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Professeur ordinaire au laboratoire de sécurité et de cryptographieà la faculté informatique et communication
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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 Security.

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 recherches (a 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.

journaliste: Florence Luy