News & EventsEvents and Seminars

Seminar: What if NSA could break all "conditional" cryptosystems?

Title: What if NSA could break all "conditional" crypto systems?

Speaker: Prof Yvo Desmedt (UT Dallas)

Date/Time: 25th June 2015, 11.00 AM

Venue: K17/113, Level-1 Seminar Room, CSE/UNSW.

Host: Prof Sanjay Jha (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Researchers today are extremely confident of their work on cryptography. Many believe that AES is secure and that RSA will only be broken when a "big" quantum computer is built. Some state that the Snowden leaks have not revealed that NSA is capable of breaking these systems.
However, they fail to mention that only 3% of the Snowden leaks got published and that lawyers of the newspapers restricted other publications out of fear to loose in court in the case of a prosecution by the state.
History teaches us that no cryptosystem has lasted more than 300 years.
Moreover, the original key length of RSA was too short.

In this lecture we deal with a scenario in which all trust in above and similar cryptosystems have been broken. We then explain how a sender and receiver can communicate securely even if they never met in person and never exchanged a secret key before.

The technical name for the solution is called Perfectly Secure Message Transmission. We survey what has been achieved and explain some of the techniques that have been used.


Yvo Desmedt is the Jonsson Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, and is the chair of Information Communication Technology at the University College London and a Fellow of the International Association of Cryptologic Research (IACR). He received his Ph.D. (1984, Summa cum Laude) from the University of Leuven, Belgium. He held positions
at: Universite de Montreal, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (founding director of the Center for Cryptography, Computer and Network Security), and Florida State University (Director of the Laboratory of Security and Assurance in Information Technology, one of the first 14 NSA Centers of Excellence). He has held numerous visiting appointments. He is the Editor-in-Chief of IET Information Security and Chair of the Steering Committees of CANS and ICITS. He was Program Chair of e.g., Crypto 1994, the ACM Workshop on Scientific Aspects of Cyber Terrorism 2002, and ISC 2013. He has authored over 200 refereed papers, primarily on cryptography, computer security, and network security. He has made important predictions, such as his 1983 technical description how cyber could be used to attack control systems (realized by Stuxnet), and his 1996 prediction hackers will target Certifying Authorities (DigiNotar was targeted in 2011).


Professor Yvo Desmedt visited CSE in June 2015

Distinguished Professor Yvo Desmedt, from University of Texas at Dallas and University College London, visited CSE for a period of 10 days in June 2015. Professor Sanjay Jha, head of NetSyS and director of CySPri Laboratory, hosted this visit and students in security research group had the chance to present their work and discuss collaboration with the renowned cryptographer and computer security researcher. Also, a talk was organised on 25th of June about breaking conditional crypto systems, which was appreciated by audience from CSE, NICTA and few other universities.

Yvos visit phot

[Left-to-Right]: Chitra Javali, Yvo Desmedt, Sanjay Jha, Jun Young, Mohsen Rezvani, Girish Revadigar, Arash Shaghaghi.

New security course offered by CySPri in S1, 2015

CySPri's director, Professor Sanjay Jha, is teaching a new security course for S1, 2015 at CSE, UNSW.

Securing Wireless Networks: As wireless technology emerges into the mainstream of the networking and communications markets, security becomes a top priority. This course will explore the security vulnerabilities in wireless networks and cover the fundamental concepts and advanced issues for building sensor networks. The following key concepts will be covered: Wireless LAN Security - Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), Authentication Servers (RADIUS), 802.11i security standard; Securing Ad-Hoc Networks - MAC layer misbehaviours, secure routing protocols, denial of service attacks, key management, broadcast authentication, secure location discovery, non-traditional security attacks and solutions. This course includes a hands-on laboratory component and a design project.

This course is available both for undergrads and post-graduates, so don't miss out!

For more information about course offered by our lab check our Course section.

Workshop: Securing Internet of Things (IoT)

The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) provides tremendous opportunity, but also tremendous risk. To address the unique IoT security challenges, Australian Centre for Cyber Security is organising a one day “Securing IoT” workshop at the UNSW, Sydney on 18 Nov. 2014. The aim is to advance secure IoT research, and to build a community within Australia with a view to explore future collaboration, funding and other initiatives.

Please find the details here.



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