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Applied Physics Laboratory Cyber Vulnerability Researcher (PhD) in Laurel, Maryland

Position Description

Are you a creative and inventive researcher looking to hack and reverse engineer software and hardware devices?

Do you have experience with low-level hardware or embedded devices?

Are you passionate about directly impacting national security interests through your applied research?

If so, we want you to join our team of motivated researchers working on a diverse set of evolving challenges.

We are seeking dedicated individuals to perform purposeful research into cyber vulnerabilities supporting state-of-the-art cyber capability development. Our team focuses on analyzing systems to understand how they work and to determine how they behave when they break. We strive to develop groundbreaking technologies to defeat advanced security techniques.

As a member of our team...

  • You will hack hardware, firmware, and software.
  • You will join forces with team members in the analysis and reverse engineering of systems to identify and understand security vulnerabilities.
  • You can use internal funding opportunities to shape the direction of future research.
  • You will circulate knowledge by articulating ideas clearly through papers and presentations to technical staff, management, and government decision makers.
  • You will build forward-thinking solutions for prototype and operational systems.
  • You are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to participate in working groups, customer meetings, proposal writing, and conferences.

You meet our minimum qualifications for the job if you...

  • Possess a PhD in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, or a related technical degree.
  • Have experience in embedded development, reverse engineering, or hardware hacking.
  • Demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work independently and on a team.
  • Are an outstanding communicator in both written and verbal forms.
  • Hold an active Secret security clearance level security clearance. If selected, you will be subject to a government security clearance investigation and must meet the requirements for access to classified information. Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship. Are able to obtaina TS/SCI poly level security clearance.

You'll go above and beyond our minimum requirements if you...

  • Have held dynamic technical leadership roles for 5+ years.
  • Understand the internals of any major operating system, exploitation techniques, and mitigations.
  • Have experience reading or writing assembly (x86/x64, Arm, PowerPC, MIPS, or others).
  • Have had prior interactions with the DoD and IC communities.
  • Hold an active TS/SCI Clearance.

Why work at APL?

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) brings world-class expertise to our nation’s most critical defense, security, space and science challenges. With a wide selection of challenging, impactful work and a robust education assistance program, APL promotes a culture of life-long learning. Our employees enjoy generous benefits and healthy work/life balance. APL’s campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at

APL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.


Primary Location: United States-Maryland-*Laurel

Req ID: 24813