Past Cryptography Seminar

24 February 2016
Zero-knowledge proofs enable a prover to convince a verifier that a statement is true without revealing anything but the truth of the statement. In recent years there has been a lot of effort in making the proofs succinct, i.e., the proof may be much smaller than the statement itself and be very easy for the verifier to check. The talk will give a general introduction to zero-knowledge proofs and a presentation of a new pairing-based succinct non-interactive argument system.
  • Cryptography Seminar
17 February 2016
Razvan Barbulescu
The security of pairings-based cryptography relies on the difficulty of two problems: computing discrete logarithms over elliptic curves and, respectively, finite fields GF(p^n) when n is a small integer larger than 1. The real-life difficulty of the latter problem was tested in 2006 by a record in a field GF(p^3) and in 2014 and 2015 by new records in GF(p^2), GF(p^3) and GF(p^4). We will present the new methods of polynomial selection which allowed to obtain these records. Then we discuss the difficulty of DLP in GF(p^6) and GF(p^12) when p has a special form (SNFS) for which two theoretical algorithms were presented recently.
  • Cryptography Seminar
3 February 2016
Elham Kashefi

The concept of delegated quantum computing is a quantum extension of  
the classical task of computing with encrypted data without decrypting  
them first. Many quantum protocols address this challenge for a  
futuristic quantum client-server setting achieving a wide range of  
security properties. The central challenge of all these protocols to  
be applicable for classical tasks (such as secure multi party  
computation or fully homomorphic encryption) is the requirement of a  
server with a universal quantum computer. By restricting the task to  
classical computation only, we derive a protocol for unconditionally  
secure delegation of classical computation to a remote server that has  
access to basic quantum devices.

  • Cryptography Seminar
27 January 2016

STAR-Vote is voting system that results from a collaboration between a number of
academics and the Travis County, Texas elections office, which currently uses a
DRE voting system and previously used an optical scan voting system. STAR-Vote
represents a rare opportunity for a variety of sophisticated technologies, such
as end-to-end cryptography and risk limiting audits, to be designed into a new
voting system, from scratch, with a variety of real world constraints, such as
election-day vote centers that must support thousands of ballot styles and run
all day in the event of a power failure.
We present and motivate the design of the STAR-Vote system, the benefits that we
expect from it, and its current status.

This is based on joint work with Josh Benaloh, Mike Byrne, Philip Kortum,
Neal McBurnett, Ron Rivest, Philip Stark, Dan Wallach
and the Office of the Travis County Clerk

  • Cryptography Seminar
20 January 2016
Nigel Smart

In recent years there has been amazing progress in building
practical protocols for Multi-Party Computation (MPC).
So much progress in fact that there are now a number of
companies producing products utilizing this technology. A major issue with existing solutions is the high round
complexity of protocols involving more than two players. In this talk I will survey the main protocols for MPC
and recent ideas in how to obtain practical low round
complexity protocols.

  • Cryptography Seminar
9 December 2015
Due to its use in cryptographic protocols such as the Diffie--Hellman
key exchange, the discrete logarithm problem attracted a considerable
amount of attention in the past 40 years. In this talk, we summarize
the key technical ideas and their evolution for the case of discrete
logarithms in small characteristic finite fields. This road leads from
the original belief that this problem was hard enough for
cryptographic purpose to the current state of the art where the
algorithms are so efficient and practical that the problem can no
longer be considered for cryptographic use.
  • Cryptography Seminar
11 November 2015

Quantum computers derive their computational power from the ability to manipulate superposition states of quantum registers. The generic quantum attack against a symmetric encryption scheme with key length n using Grover's algorithm has O(2^(n/2)) time complexity. For this kind of attack, an adversary only needs classical access to an encryption oracle. In this talk I discuss adversaries with quantum superposition access to encryption and decryption oracles. First I review and extend work by Kuwakado and Morii showing that a quantum computer with superposition access to an encryption oracle can break the Even-Mansour block cipher with key length n using only O(n) queries. Then, improving on recent work by Boneh and Zhandry, I discuss indistinguishability notions in chosen plaintext and chosen ciphertext attacks by a quantum adversary with superposition oracle access and give constructions that achieve these security notions.

  • Cryptography Seminar
4 November 2015

The Learning with Errors (LWE) problem has become a central building block of modern cryptographic constructions. We will discuss hardness results for concrete instances of LWE. In particular, we discuss algorithms proposed in the literature and give the expected resources required to run them. We consider both generic instances of LWE as well as small secret variants. Since for several methods of solving LWE we require a lattice reduction step, we also review lattice reduction algorithms and propose a refined model for estimating their running times. We also give concrete estimates for various families of LWE instances, provide a Sage module for computing these estimates and highlight gaps in the knowledge about algorithms for solving the Learning with Errors problem.

  • Cryptography Seminar