Applied Cryptography

Course Number 705062 | Wintersemester 2019/20

Understand the building blocks of modern cryptographic protocols and learn the basics of cryptanalysis


Cryptography is the mathematical backbone of information security. This lecture covers basic principles of cryptology and a closer look at the building blocks that provide confidentiality, authenticity, and more in modern cryptographic protocols, including:
  • Authenticated Encryption and its symmetric primitives, stream ciphers, and lightweight crypto (incl. AES-GCM, AES-CCM, ...)
  • Hash functions and their primitives (incl. SHA-2, SHA-3)
  • Asymmetric encryption, key encapsulation, and digital signatures (incl. RSA, DH, DSA, ECC)
  • Authentication and key-exchange protocols, including an introduction to advanced privacy-preserving protocols
For all these building blocks, we will have a look at the design ideas and goals behind the algorithm, its security properties in practice, and some potential cryptanalysis approaches such as differential cryptanalysis. We will cover the necessary mathematical and methodical background so that you can try your own hands in the exercises at breaking ciphers to gain a deeper understanding of their design.

This course is succeeded by the equivalent course "Cryptography" (WS 2020/2021).

COVID-19 Exam Rules

To comply with the TU Graz COVID-19 guidance, the exams held during summer term 2020 will follow special rules. The written exam dates have fewer seats available; we will adjust the number of exam dates according to demand. If you are reluctant to participate in an on-campus exam (e.g., risk group), contact to arrange a virtual oral exam. The question format and general rules (90 minutes, closed-book, etc.) for the written exams remain unchanged, but please observe the TU Graz hygiene guidelines (see below). Virtual oral exams are conducted via WebEx and obviously cover the same content, but the question format and duration is adapted for the medium (shorter, more interactive, order of questions set by examiner). You can find upcoming exam dates in TUGRAZonline. If no upcoming dates are listed, ask us! Further information:


Date Who Lecture (15:00–17:00, HS i1) Practicals (14:15–15:00, HS i1)
04.10.2019 MS L1 – Introduction
11.10.2019 MS L2 – Symm. Primitives T1, py skeleton
18.10.2019 MS L3 – Symm. Primitives 2 (Stream Ciphers, LW) T2
25.10.2019 LG L4 – Symm. Primitives 3 (Cryptanalysis) T3
08.11.2019 ME L5 – Symm. Modes 1 (Authentication) T4
15.11.2019 ME L6 – Symm. Modes 2 (Encryption) T5
22.11.2019 KU Exam 1
29.11.2019 LG L7 – Asymmetric Primitives 1 (Factoring, RSA) T6
06.12.2019 ME L8 – Asymmetric Primitives 2 (Discrete Log, ECC) T7
13.12.2019 DK L9 – Protocols 1 (Authentication, Key Exchange) T8
10.01.2020 DK L10 – Protocols 2 (Advanced Protocols, Privacy) T9
17.01.2020 DK L11 – Outro, New Challenges T10
24.01.2020 KU Exam 2
31.01.2020 VO Exam (Exam Questions)
The lecture slides are reasonably self-contained, but often briefly phrased. If you prefer full-text resources, you may find some of the following books interesting:  

Administrative Information

Lecture Exams (VO)

The VO exam is a written exam (for the first 2 dates each year, otherwise contact us for an oral exam any time). We will ask 4 questions on different topics; you can find lists of example questions to test yourself on the last slide for each lecture. Please find the exam dates and registration in TUGRAZonline.

Exercise Sheets (KU)

The exercises are an essential part of Applied Cryptography. It is recommended to visit the KU and VO of Applied Cryptography in the same semester. In the exercises, you practice the new topics in weekly exercise classes. The tasks are handed out after each week's lectures, and due for the exercises of the following week, where one student will be selected to present the solution for each of the tasks. Thus, presence is mandatory if you tick any tasks. You need to solve 50% of all examples to complete the KU. Use the Student Tick System (STicS) to tick the tasks you solved before each class. If you solve more than the required 50%, we will reward you with bonus points that are added to your exam results – for details, please check the lecture slides. Most of the exercises are pen-and-paper thinking exercises, but each sheet includes a bonus challenge that will require some programming.

Exercise Exams (KU)

The grades for the KU are based on two exams (and the required 50% tick rate), plus bonus tasks. The dates and place are announced on this website. All students that participate at least in the first exam will receive a grade (positive or negative). There will be a "second-chance" exam at the end of the term. For details on the conditions, check the slides of the introductory lecture or ask us.


Maria Eichlseder

Assistant Professor

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