I am a Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Cambridge where I spend my time analyzing the security of systems (software and otherwise) in order to make them more robust. I am the founder of OpenOrigins where we are trying to find solutions to the ever growing problem of fake videos. I also work as a security engineer at Jitsuin. I completed my PhD with Professor Ross Anderson at Cambridge. Before moving here, I worked as a researcher at ETH Zurich where I also finished my Master’s under the supervision of Prof Srdjan Capkun and Dr. Kari Kostiainen.
I am interested in all aspects, technical and social, of privacy, provenance and security engineering. I think designing systems that preserve these requires more than good code, it requires an understanding of economics, law and human behaviour. This is why I try to take a broad view of the various forces tugging at computer systems in my research.
Since August 2019, I’ve used Mansoor Ahmed-Rengers as my name professionally. Unfortunately, ancient bureaucratic traditions force me to use Mansoor Ahmed at times, in case you were wondering why some of my publications have a different name.
Textbook: Permissioned Blockchains In Action
I am the author of Permissioned Blockchains In Action published by Manning Publishers. It is a tool-agnostic guide to creating innovative applications using blockchain technology. I have tried to take readers into a technically deep discussion about permissioned blockchains while not sticking too tightly to any one framework. The end-result, I hope, is a book with a long shelf life that will be useful long after today’s frameworks have been replaced.
The print version is due to come out in the first quarter of 2021 possibly with a different publisher.
- Democracy on the Margins of the Market: A Critical Look Into the Privatisation of Cyber Norm Formation, The Hague Program for Cyber Norms, 2020
- FrameProv: Towards End-to-End Video Provenance, New Security Paradigms Workshop (NSPW) 2019
- Snitches Get Stitches: On the Difficulty of Whistleblowing, Security Protocols Workshop (SPW) 2019 (Best Paper Award)
- Short Term Firm-Specific Stock Forecasting with BDI Framework, Journal of Computational Economics 2019
- Don’t Mine, Wait in Line: Fair and Efficient Blockchain Consensus with Robust Round Robin, arXiv 2019
- Tendrils of Crime: Visualizing the Diffusion of Stolen Bitcoins, Graphical Models For Security (GraMSec) 2018
- Bitcoin Redux, Workshop on Economics of Information Security (WEIS) 2018
- Making Bitcoin Legal, Security Protocols Workshop (SPW) 2018
- ROTE: Rollback Protection for Trusted Execution, USENIX Security Symposium 2017
- Towards A Generic Framework for Short Term Firm-Specific Stock Forecasting, International Conference on Advances in Computing, Communications and Informatics (ICACCI) 2014
I am the inventor of three patent applications. I will update this page when they’re approved with details.
- DMapp: Decentralized mapping solutions, Future of Blockchain competition, 2019; Winner of Zilliqa challenge
- Privacy in a Mass Surveillance World, University of Amsterdam, 2018
- On The Future of Cryptocurrencies, University of Amsterdam, 2018
- Panel Discussion: Future trends for blockchains, Inaugration of Cambridge Blockchain Society, 2018
- Identity Management in Hyperledger, Hyperledger session at Open Source Summit (OSS) Europe, Edinburgh, 2018
- Access Control in Hyperledger projects, Hyperledger Europe meetup, Cambridge, 2018
Other Contributions To Academia
I have supervised the following courses:
- Economics, Law and Ethics
- Software and Security Engineering
- Security II
- Concurrent and Distributed Computing
- Operating Systems
In addition, I have supervised the capstone project for part II students.
I have written articles for a few media outlets. Below is an incomplete list of media coverage of my research, some written by me but most without my involvement:
- OpenDemocracy: Trusting Videos In A Fake News World
- WIRED: A 200-Year-Old Idea Offers a New Way to Trace Stolen Bitcoins
- MIT Technology Review: We’re getting closer to being able to track stolen bitcoins
- The Spectator: The case of the disappearing bitcoin
- CryptoNews: Tracking Stolen Bitcoins Is Getting Easier, Cambridge Says
- HackerNews (via LBT): What’s Intel SGX Good For?
Apart from these, I am a semi-frequent contributor to the Cambridge security blog series, Light Blue Touchpaper. You can find my contributions to that here.
I am on the program committee for the 2020 edition of the New Security Paradigms Workshop (NSPW). I have previously reviewed papers for Financial Cryptography (FC 2019) and USENIX Security (2016).
Non-Academic Work Experience
In addition to my academic work, I’ve had the privilege to work with the following organisations.
- Jitsuin (Nov 2018 – present): I was employee number 1 at Jitsuin where I’ve helped design the backend infrastructure and security strategy from the ground up. I am currently a security engineer there, alongside my PhD and textbook writing.
- NCipher Security (Feb 2018 – Nov 2018): I was part of the skunkworks team here working on experimental security solutions.
- ETH Zürich (May 2015 – June 2017): I worked in two different capacities there: first as a part time economics researcher for the MTEC department and second as a full time security researcher in the Computer Science department. We designed a system for rollback prevention for Intel SGX which resulted in a publication that has garnered more than a hundred citations.
- Paul Scherrer Institute (May 2013 – Aug 2013): This was an internship focused on designing modules for and updating a personnel scheduling and safety system.
- AIESEC Donetsk (Jun 2011 – July 2011): This pedagogical internship mainly comprised of teaching English to middle school students at a summer camp and the staff of the then-upcoming UEFA Euro championships.
- University of Cambridge (2017 – present): PhD in Computer Science
- ETH Zürich (2014 – 2016): MSc. in Computer Science
- Manipal Institute of Technology (2010 – 2014): B.E. Information Technology
Outside The Lab
I am President of the Cambridge Blockchain Society, a student-run organisation aimed at bringing the surprisingly large blockchain community in Cambridge together.
Writing is a passion of mine. I run the Cambridge Creative Writing Sessions weekly. If you’re in Cambridge and like to write, or just meet writers, do drop by!
Contact & External Links
- Academic: mansoor.ahmed AT cl.cam.ac.uk
- Other: mansoor AT ahmed-rengers.com.