Serge Vaudenay appointed as a Full Professor of security and cryptography
28 March 2007
Breaking the Code of Cryptographic Processes
On 28 March 2007, the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology appointed Serge Vaudenay as a Full Professor of security and cryptography at the School of Computer Communication Sciences. A leading researcher in his field, he is a member of the recently created Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Information
Since the early days of his research, Serge
Vaudenay has distinguished himself as a"code-breaker" by demonstrating how
insecure some cryptographic processes really are. In 1992, he cracked Claus
Schnorr's FFT Hash II hashing function. The following year, he tackled the
digital signature processes designed by Adi Shamir, prior to revealing the
weaknesses of the encryption system invented by Benny Chor and Ronald Rivest,
and the flaw in the Bluetooth wireless communications standard.
Not surprisingly, Professor Vaudenay's past as
a"code-breaker" did not prevent him from becoming a"code-maker" and creating
new cryptographic processes. In this new capacity, he invented the Kudelski
group's IDEA-NXT digital encryption system and developed the MOVA electronic
signature process, which allows signatures to be made shorter so that a person
can easily copy them down. He has also shown an interest in the security of wireless
communication systems in general and has devised user-friendly protocols that
allow two entities to set up a wireless communications channel without having
to enter long codes at either end.
The EPFL's School of Computer &
Communication Sciences recently created a Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
in Information Security, which looks into the technological aspects of security
as well as commercial, legal and regulatory issues relating to data security.
Professor Vaudenay is one of the center's founding members.
Serge Vaudenay is a French citizen. He was born
in France in 1968. Having completed post high-school preparatory classes in
Paris, he matriculated at the École Normale Supérieure in 1989 with a major in
mathematics. He found his career when he took a course in cryptography, which
motivated him to pursue doctoral studies with Jacques Stern as his advisor.
When he began his dissertation, he was fortunate to be able to work with Claus
Schnorr and Adi Shamir. He earned his agrégation (secondary teaching degree) in mathematics in
1992, then his doctorate at the University of Paris 7‑Denis Diderot in
1995. He subsequently became a senior research fellow at the CNRS, prior to
being granted his habilitation à diriger des
postdoctoral degree authorizing the recipient to supervise doctoral students).
In 1999, he was appointed as an Associate Professor at the EPFL, where he
created the Security and Cryptography Laboratory.
He has written over 70 scientific articles and
is the author of several workbooks including the cryptography manual A Classical Introduction to Cryptography.
He has edited the proceedings of five international conferences. In 2006, he
was honored by the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR)
when he was asked to lead the program committee for Eurocrypt, a major
conference on cryptography research. He later became an IACR board member.