ISG Student Seminars 2007-2008

The ISG Student Seminars are held weekly, on Thursday at 1 PM in Room 229, Mc Crea building, RHUL.

Please mail any questions regarding this seminar series to s.srinivasan at

Everyone is welcome (if you are a student from some other institution or visitng the ISG, please feel free to drop in). As an added motivation, biscuits are provided, thanks to the efforts of Raminder Ruprai.

The atmosphere is cordial and the aim of these series is to provide a platform for PhD students to present their work, gain valuable presentation skills, obtain feedback and of course get to know people in the department.

The following is a provisional list of talks scheduled for this term. Titles and more updates soon.

18 October
Speaker: Gaven Watson
Title: Securing CBC Mode Against Padding Oracle Attacks
Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) mode of operation for block ciphers is a widely used in many network protocols, e.g. SSL, IPSec. At Eurocrypt 2002 Vaudenay introduced an attack on CBC mode, using a new oracle called a Padding Oracle. I shall describe Vaudenay &apos s Padding Oracle attack on CBC mode encryption and give an introduction to Provable Security, in particular to the area of Practice Orientated Provable Security. I then present new security models which consider the presence of Padding Oracles. Using these security models I show how we can prove that CBC mode using particular padding schemes is secure. Slides

25 October
Speaker: Raminder Ruprai
Title:Improvements in the Index-Calculus Algorithm for solving the Discrete logarithm problem over finite fields
We will look at the original index-calculus algorithm and the major improvements made to it in the early 90s to reduce the running time. There will not be too much technical material, more an overview.Slides

1 November
Speaker: Martin Albrecht
Title: An Introduction to the SAGE Mathematics Software
SAGE is a free open-source mathematics software package that aims to be a viable alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab. For this, SAGE ships with, uses and bridges the gap between the best open-source mathematics software packages available like Singular, GAP, Maxima, NTL, LinBox and Pari. It also provides interfaces to most commercial computer algebra systems. SAGE provides a graphical and command line interface to all these systems and also tries to implement functionality if it is not yet provided by any open-source software package. The talk will focus on the design principles and capabilities of SAGE. It is meant as a showcase of SAGE but also as an opportunity to learn about requirements by researchers. It might be relevant to note that the speaker is a SAGE developer. You can try SAGE online. Slides

8 November
Speaker: Jihoon Cho
Title: Privacy issues in low-cost RFID tags
The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems represent a family of emerging technologies that enable the unique identification of tagged items without physical and visual contact. Due to technology advance, RFID systems have been increasingly popular for use in various communities, but it also raises significant privacy concerns. The variety of countermeasures require high-end RFID tags for their implementation, leaving low-cost RFID tags unprotected. In several years, however, passive tags with very limited memory and logical gates will be mostly deployed in mass market. In this talk, we discuss solutions to enhance privacy of low-cost passive RFID tags. Slides

15 November
Speaker: James Birkett
Title: Simplifying Plaintext Awareness
Plaintext awareness is a property of encryption schemes which means that it is impossible to create a valid ciphertext without knowing the corresponding message. We present a simplified definition of plaintext awareness, and show that it is (nearly) equivalent to the standard PA2 definition. Slides

22 November
Speaker:Harry Rowe

29 November
Speaker:Adrian Leung
Title: An Anonymous Watermarking Scheme for Content Distribution Protection Using Trusted Computing (Joint Work with Geong Sen Poh)
Many Content Distribution Protection (CDP) schemes (e.g. Buyer-Seller Watermarking and Asymmetric Fingerprinting) have been proposed to address the problem of illegal distribution of copyrighted content. All of the existing CDP schemes rely on a Trusted Third Party in one way or another to achieve the desired security objectives. In this paper, using the functionalities of Trusted Computing, we present an anonymous CDP watermarking scheme, which minimises the reliance on a Trusted Third Party. Our scheme allows a buyer to anonymously purchase digital content, whilst enabling the content provider to blacklist the buyers that are distributing content illegally.Slides

6 December
Speaker: Boyeon Song
Title:An Introduction to Privacy Model for RFID
We will overview a formal model for identification scheme based on the paper "On Privacy Models for RFID" by Serge Vaudenay. Under this model, the author gave strong definitions for security and privacy.
*Reference: Serge Vaudenay, On Privacy Models for RFID, Advances in Cryptology, ASIACRYPT 2007, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 4833/2007, pages 68-87, November 2007. Slides

13 December
Speaker:Steffen Reidt
Title:What to do with NS-2
* State of the art of network simulators and especially NS-2
* My extensions for NS-2: Topgraphy aware Radio propagation model,Group Mobility Model
* Simulations that make sense/dont make sense.

If you would like to volunteer, please drop me a mail at s.srinivasan at