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Cryptography in the Wild

Cryptography in the Wild Article Image

28. November 2023

As part of the CYRENZH and DSI Cybersecurity Community event series, we had the pleasure to learn from Prof. Kenny Paterson (ETH Zurich, D-INFK) about “Cryptography in the Wild”.

In an engaging presentation, Prof. Paterson explained the two goals of this line of research: namely to either try to find vulnerabilities in the system (and disclose them to the affected vendors) or to prove the security of the cryptographic core of the system. Prof. Paterson demonstrated the benefits of applying cryptography to real-world systems and explained how his research group proceeds when testing a system: Firstly, they isolate the cryptographic core of a system. Secondly, they model the system architecture to isolate potential weaknesses, resulting in a plethora of approaches from where to proceed. Before, thirdly, they test the cryptographic core of systems on its rigour.

Using a case study (see here:, Prof. Paterson discussed highlighted how cryptographic research can contribute to more secure real-world applications that benefit both, users and companies. Prof. Paterson also dedicated time to discussing the scientific challenges associated with his work as well as the trade-offs of responsible disclosure with companies and reflected on the ethical decisions to take and moral aspects to consider when applying cryptography in the wild.

We enjoyed the event very much and thank everyone for their contributions and active participation!