Matt Blaze

Matt Blaze is a researcher in the areas of secure systems, cryptography, and trust management. He is currently the McDevitt Chair of Computer Science and Law at Georgetown University, [2][4] and is on the board of directors of the Tor Project.[5]

Matt Blaze
Matt Blaze DEF CON 20.jpg
Matt Blaze at DEF CON 20 in 2012
Alma materPrinceton University
Columbia University
Hunter College[1]
Known forCryptography
Trust management
Scientific career
FieldsComputer security
Distributed systems[1]
InstitutionsGeorgetown University[2]
University of Pennsylvania[1]
Bell Labs[3]


Blaze received his PhD in Computer Science from Princeton University.

In 1992, while working for AT&T, Blaze implemented a strong cryptographic package known as "CFS", the Cryptographic File System, for Unix, since ported to Linux.[6] CFS uses Network File System as its transport mechanism, allowing users to encrypt selected directory hierarchies, but mount them unencrypted after providing the key. In November, 1993, he presented a paper on this project, "A Cryptographic File System for Unix", at the 1st ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.[7] Blaze also published a paper "Key Management in an Encrypting File System", in the Proceedings USENIX Summer 1994 Technical Conference.

In the early 1990s, at the height of the "crypto war", Blaze was a participant in the Cypherpunks mailing list[8] and in 1994, he found a critical weakness in the wiretapping mechanisms of the Clipper chip.[3] His paper, Protocol Failure in the Escrowed Encryption Standard,[9] pointed out that the Clipper's escrow system had a serious vulnerability: a brute-force attack could allow the Clipper chip to be used as an encryption device, while disabling the key escrow capability.[9][10][11] Later during this time, he was one of the authors of a seminal paper on calculating secure key lengths.[12]

After leaving Bell, Blaze was an Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania[13] from 2004 to 2018.[2] He then joined the faculty at Georgetown University, on a joint appointment at Georgetown Law and the Department of Computer Science.

In 2015, Blaze was part of a team of proponents that included Steven M. Bellovin, J. Alex Halderman, Nadia Heninger, and Andrea M. Matwyshyn who successfully proposed a security research exemption to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[14]

In July 2016, the complete board of the Tor Project resigned and announced a new board, including Matt Blaze.[15][16]

In 2018, crypto Visa card company Monaco paid Blaze an undisclosed amount for the rights to the domain[17]


  • Ph.D., Computer Science, January 1993. Princeton University. (Dissertation: Caching in Large-Scale Distributed File Systems)
  • M.A., Computer Science, June 1989. Princeton University.
  • M.S., Computer Science, May 1988. Columbia University
  • B.S., January 1986. City University of New York (Hunter College).



  1. ^ a b c "Penn Engineering - Research Directory Profile". Princeton University. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "One of World's Leading Computer and Network Security Experts Joins Georgetown Faculty". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b Markoff, John (3 June 1994). "At AT&T, No Joy on Clipper Flaw". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Matthew Blaze Moves to Georgetown University". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (13 July 2016). "Tor Project, a Digital Privacy Group, Reboots With New Board". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Using CFS, the Cryptographic Filesystem", Oct 15, 2002, Jerry Sweet, Linux Journal
  7. ^ "A Cryptographic File System for Unix", Matt Blaze,
  8. ^ Rodger, Will (30 November 2001). "Cypherpunks RIP". The Register. Retrieved 14 July 2016. Past participants include noted cryptographers such as Matt Blaze ...
  9. ^ a b Blaze, Matt (August 20, 1994). "Protocol Failure in the Escrowed Encryption Standard" (PDF). Proceedings of the 2nd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security: 59–67.
  10. ^ Security Flaw Allows Wiretaps to Be Evaded, Study Finds", John Schwartz and John Markoff, New York Times, November 30, 2005
  11. ^ Between a Hacker and a Hard Place", Peter H. Lewis, New York Times, April 10, 1995
  12. ^ Blaze, Matt; Diffie, Whitefield; Rivest, Ronald L.; Schneier, Bruce; Shimomura, Tsutomu; Thompson, Eric; Wiener, Michael (January 1996). "Minimal key lengths for symmetric ciphers to provide adequate commercial security". Fortify. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Penn Engineering Profile". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Section 1201 Rulemaking: Sixth Triennial Proceeding to Determine Exemptions to the Prohibition on Circumvention" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Tor Project installs new board of directors after Jacob Appelbaum controversy", Colin Lecher, July 13, 2016, The Verge
  16. ^ "The Tor Project Elects New Board of Directors", July 13th, 2016,
  17. ^ Russell, Jon (8 July 2018). "Crypto Visa card company Monaco just spent millions to buy". TechCrunch.

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