Every day we encounter dozens of security systems, for example, when we send a message via WhatsApp, use our debit card or log on to a website. Most of these systems use a combination of two types of cryptography: symmetric and asymmetric cryptography.
Symmetric cryptography ensures that you are able to protect messages and other data against eavesdropping parties or potential modifications by encrypting them on the sender’s side and decrypting them on the recipient’s side. If someone intercepts the encrypted message or data, it will be of no use to them if they do not have the right cryptographic key. When asymmetric cryptography is used, each user has two keys: a public key, which can be shared publicly, and a private key, which is not shared with anyone. The public key allows the sender to encrypt a code for a particular recipient, who can then decrypt this code using their own private key.
This asymmetric cryptography requires special hardware for the multiplication of large numbers, which are essential to the development of secure cryptographic encryption. Professor of Symmetric Cryptography Joan Daemen and Bart Mennink will be exploring how symmetric cryptography can utilise special hardware (so-called co-processors) that is currently only being used with asymmetric cryptography. This should ensure that this form of cryptography also benefits from safer keys that can also be generated more rapidly.