The Department of Informatics is looking to appoint a highly motivated Postdoctoral Researcher to join our team for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, jointly funded by Innovate UK, ControlPlane and King’s College London. In this exciting role, you will bridge the gap between academia and industry, applying formal methods to real-world security challenges in the Cloud Native space: you will be working on KubeSec-AFM, a prototype to formally assess the security posture of Kubernetes clusters.

Kubernetes is a Cloud Native technology that is changing the way software applications are deployed and run in Cloud by providing automated deployment, scaling and management capabilities. Therefore, ensuring its security is critical. Existing methods to ensure Kubernetes’ security rely on maintaining databases of human expertise, cyber-attacks, and platform misconfigurations. However, it is currently impossible to compile a complete list of potential risks to guarantee that teams can securely use Kubernetes. This may leave critical Cloud infrastructure exposed. The main aim of this job is to use formal methods to assess Kubernetes security and enable companies to optimise cost and risk and ensure the security of critical cloud infrastructure.

The key objectives are: (i) develop a formal mathematical approach to ensure Kubernetes security, (ii) build a prototype to assess live deployments and determine state of insecurity / misconfigurations, (iii) produce a technology- maturation roadmap to transform this prototype into a commercial product.

The successful candidate will report to the Business Partner Supervisor, Francesco Beltramini (Head of Technical Solutions), and will work closely with Prof. Luca Viganò and Dr. Fabio Pierazzi from the Department of Informatics at King’s College London, who provide support and guidance.

ControlPlane is a Cloud Native and Open Source cybersecurity consultancy with industry-leading expertise in securing cloud infrastructure for regulated industries. ControlPlane excels in securing Kubernetes and Cloud Native stacks for numerous customers (international banks, UK and Scottish Government - including Innovate UK, Critical National Infrastructure, and other major cloud providers).

The staff and students of the Department of Informatics come from all over the world and the department is proud of its friendly and inclusive culture. For further information about the Department of Informatics at King’s, please see https://nms.kcl.ac.uk/luc.moreau/informatics/overview.pdf. The successful candidate will be a member of the Cybersecurity Group and of the Security Hub, please see https://www.kcl.ac.uk/research/cys and https://www.kcl.ac.uk/research/security-informatics.

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 2 years. This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent.

The successful candidate is expected to:

  • Lead the collaboration between academia and the industry partner to understand business needs, challenges and the mission for the KTP initiative. 
  • Apply formal methods, including model checking and theorem proving, to solve complex problems.
  • Develop and maintain software tools, predominantly using Python or Go, to support research objectives.
  • Translate research findings into practical solutions that drive innovation and business growth.
  • Foster a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration between academia and industry.
  • Maintain an outstanding track record of published research at a level of international excellence.
  • Lead the collaboration between academia and the industry partner to understand business needs, challenges and the mission for the KTP initiative.

Essential Criteria:

  • Ph.D. in Computer Science or a related field.
  • Solid knowledge in cybersecurity, formal methods, computer science.
  • Knowledge in CloudNative technologies.
  • Proficiency in Python or Go and the ability to develop software tools.
  • Enthusiasm to work collaboratively with colleagues in academia and industry.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Willingness to travel to attend conferences to present project results.
  • Solid publication record in high-quality journals and/or conference proceedings.
  • Business acumen or the willingness to develop a business mindset.

This exciting opportunity combines academic and industrial research, and thus provides an optimal springboard for any chosen career. To support that, the position includes several opportunities (and budget and time) for the associate’s training and development, including small projects, development courses and world-wide renowned conferences. The selection process will include a technical task, a presentation and a panel interview that will take place online. A final interview will be required with the Business Partner to ensure alignment with the company core values. Initial interviews are scheduled to be held in June 2024. Scheduling will be confirmed once shortlisting has taken place.

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