Report: BalkanCryptSec 2015

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I attended the second annual International Conference on Cryptography and Information Security that took place 03-04 September in Koper, Slovenia in the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies (FAMNIT). Koper is a beautiful cozy coastal town on the Adriatic Sea. There were three invited talks:

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Kaisa Nyberg (Aalto University, Finland) spoke about progress in correcting models for linear cryptanalysis. The recent work shows that previous attack models made unjustified assumptions, leading to underestimation of cryptanalytic attack effort for symmetric cryptographic primitive designs. For those of you that don’t know, Kaisa is a pioneer in provable cryptanalysis properties: e.g. her work on S-Boxes directly influenced the AES design.

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Alex Pott (Otto von Guericke University, Germany) spoke about many interesting open problems in geometry. His talk highlighted the connection between geometry and cryptography, and called for greater cooperation between these fields to expedite progress and achieve common goals. To me, it seems like codes and cryptography were fields in a similar situation decades ago, so maybe there’s hope to see such synergy and collaboration.

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Bill Brumley (Tampere University of Technology, Finland) spoke about progress in software-based side-channel attacks against implementations of cryptosystems. I even gave a demo ūüôā If the audience members took away anything, I hope it was the message that attacks only get better — building on some of my initial work in 2009, over the years talented researchers have reduced the data complexity by three orders of magnitude.

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To conclude, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Koper and appreciate the friendliness and thoughtful arrangements by the conference organizers. Go check out the contributed talks!

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