With so much of our personal data now online, it is vital to ensure that sensitive information stays secure. Cryptography, the science at the heart of information security, studies ways to represent information securely, protecting its confidentiality and guaranteeing its authenticity.
More generally, modern cryptography allows interaction between parties who lack both inherent mutual trust and secure communication infrastructure. It enables applications like e-voting, machine learning on cloud-stored data without loss of privacy, and allows secure login without revealing passwords.
Our researchers design and analyse cryptographic schemes for secure communication and computation, evaluate the security of their implementation, and develop techniques for efficient, secure and reliable communications, networking, storage and retrieval of information.
"We are dedicated to conducting research and training experts for the future. We are passionate about connecting our theoretical insights to practical applications."Prof. Øyvind Ytrehus, Research Director
With the transition to cloud computing and distributed storage, and in preparation for the threats posed by quantum computing, we face continually evolving challenges in information security. To address these challenges, our researchers at Simula apply methods from mathematics, information theory, computer science and engineering, concentrating on the following main areas:
Design and analysis of cryptographic algorithms
We develop and evaluate ciphers for both current technology and in anticipation of the future threats posed by quantum computing. Researchers at Simula contribute to the evaluation of standardised encryption algorithms, and to analysis and design of post-quantum cryptographic schemes. We also work on the development of novel algorithms, such as homomorphic encryption, to allow third parties to compute on encrypted data without disclosure of plaintext information.
Security of cryptographic implementations
Hardware and software implementations of cryptographic algorithms are often vulnerable to side-channel attacks. Researchers at Simula evaluate the security of software implementations of cryptographic primitives by quantifying the information leakage obtained by both passive and active attackers.
Zero-knowledge proof systems allow someone to demonstrate that a statement is true (e.g., that they know a password) without revealing anything about the secret to a third party. Zero-knowledge proof systems (in particular, zk-SNARKs) are widely used in blockchain, verifiable computation, and other applications. At Simula we study the theoretical underpinnings of zero-knowledge proof systems and develop efficient constructions for their practical deployment. Our researchers also consider the design and analysis of other privacy-preserving technologies, in particular from an information-theoretic and coding theory perspective.
Contract research opportunities in Cryptography
We welcome opportunities to collaborate with industry partners and public organisations. This is part of our larger aim to provide research that is both theoretically excellent and practically relevant.
We have contributed our expertise to projects run in partnership with organisations such as Norwegian governmental entities and the European Space Agency, and we are open to collaboration with other industry partners.
Core cryptography competence areas
- design and analysis of ciphers
- homomorphic encryption
- zero-knowledge proofs
- analysis of side-channel attacks
Core information theory competence areas
- coding techniques, with the aims of:
- ensuring data transmission and storage are reliable, efficient, secure, and private while minimising latency in communication
- developing reliable schemes for DNA storage
- developing distributed storage and computation
- lattice-based communication for reliable and secure communication