Back to School with Stanford University's Free Online Cryptography Course - ITS Tactical
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Back to School with Stanford University’s Free Online Cryptography Course

By Bryan Black

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to something I’ve just signed up for. The prestigious Stanford University has recently released a free online cryptography course taught by Professor Dan Boneh of the Stanford Computer Science Department.

This cryptography course is part of Stanford’s new and completely free online Coursera courses. I first heard about the Cryptography course when it was announced back in November of last year and after a few delays, it’s finally available for registration. Actually it was available back on March 6th, but for some reason an email letting me know this was delayed reaching me until today. They state on the registration page that registration closed yesterday, but I was just able to sign up and wanted to pass this info along to anyone who might want to still get enrolled.

Here’s Stanford’s description of the Introduction to Cryptography course:

Cryptography is an indispensable tool for protecting information in computer systems. This course explains the inner workings of cryptographic primitives and how to correctly use them. Students will learn how to reason about the security of cryptographic constructions and how to apply this knowledge to real-world applications. The course begins with a detailed discussion of how two parties who have a shared secret key can communicate securely when a powerful adversary eavesdrops and tampers with traffic. We will examine many deployed protocols and analyze mistakes in existing systems.

The second half of the course discusses public-key techniques that let two or more parties generate a shared secret key. We will cover the relevant number theory and discuss public-key encryption, digital signatures, and authentication protocols. Towards the end of the course we will cover more advanced topics such as zero-knowledge, distributed protocols such as secure auctions, and a number of privacy mechanisms. Throughout the course students will be exposed to many exciting open problems in the field.

The course will include written homeworks and programming labs. The course is self-contained, however it will be helpful to have a basic understanding of discrete probability theory.

If this sounds interesting to you, join me and register online today before it’s too late!

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