Today I'm going to write about two interesting talks from the WISTP 2011 conference which deserve some attention. The first was Pim Tuyls talk on intrinsic PUFs. It was an invited talk like yesterday's talk by David Naccache but unlike yesterdays talk it didn't focus on research to come but on a topic that has mostly moved from the world of research to the world of product development: Intrinsic PUFs. Pim Tuyls described the security advantages of PUFs very convincingly but even more outstanding in his talk was another advantage of intrinsic PUFs: They can be implemented as soon as a new semiconductor technology step (for example 28nm technology) is available and doesn't have to wait for non-volatile memory such as flash to be available in that technology. Considering that it usually takes considerable amount of time between the availability of a technology step and the availability of non-volatile memory in the same technology, this is quite an important advantage.
The second talk I have to mention is Matt Henricksen's talk on AES variants secure against related-key attacks. I am not going to describe their paper in great detail as I am not convinced that the AES standard will be modified to support another key schedule anytime soon (not least of all because the practical relevance of related-key attacks is contestable) but I have another reason for selecting this talk: It was a good demonstration that something as "trivial" as a key schedule should not be neglected in research. Indeed, as far as AES is considered, the problem of designing a symmetric cipher seems to be better understood than the problem of designing a key schedule for this cipher. Matt's talk made it clear that they have made an important contribution to solving this problem and I look forward to read their paper (even though I'm not an expert for the design of symmetric ciphers).