Mostafa Taha


Mostafa Taha

PhD Student
Secure Embedded Systems Lab
Center for Embedded Systems for Critical Applications (CESCA)
Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone: (540) 394 1384

a PDF version of my C.V. can be downloaded from here

My Pic


A postdoc position focusing on Cryptographic Engineering and protection against Implementation Attacks


  1. Doctor of Philosophy, Computer Engineering
    Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA          GPA 3.88        May 2014 [Expected]
    DISSERTATION: New Directions in Side-Channel Analysis
  2. Master of Science, Electrical Engineering
    Assiut University, Egypt          GPA 3.62        December 2008
    THESIS: Broadcasting protocols in Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks (thesis - defense).
  3. Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering
    Assiut University, Egypt          GPA 3.86        May 2004
    B.Sc. Project entitled “Identification of fingerprint using Wavelet Transform” (project paper part 1, 2).

Research Experience:

My research focuses on mounting/protecting against Implementation Attacks, a field of Cryptographic Engineering. During my PhD research, I participated in the following projects:
  • Attacking Block-Ciphers:
    • Power Attacks: We proposed a novel method for analyzing high parallel implementations. The power consumption of AES on SASEBO-GII was exploited, and the results were presented at ICCD-2012.
    • Fault Attacks: Together with N. Ghalaty, we proposed a new concept for mounting fault attacks. The results of this project are currently under review.
  • Protecting Block-Ciphers:
    • Hiding: Together with S. Mane, we designed a set of balanced custom instructions for block ciphers. We used electromagnetic radiation of Nios-II/s on Cyclone-II FPGA, and the results were presented at FPL-2012.
    • Masking: Together with H. Eldib, we developed a metric for quantifying the masking strength of software implementation right from the source code. The results were accepted at DAC-2014.
    • Leakage Resiliency: We proposed a lightweight core to update the secret key of block-ciphers at every execution, hence provably preventing any differential attack. Preliminary results were presented at DIAC-2013, while the latest results are currently under review.
  • Attacking Hashing Functions: We exploited the power consumption of the new SHA-3 hashing standard. We targeted SHA-3 running on on Microblaze processor of Spartan-3E. We also collected results from 0.13$\mu$m ASIC on SASEBO-R platform. Results of this project were presented in HOST-2013, and IWSEC-2013.
  • Protecting Hashing Functions: We developed a core for all the keyed and unkeyed applications of SHA-3, where the side-channel protection can be turned on and off. The results of this project are currently under review.

MSc Research:
During the MSc degree, we proposed a reliable broadcasting protocol for life-safety messages in Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks (VANETs). Results of this research were presented in ISSPIT-2007 and VTC-2008.


  1. M. Taha, P. Schaumont `Side-Channel Countermeasure for SHA-3 at Almost-Zero Area Overhead,' Under review.
  2. M. Taha, S. Faust, P. Schaumont `A Lightweight Add-On Construction Turning AES Standard Modes Into Leakage Resilient Modes,' Under review.
  3. N. Ghalaty, M. Taha, P. Schaumont `Differential Fault Intensity Analysis,' Under review.
  4. H. Eldib, C. Wang, M. Taha, P. Schaumont `QMS: Evaluating the side-channel resistance of masked software from source code,' The 51th Design Automation Conference (DAC-2014), June 2014.
  5. M. Taha, P. Schaumont `Differential Power Analysis of MAC-Keccak at Any Key-Length,' the 8th International Workshop on Security (IWSEC-2013), Okinawa, Japan, November 2013.
  6. M. Taha, P. Schaumont `Side-Channel Analysis of MAC-Keccak,' IEEE International Symposium on Hardware-Oriented Security and Trust (HOST-2013), June 2013 [nominated best paper].
  7. M. Taha, P. Schaumont `A Novel Profiled Side-Channel Attack in Presence of High Algorithmic Noise,' IEEE International Conference on Computer Design (ICCD-2012), September 2012.
  8. S. Mane, M. Taha, P. Schaumont, `Efficient and Side-Channel-Secure Block Cipher Implementation with Custom Instructions on FPGA,' International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL-2012), August 2012.
  9. M. Taha, Y. Hasan `A Novel Headway-Based Vehicle-to-Vehicle Multi-Mode Broadcasting Protocol,' IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC-2008), September 2008. (PDF)
  10. M. Taha, Y. Hasan, `VANET-DSRC Protocol for Reliable Broadcasting of Life Safety Messages,' IEEE International Symposium on Signal Processing and Information Technology (ISSPIT-07), December 2007. (PDF, Talk)


Posters, Newsletters and Talks:
  1. M. Taha, P. Schaumont `A Key Management Scheme for DPA-Protected Authenticated Encryption,' Directions in Authenticated Ciphers (DIAC-2013), August 2013.
  2. M. Taha, P. Schaumont `Side-Channel Analysis of MAC-Keccak,' Annual Workshop of Virginia Tech's Center for Embedded Systems for Critical Applications (CESCA), April 2013.
  3. M. Taha `The Birth of a New Hashing Standard: SHA-3,' CESCA Newsletter, February 2013. (PDF)
  4. M. Taha, P. Schaumont `High Dimensional Leakage Modeling of Combinational Logic Circuits,' Annual Workshop of Virginia Tech's Center for Embedded Systems for Critical Applications (CESCA), May 2012.


  • 2009-2013 Awarded a scholarship by the Egyptian Government to study the PhD Degree.
  • 2004-2008 Awarded a scholarship to study the MSc Degree, Assiut University.
  • 2004 Awarded Mobinil Company Research Grant.
  • 2008 Awarded a travel grant to attend the Global Knowledge Forum NOOR-2008, Almadina, KSA.
  • 2004 A scholastic rank of 2nd / 163 in the Bachelor Degree, Assiut University.

Teaching Experience:

Assisted in teaching the following courses through blackboard demonstration, answering questions and lab supervision:
  • Design with Microcontrollers (Senior)
  • Microwave Circuits (Senior)
  • Wave Propagation and Antennas (Senior)
  • Design and Analysis of Communication Networks (Senior)
  • Digital Electronics (Junior)
  • Computer Programming (Junior)
  • Electric Circuits Theory (Junior)
Supervised the following bachelor graduation projects:
  • Scalable Video Streaming over Mobile WiMAX.
  • RFID Library System.
  • Design and Implementation of Autonomous Robot.
  • WiFi operated Robot using PIC 18f452 microcontroller and WiFi CF+ card.
  • Video over IP utilizing SPIHT 3D compression algorithm.


  • 2013 Directions in Authenticated Ciphers Workshop (DIAC-2013), Chicago IL.
  • 2012 CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshop, Washington DC.
  • 2011 Side-Channel Analysis Workshop at Cryptography Research, San Francisco CA.
  • 2007 Session Chair in the IEEE International Symposium on Signal Processing and Information Technology (ISSPIT 07), Cairo Egypt.
  • 2007 Faculty and Leadership Development Program, Assiut University (FLDP).
  • 2003 Student training at Al Baath University, Syria.
  • 2002 Student training at Budapest Polytechnic, Hungary.
  • 2001 Student training at Warsaw University of Technology, Poland.


  • IACR Member since 2012
  • IEEE Student Member since 2012

Academic Services:

Reviewer for journals:
  • IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems.
  • IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration Systems
  • Elsevier Microprocessors and Microsystems
  • IEEE embedded systems letters
  • IET Circuits, Devices & Systems
Reviewer for conferences:
  • DATE'12,'14;
  • HOST'13,'14;
  • COSADE'12,'14;
  • IWSEC'13;
  • HASP'13;
  • FPL'12;
  • ISCAS'12;