What I Learned at RWC 2018

The second week in January saw the Real World Cryptography conference return to Europe.

Held in Zurich from Jan 10th to Jan 12th, it is the annual gathering which brings together cryptographers industry and academia to discuss how to make the world a more secure place. Real World Crypto 2018 was the biggest event ever, with over 600 participants, and Unbound Tech was proud to be one of the sponsors of this event.

The first day was dominated by discussions on how cryptography is used at scale in major enterprises. The first session dealt with the issue of dealing with millions of users, encrypting large amounts of data in a global cloud infrastructure. Whereas the afternoon was dominated by the usability of security; both from an end-user, corporate and programmers point of view.

The second major theme of the conference was physical and side-channel security. The previous week had seen the release of the Spectre and Meltdown attacks. The conference had a number of the contributors to these attacks in attendance. And Google’s Jann Horn gave the audience an overview of these devastating new attacks.

Further evidence of these types of attacks was also presented by  Yuval Yarom and Daniel Genkin on implementations of a so-called side-channel resistant elliptic curve.

On a more positive note the conference also saw the award of the 2018 Levchin prizes in Real World Crypto. These went to Hugo Krawczyk, “for the development of real-world cryptographic schemes with strong security guarantees and proofs” and to the OpenSSL Team, “for dramatic improvements to the code quality of OpenSSL”.

Prof. Nigel Smart

Prof. Nigel Smart

Nigel Smart, Unbound Co-Founder, is a Professor at KU Leuven, Belgium. He is a world-renowned expert in applied cryptography, and was the Vice President of the International Association of Cryptologic Research. In the past, Nigel worked at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories developing advanced encryption technologies. He has also been involved in developing many standards, and has worked with both industry and government on applying cryptography to solve critical security problems.

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