About

As every “About Me” pages does, the following is an attempt to convince you that I’m an awesome person doing extremely interesting things. The small things that truly determine one’s life will be mostly ignored, as is done in all about pages.

 

The formal bio

I am a professor in the DistriNet (Distributed Systems and Computer Networks) research group of the Department of Computer Science at KU Leuven. Previously I was a postdoctoral researcher at New York University Abu Dhabi in the CSP (Cyber Security & Privacy) lab of Christina Pöpper. I obtained my PhD at KU Leuven in 2016 under supervision of Frank Piessens, and obtained my Master and Bachelor degree at Hasselt University in Belgium.

For my contact details see my profile page at KU Leuven. My PGP key fingerprint is 40FE C75D 8E27 439B 2FCF  BFF9 D2F5 B295 95A9 87F5.


Research Interests

My main research interests are in network and system security, where I like to analyze the security of real-world systems over the full network stack, and bridge the gap between theory and practice. This often encompasses analyzing software security and applied cryptography aspects of systems. I especially focus on wireless protocols where I analyze the security of implementations, privacy properties of deployed protocols and systems, authentication and security protocols, denial of service attacks, and so on.

 

Old Hobby Projects

  • Gandanur: This is a program for the game Halo: Combat Evolved. It extends the server with voting abilities, player and admin management functions, remote control tools, and several other features that the original game lacked. It’s made by reverse engineering the halo server and programmed in assembly and C++. You could say that Gandanur is a hack (in a good way) to improve the original program. There was an active collaboration with other projects such as halorank and haloanticheat, where they relied on the functionality and stability of Gandanur.
  • Halo Tools: Two other tools I made for Halo, called the Sightjacker and Version Changer, also tended to be popular among the Halo 1 community. The Sightjacker can be used to catch cheaters while the Version Changer allows you to play on all versions of Halo 1.

Random notes

  • Check out the #IO wargame. Each level mainly deals with binary exploitation (buffer overflows, reversing assembly code, common C flaws, etc). These challenges are very well-design and are usually better than the average CTF challenge. It's a great way to improve your skills!
  • I discovered the KRACK attack against WPA2.
  • "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
 

Recent PC Memberships

  • 9th Security Standardisation Research Conference (SSR '23)
  • 15th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless & Mobile Networks (WiSec '23)
  • 18th ACM ASIA Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ASIA CCS '23)
  • 44th IEEE Security and Privacy (S&P '23)
  • 14th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless & Mobile Networks (WiSec '22)
  • 31th ACM The Web Conference (formerly WWW - TheWebConf '22)
  • 7th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (Euro S&P '22)
  • 17th ACM ASIA Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ASIA CCS '22)
  • 28th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS '21)
  • 30th ACM The Web Conference (formerly WWW - TheWebConf '21)
  • 26th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS '21)
  • 16th ACM ASIA Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ASIA CCS '21)
  • 13th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless & Mobile Networks (WiSec '21)
  • 26th ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies (SACMAT '21)
  • 5th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (Euro S&P '20)
  • 13th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless & Mobile Networks (WiSec '20)
  • 29th ACM The Web Conference (formerly WWW - TheWebConf '20) 
  • 16th International Workshop on Security and Trust Management (STM '20)
  • 17th SIG SIDAR Conference on Detection of Intrusions and Malware & Vulnerability Assessment (DIMVA '20)
  • 14th IARIA International Conference on Emerging Security Information, Systems and Technologies (SECURWARE '20)
  • 4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (Euro S&P '19)
  • 12th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless & Mobile Networks (WiSec '19)
  • 15th Workshop on Security and Trust Management (STM '19)
  • 12th USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies (USENIX WOOT '18)

Selected Academic Service

  • General co-chair of the 14th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless & Mobile Network (WiSec '21).
  • Chair of the 3rd Workshop on Attacks in Cryptography (WAC '20), co-located with the CRYPTO conference.
  • Chair of the Demo and Poster session at the 13th Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless & Mobile Network (WiSec '20).
  • Chaired sessions at the EuroS&P '20, WiSec '20, WiSec '19, and USENIX WOOT '18 conferences.

Notable Publications

T. Van Goethem, C. Pöpper, W. Joosens, and M. Vanhoef. Timeless Timing Attacks: Exploiting Concurrency to Leak Secrets over Remote Connections. In USENIX Security Symposium, 2020. Presents a new paradigm to perform highly accurate remote timing attacks.

M. Vanhoef, P. Adhikari, and C. Pöpper. Protecting Wi-Fi Beacons from Outsider Forgeries. In 13th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (WiSec), 2020. On the roadmap to become part of WPA3.

M. Vanhoef and E. Ronen. Dragonblood: Analyzing the Dragonfly Handshake of WPA3 and EAP-pwd. In Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Security & Privacy (SP '20), 2020. Won the Best Cryptographic Attack Award (Pwnie) at Black Hat USA.

M. Vanhoef and F. Piessens. Key Reinstallation Attacks: Forcing Nonce Reuse in WPA2. In Proceedings of the 24th ACM Conference on Computer and Communication Security (CCS 2017), 2017. Won the Real-World Impact Award at CCS and received the Industry Recognition Award from the Wi-Fi Alliance for outstanding research contributions

M. Vanhoef and F. Piessens. Advanced WiFi Attacks Using Commodity Hardware. In Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC), 2014. The test-bed that this paper describes has been used in more than a dozen independent research projects.

See Publications for all other publications.