Monday, January 13, 2014

Real World Cryptography

Today saw the start of the third Real World Cryptography workshop. This follows on from two earlier meetings (one in Cambridge UK, and one in Stanford, USA). This years event is being held in a the Great Hall at the City University of New York, an amazing venue with stained glass windows, painted walls, and lots of ornate carvings.  The event is going from strength to strength with over 400 registrants at this years meeting, making it one of the largest cryptographic conferences to be held this year.
The programme contains a number of sessions ranging in topics from Bitcoin, TLS, PRNGs, Automobile security, Multi-Party Computation, Payment Card Systems. On Wednesday we are going to have a talk and  Q&A session with Bruce Schneier on "The Fallout from Snowden". Around half the talks are from industry and around half from academia. So true to prior meetings the event provides a meeting place where academia and industry can exchange ideas and problems.
The conference comes at the start of 2014, which has been called the year of encryption in a recent BBC article. It would appear that following the revelations last year, we are finally going to see encryption turned on by default in various applications. In addition many organizations are working to turn off legacy systems and move to more modern systems. 
One can see this in articles which say that companies are moving to "Forward Secure" systems; this is a form of cryptography where even if one records all your encrypted conversations it is impossible to decrypt the conversation in the future by breaking someones long term key. In other words for each encrypted conversation one needs to break an individual session key to recover the data. This is because we have learned to protect systems against very powerful adversaries who could be able to record all of our encrypted conversations.

Follow the conference on Twitter using hashtags: #realworldcrypto and #rwcw

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