New bachelor and master courses

With the start of winter term 2019/20, we offer several new courses to provide a thorough foundation for security in the bachelor’s degree programmes and discuss cutting-edge topics in our master’s courses.

The bachelor’s degree programmes
Computer Science (CS),
Information and Computer Engineering (ICE), and
Software Engineering and Management (SEM)
have been completely restructured and now consist of larger modules.
As part of this restructuring, we’ve developed the following new modules:

  • Computer Organization and Networks (CON),
    which includes parts of previous lectures “Rechnerorganisation” and “Rechner- und Kommunikationsnetze”.
  • Information Security (InfSec),
    which includes parts of previous lectures “Introduction to Information Security” and “Rechner- und Kommunikationsnetze”.

We’ve also updated our other courses to fit the new curricula. We summarized all IAIK-related changes and equivalence lists on a dedicated page. For more general information about the transition to the new curricula, check out the information by Bits.

The master’s degree programmes will be restructured significantly in winter term 2020/21, so look forward to a shiny and new Security curriculum! For now, we’re already working on new content, including

  • Mathematical Background of Cryptography (AK IT Security 2, winter term),
    which takes a closer look at the mathematical concepts behind modern cryptography.

You can find a full list of our courses here (TODO: URL).

Cybersecurity Campus Graz is taking shape

After the annoucement of the Cybersecurity Campus Graz by SGS and Graz University of Technology, SGS opens its Cyberlab Graz
at in Graz Inffeldgasse – next to IAIK. This lab serves as the global headquarters for cybersecurity assessments, testing and certification of products and systems under SGS Digital Trust Services.

The inauguration was conducted on September 19, 2019 by SGS Group CEO Frankie Ng, Governor Hermann Sch¸tzenhˆfer and the Rector of Graz University of Technology Harald Kainz.

Graduation “sub auspiciis” for Maria Eichlseder and Peter Pessl

Four outstanding graduates from TU Graz received their doctorate under the auspices of the Austrian President – the highest honor in Austrian education. Among the four graduates receiving honorary rings from President Alexander Van der Bellen were two IAIK graduates.

Maria Eichlseder defended her thesis “Differential Cryptanalysis of Symmetric Primitives” in 2018 and is one of the first two women to ever receive this honor at TU Graz. Peter Pessl’s thesis on “Side-Channel Attacks on Lattice-Based Cryptography and Multi-Processor Systems” investigates new side-channel attacks on cryptographic algorithms providing security against quantum computers.

With Christoph Dobraunig and Thomas Unterluggauer, who received these honors a few months prior, a total of four IAIK members graduated sub auspiciis within a year – an unprecedented occasion!

Foto © Lunghammer - TU Graz
Bundespräsident Alexander van der Bellen – Foto © Lunghammer – TU Graz
Foto © Lunghammer - TU Graz
Foto © Lunghammer – TU Graz
Foto © Lunghammer - TU Graz
Foto © Lunghammer – TU Graz

Awards for high relevance to society

The Technology and Society Forum has awarded its 2019 Sponsorship Prizes (Förderpreis) for dissertations and master’s theses with particularly high relevance to society at Graz University of Technology – and 3 of the 7 awardees this year are IAIK students!

  • Maria Eichlseder won the 2nd prize for her dissertation “Differential Cryptanalysis of Symmetric Primitives”
  • Angela Promitzer won the 1st prize for her master’s thesis “Efficient Picnic: Optimizing a Post-Quantum Signature Scheme”
  • Gerald Palfinger won the 2nd prize ex aequo for his master’s thesis “SCAnDroid: Automatic Side-Channel Detection Framework for the Android API”

Congratulations to all winners!

IAIK has a stellar track record for relevant students’ theses: last year’s awards for theses in 2017/18 also saw 3 out of 6 prizes awarded to IAIK students, all focused on microarchitectural attacks such as Spectre and Meltdown.

New Professor: Maria Eichlseder

We are excited that Maria Eichlseder will join IAIK as an assistant professor for Cryptography. Maria’s research interests include the design and cryptanalysis of symmetric cryptographic algorithms, such as hash functions and authenticated encryption algorithms and their underlying primitives. She co-designed Ascon, a lightweight authenticated cipher that is among the winners of the CAESAR competition. She defended her Ph.D. sub auspiciis praesidentis in 2018, for which she received an award of excellence from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and a sponsorship prize of the Technology and Society Forum. Before that, she studied Computer Science and Technical Mathematics at Graz University of Technology.

Ascon – the primary choice for lightweight crypto

Ascon has been selected as the primary recommendation for lightweight authenticated encryption in the final portfolio of the CAESAR competition!

The CAESAR competition started in 2014 with the goal of identifying excellent authenticated encryption schemes for three use-cases:
lightweight applications, high-performance software applications, and defense-in-depth.
The competition received 57 first-round candidate submissions, which were narrowed down to 6 final portfolio ciphers after 5 years of analysis and benchmarks by the international research community: a primary and a secondary recommendation for each use-case.

Our candidate Ascon is designed to be a lightweight solution for constrained devices without sacrificing cryptanalytic security, implementation security & robustness, and efficiency on other platforms.
Ascon was designed by Christoph Dobraunig (Radboud University Nijmegen), Maria Eichlseder, Florian Mendel (Infineon), and Martin Schläffer (Infineon).
We want to thank Hannes Groß (SGS) for his excellent work on hardware implementations of Ascon.

We hope the story doesn’t end here, as the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is currently looking for lightweight authenticated ciphers for standardization.
NIST’s LightWeight Cryptography (LWC) Competition started in spring 2019, with two submissions co-authored by IAIK researchers: Ascon and ISAP, a lightweight design focusing on robustness against implementation attacks. Both advanced to Round 2 in August 2019!

More information…

Picnic and SPHINCS+ selected for round 2 of NIST PQC project

Picnic and SPHINCS+, two post-quantum secure digital signature schemes designed by teams involving cryptographers from IAIK, have been selected as round 2 candidates of the NIST PQC project. More information on the two submissions can be found on the Picnic and SPHINCS+ websites.

Christoph Dobraunig and Thomas Unterluggauer graduate sub auspiciis praesidentis

For their remarkable performance during their academic career as students, Christoph Dobraunig and Thomas Unterluggauer receive their PhD on 23 November 2018 from the Federal President of Austria, Prof. Alexander Van der Bellen. More information (in German)…

New Professor: Daniel Gruss

We are delighted that Daniel Gruss will join us as an assistant professor. Daniel finished his PhD with distinction in less than 3 years. He has been involved in teaching operating system undergraduate courses since 2010. Daniel’s research focuses on software-based attacks and defenses on microarchitectural layers in hardware and software. He implemented the first remote fault attack running in a website, known as Rowhammer.js. He frequently speaks at top international venues, such as Black Hat, Usenix Security, IEEE S&P, ACM CCS, Chaos Communication Congress, and others. His research team was one of the teams that found the Meltdown and Spectre bugs published in early 2018 and designed the software patch (KAISER) against Meltdown which is now integrated in every operating system.

Publication of Meltdown and Spectre

IAIK researchers are part of the international research team that publish critcial vulnerabilities in modern processors: