PhD scholarship in Cyber-Security and the Identification of Digital Ghost Ships

torsdag 11 aug 22

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Frist 30. september 2022
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We are looking for a bright and motivated PhD student for a 3-year fully funded PhD position starting 1 November 2022 (negotiable). The project is financed by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, and it is a collaboration between DTU, the University of Cambridge, the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Telenor Denmark. It is an excellent opportunity to be involved in advanced research on cyber-security, with important practical applications.

The project’s emphasis will be on digital ghost ships (DGS). A DGS is defined as any online resource (e.g. an IoT device) that has been connected to the Internet and has been subsequently abandoned (in terms of management, updates, or security patches). Hence, DGS may include systems with default usernames and passwords as well as systems that lack important security updates. We aim at proposing novel ways for identifying such DGS, which is the first step into making them secure or taking them down. To do this, the project will not only research novel network detection techniques but also examine how human psychology plays a role in creating DGS.

Responsibilities and qualifications
Upon joining this project, you will become a member of the Section for Cybersecurity Engineering. You will also join the DTU Compute PhD school and take part in its courses and activities.  As part of your PhD training and research activities, you will have research stays at the academic collaborators’ universities.  

Your main tasks within this project will be:

  • becoming familiar with state-of-the-art research in device fingerprinting, Internet-level network scanning and honeypot fingerprinting;
  • study the field of cyber-security psychology;
  • explore new methods to identify DGS based on both network methods and cyber-security psychology. 

Your duties will also include some Teaching Assistance work at DTU, and (if you wish) the co-supervision of BSc and MSc student projects related to your research.

To be considered for the position, you need some familiarity with cyber-security and computer networks.  You will need to document these skills by listing the relevant university courses you took, or the relevant experience you have.

It will be an advantage if you can also document good programming skills (e.g. in Python).

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. You can apply prior to obtaining the degree, providing the expected graduation date.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education

The assessment of the applicants will take place in early October 2022.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The expected starting date for the PhD position is 1st November 2022 (or the earliest available date, by mutual agreement).

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
For further information and inquiries, please contact Emmanouil Vasilomanolakis at   

You can read more about DTU Compute at and about the Cybersecurity Engineering Section at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 30 September 2022 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Compute
DTU Compute is a unique and internationally recognized academic environment spanning the science disciplines mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering. We conduct research, teaching and innovation of high international standard - producing new knowledge and technology-based solutions to societal challenges. We have a long-term involvement in applied and interdisciplinary research, big data and data science, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), smart and secure societies, smart manufacturing, and life science.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.