This month, long-time SGVLUG member Dustin Laurence reprises his SCALE 13x talk. We'll also be talking about the SGVLUG BBQ for September, the 20th anniversary party plans for November, and SCALE 14x.


The details of how cryptographic algorithms are designed, implemented, verified, and assembled into cryptosystems requires expert knowledge. Fortunately, the big picture of how the resulting cryptosystems are used does not. For most users and even most programmers, the underlying algorithms are black boxes that they do not and need not understand, while the language and conceptual framework of modern cryptography are very useful in putting those algorithms to practical use.

We will sketch out that conceptual framework at action-movie speed using the simplest of classical cryptographic algorithms to represent the modern black boxes for concreteness while studing everything but the algorithms themselves. After the presentation you should understand: elementary cryptographic language, security as a probabalistic rather than absolute guarantee, why the size of the keyspace matters, why practical security depends on choosing keys randomly, what side-channel attacks are, what public-key cryptography is, and what a digital signature is. You should also have the basic conceptual framework and vocabulary for further study or self-study. The presentation should be accessible to beginners of all ages.


Intending to become a programmer ("developer" hadn't been invented by the marketing department yet), Dustin got sidetracked and spent more time than he cares to admit doing theoretical physics, a background filled with continuous mathematics almost entirely irrelevant to computer science and cryptography. He eventually returned to his original love, and these days writes cryptographic and embedded software for Gem, Inc. He believes that every programmer and indeed every citizen must be cryptographically literate in the world he and many, many others are busy creating. He avoids social media for the same reason he doesn't do crack cocaine.

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