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SecKey: New approaches for secure key management

The SecKey project is a joint research initiative between SBA Research, the University of Vienna, and two company partners, TMIA and Infinite Trust Digital. The project’s primary goal is to develop innovative solutions for secure key management and the derivation of cryptographic keying material in demanding scenarios.

To achieve this goal, the project will break down current approaches into fundamental building blocks, assess their security in-depth, design new building blocks to enhance flexibility and security, and enable their secure composability for specific solutions applicable in new use cases. This involves exploring academic cryptographic approaches that can improve the security and fault tolerance of existing and future schemes, such as secret-sharing techniques, distributed key generation, or post-quantum cryptography. Additionally, the project will identify practical threat- and system models to systematize attacks targeting schemes and cryptographic primitives. This will uncover possible blind spots and enable the development of novel attack strategies, countermeasures, and techniques that can assist experts and non-experts in securely managing and using their keys.

The main motivations for the project are the serious consequences and economic damage caused by the loss of cryptographic keying material, particularly in the context of cryptocurrencies. Self-custodial key management is also a pertinent topic, as users seek to decrease their reliance on large corporations and adopt more decentralized or secure services. The digital transformation requires companies, such as automotive and IoT manufacturers, to manage significant amounts of sensitive keying material as well.

With sincere appreciation, the SecKey team extends their gratitude to the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) for the  funding granted through the BRIDGE 1 program.