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New and Secure Encryptions

To date, the security of encryption methods has often been determined by trial and error. Gregor Leander intends to design ciphers that are underpinned by sound security arguments right from the start.

Cryptography, i.e. the encryption of information, protects us every day and is rarely noticed. If data weren’t encrypted by mathematical methods, they could be accessed by anyone. The contents of our chats, our online banking details – all of it would be out in the open. In order to protect the ever-growing data volumes, we require exceptionally robust cryptographic solutions that are both fast and efficient in practice and, at the same time, absolutely secure. Gregor Leander from the Faculty of Computer Science and the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security is developing these in his research project “SymTrust”. His research focuses on symmetric cryptography, which uses a shared secret key known only to the recipient and the sender. For him, the crucial thing is that the newly emerging algorithms are underpinned with sound security arguments right from the start and that the design process is not – as is standard practice – based on the trial-and-error principle.

At the moment, ciphers are built into the technical environment with efficiency in mind and only then is an attempt made to attack them. If the attack is successful, the cipher is readjusted and the process starts all over again. This can sometimes take years – a timeframe that modern development processes essentially cannot afford. This is why a recurring problem in industry is that security takes a back seat. And that’s why Gregor Leander wants to design ciphers that can serve today’s and tomorrow’s applications and are underpinned with security arguments that can be trusted straight away without having to wait years for them to be validated.

The grant amounts to 2.5 million euros per year. The project will start in summer 2023.

Professor Gregor Leander

Gregor Leander is a researcher at the Faculty of Computer Science and member of the Horst Görtz Institute for IT-Security.


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