Since 2021, I am a PhD candidate at UNSW Sydney in the field of Computer Science with a focus on privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs). As a multiple scholarship recipient, I receive funding from the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC) of Australia and the University International Postgraduate Award (UIPA) of UNSW. My PhD project focuses on the privacy-preserving publication of trajectories. I am honoured to work under the supervision of Prof. Salil Kanhere and Dr. Surya Nepal. My interests lie in all kinds of security & privacy related topics, in particular, in the protection of both personal and industrial data.
During the first project of my PhD candidature, I highlighted shortcomings of existing privacy-preserving publication mechanisms. Concretely, I designed a deep learning-based reconstruction attack which receives supposedly anonymized trajectories as input and reconstructs trajectories that are significantly closer to the sensitive, unprotected trajectories, and hence, reducing the privacy level of the released data. The corresponding paper Reconstruction Attack on Differential Private Trajectory Protection Mechanisms was published at the top cybersecurity conference ACSAC’22. My source code was published on GitHub and received the ACM functional badge as part of an Artifacts evaluation. At the moment, I am working on an improved protection scheme mitigating the found risks.
Prior to my PhD, I successfully completed a master’s degree in Computer Science at RWTH Aachen with excellence and an overall grade of 1.0 (highest German grade). My master’s thesis, written at the Chair of Communication and Distributed Systems (COMSYS) at RWTH Aachen, deals with the privacy-preserving exchange of process parameters considering a real-world use case from the domain of injection moulding. My master’s thesis was awarded the Vöcking Master Award and the FOLKS Award for the Best Master’s Thesis in 2020.
In 2017, I finished my bachelor’s degree with excellence at RWTH Aachen with an overall grade of 1.1 (German Grading). In the corresponding bachelor’s thesis, I designed, implemented, and evaluated a platform for the privacy-preserving and user-controlled exchange of private information. Afterwards, I undertook an exchange year at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
I have been a member of the dean’s list (best 5% of CS students at RWTH Aachen) from 2014 until 2020. Moreover, I was sponsored by the German education fund (Bildungsfonds) for 3 years during my studies. In 2016, I was awarded the best seminar award by FOLKS for my seminar paper on Bloom Cookies.
Furthermore, I worked as a teaching assistant for multiple subjects, including operating systems & system software, computability & complexity and introduction to business informatics. During my exchange year, I was running a python course for UTS housing that I had to organise from scratch. In 2019, I worked as a research assistant for a project regarding service bootstrapping via Bitcoin at COMSYS, RWTH Aachen which led to the publication of the paper Utilizing Public Blockchains for the Sybil-Resistant Bootstrapping of Distributed Anonymity Services at ASIACCS ’20. Additionally, my master’s thesis represents the foundation for the paper Privacy-Preserving Production Process Parameter Exchange, which was published at ACSAC ’20. I also contributed to the LASER’20 publication Collaboration is not Evil: A Systematic Look at Security Research for Industrial Use, which uses my master’s thesis as one major case study.
Personally, my main interests outside of IT are fitness and nutrition. I have been consistently training for over 10 years, with my current focus on competitive CrossFit and marathon running. I finished my fastest marathon in 3:52:54 in Sydney and my best half-marathon in 1:44:46 at the Ruhr region marathon. Moreover, I dance salsa, and enjoy cooking and exploring the world with my partner. You may find my personal blog (in German) at downunder.erikbuchholz.de.
- PhD Candidate at UNSW Sydney (expected completion 2024)
- Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC) – Scholarship Recipient
- Focus: Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs) – Trajectory Privacy
- Supervisors: Prof. Salil S. Kanhere and Dr. Surya Nepal
- Master Computer Science at RWTH Aachenwith distinction
- Final Grade: 1.0 (German Grading System)
- Study Focus: IT Security, Cryptography, Internet Technology, Seminar on App Fingerprinting
- Master’s Thesis: Privacy-Preserving Exchange of Process Parameters
- Applied Course: Business Administration
- Study Abroad at University of Technology Sydney for one year
- Grade 1.0/HD with ≥95% in all subjects
- Bachelor Computer Science at RWTH Aachenwith distinction
- Final Grade: 1.1 (German Grading System)
- Study Focus: Advanced & Mobile Internet Technology, Seminar on Privacy
- Bachelor’s Thesis: A User-controlled Data Market for Privacy-preserving Data Analyses
- Applied Course: Physics
- German Abitur at Albert-Schweitzer-Gymnasium with overall degree 1.0
- Focus Subjects: Physics, Maths, Chemistry.
Awards & Scholarships
- AGSE 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2023: People’s Choice & 2nd Place Overall
- ACSAC Student Conferenceship : 2022 – Valued at 1900 USD
- Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC) PhD Scholarship: Mai 2021 – Mai 2024
- University International Postgraduate Award (UIPA) Scholarship: Mai 2021 – November 2024
- FOLKS Award for the Best Master’s Thesis: 2020
- Vöcking Master Award: 2020 – Award for an outstanding master’s thesis in Computer Science
- ACSAC Student Conferenceship: 2020 – Free attendance of ACSAC’20 conference
- Final of eurobits e.V. Excellence Award: 2020
- Dean’s List RWTH Aachen(4x) (Top 5% of CS students): 2013/14, 2014/15, 2017/18, and 2019/20
- German Education Fund (3x): 2015/16, 2017/18, and 2018/19
- DAAD Year Scholarship for a year abroad at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS): 2017
- FOLKS Best Seminar Award: 2016
- Best High School Graduate in Wolfsburg: 2013
Qualifications & Leadership
- Leadership Foundations Program by UNSW Sydney: 2022
- Deep Learning Specialisation by DeepLearning.AI: 2021
- Personalized English Learning Enhancement Course at UNSW Sydney: 2021
- Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Certification: 2019
- UTS BUiLD Leadership Program Graduate: 2017
- Toastmasters Speechcraft Seminar: 2017
- German: Native speaker
- English: Fluent in speech and writing (both theses in English)
- Spanish: CEFR Level B2
- Little Lift: 2017
- Voluntary work in rural Australia
- Assisted in building leisure facilities (a new park for the community)
- Gardening and renovation at the village school
- Cleaning and improvements at the fire department
- DLRG Wolfsburg: 2011 – 2013
- Water rescue service
- Assistance for children swimming classes
- Fitness: competitive CrossFit, Marathon (3:52:54 in Sydney), (Sprint Triathlon 1:29:51 in Port Stephens) [STRAVA]
- Nutrition: Precision Nutrition certified
- Salsa Dancing
- Learning Spanish
- Downunder.erikbuchholz.de [GERMAN]