation and thinking out of the box – being able to put yourself into an adversary’s position to investigate what could go wrong.

  • Q: How should I apply for graduate studies?

    A: Prospective Master’s and PhD students need to apply for the usual computer science degree programs at the central university administration. More details are online for Master and PhD levels, and prospective students for our research group first need to fulfill all these respective requirements. There is nothing we can do before you have applied formally.

    After having been accepted as a student at JKU Linz, you can apply for a specific thesis or project topic with potential supervisors. When sending an email, make sure that your interests align with the interests of the respective supervisor you are asking. You are strongly encouraged to relate your interests to existing research projects. Include a short summary about that project and why you think it was interesting.

  • Q: What are you looking for in an intern?

    A: We are looking for curious interns to join us during summer breaks. Most of our interns are at the end of their Bachelor or beginning of their Master curricula. The ideal candidate has excellent programming skills, beginning embedded/networking/systems programming background, and has taken introductory security and cryptography classes. Experience with medium to large, open source software projects such as AOSP, OpenWRT, OpenHAB, or Debian/Ubuntu are definitively a plus but not required. We value curiosity and interest in learning and research, so convince us that you want to be part of a dynamic team.

    Important note: JKU Linz does not have an established, formal internship program. Therefore, we cannot offer payment through university funding, and by default internship positions are only offers for additional learning and project experience over the summer holidays. Our research group’s investment is supervision time, and your opportunity is to benefit from participating in ongoing research efforts. In exceptional cases, interns may be eligible to project based funding – however, this strongly depends on running project grants.

  • Q: What are you looking for in applications to officially announced, open positions?

    A: Please check the respective job announcement, which will list all requirements in detail.

  • Q: I’m interested in a doing a research project at INS, what should I do?

    A: Great, thanks for your interest. Feel free to get in contact with us after looking at our research interests. If you are a JKU student, check the list of open student projects. If you are an outside student, follow the guidelines on applying to the JKU Bachelor, Master, or PhD curriculum application links above.

  • Q: I’m pumped. What should I do to make sure my email is read?

    A: Awesome. Consider that faculty receives several cold contact emails per day and we cannot answer all of them. Most emails consist of a standard text that is copy-pasted to all faculty at a school, maybe with their research area copy-pasted into the letter. Don’t do this. If you want an answer, write a custom email. Explain why you like the research of a particular professor and how you fit exactly into their research group. Be specific and include details! Note that if you use mail tracking images, we will consider your email SPAM and delete your email without reading it.