Cryptology Research at Boise State University
Members of the cryptology group at BSU work in areas of cryptography and cryptanalysis, and in several areas of number theory and combinatorics. The contributing faculty are Liljana Babinkostova and Marion Scheepers.
Babinkostova’s cryptographic research interests include elliptic curves, cryptanalysis, post-quantum and lightweight cryptography, and cyber-physical systems security.
Scheepers’ cryptographic research interests include analysis and design of cryptographic primitives, post-quantum and lightweight cryptography, and algorithmic complexity.
The Algebra-Geometry-Cryptology (AGC) seminar meets every week to discuss our ongoing research and the research of others in our field. Students are welcome to attend.
BoiseCrypt is a conference at which undergraduate and graduate students present the results of their projects focused on cryptography and related areas. During the period 2009-2015 the conference was organized by L. Babinkostova.
The Department of Mathematics offers several undergraduate and graduate level cryptography courses. The graduate level courses in cryptography are offered through the master’s program in mathematics and the Computing PhD program.
- MATH 305: Introduction to Algebra and Number Theory
- MATH 307: Foundations of Cryptology
- MATH 308: Introduction to Algebraic Cryptology
- MATH 337: Introduction to Cyber-Physical Systems Security
- MATH 387: Introduction to Combinatorics
- MATH 406: Number Theory
- MATH 408: Advanced Public Key Cryptography and Cryptanalysis
- MATH 409: Symmetric Key Cryptography and Cryptanalysis
- MATH 584: Topics in Computational Algebra
- MATH 585: Topics in Cryptology
- MATH 506: Number Theory
- MATH 507 Advanced Number Theory
- MATH 667: Advances in Applied Cryptography
- MATH 508: Advanced Public Key Cryptography and Cryptanalysis
- MATH 509: Symmetric Key Cryptography and Cryptanalysis
- VIP 500: Device Security From the Sky to the Pancreas
- William Unger is a graduate student in the PhD Program in Computing. He is studying lightweight cryptography, security of industrial control-systems, and side channel attacks under the supervision of L. Babinkostova.
- Erik Corrington is an undergraduate student in the Computer Science Department (BSU) and currently is doing research under the supervision of L. Babinkostova. His research focuses on investigating the security of SEL RTAC (Real Time Automation Controller) device.
- Jesus Vargas is a graduate student in the Master Program of Mathematics (BSU). He is studying the algebraic structure of certain types of lightweight cryptosystems under the supervision of L. Babinkostova.
- Antonio Garcia is working on his senior thesis in mathematics under the supervision of L. Babinkostova. He is studying Edwards curves and their application to cryptography.
- Neeraja Julakanti completed her MSc thesis in cryptography (BSU 2005) under the supervision of M. Scheepers. Her thesis “A Chosen Ciphertext attack” focuses on analysis & implementation of different attacks on RSA and ECC. Currently she works as a software consultant in T-mobile.
- Dusty Hinkel completed his MSc thesis in number theory (BSU 2007) under the supervision of M. Scheepers. His thesis “An investigation of Lucas sequences” focuses on the study of the algebraic structure of the Lucas sequences. In 2014 he completed his PhD thesis in number theory from University of Arizona. Since 2015 he works as an engineer in Raytheon and his work focuses on designing algorithms and their implementation in missile software.
- Jason Smith completed his MSc thesis in number theory (BSU 2009) under the supervision of M. Scheepers. His thesis “Solvability characterizations of Pell-like equations” focuses on the study of Pell equations and their applications to cryptography. Currently he is a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at BSU.
- Brandon Barker completed his research in the area of cryptography (BSU 2015) under the supervision of L. Babinkostova. He investigated the security of certain USB devices when the authentication protocol is established using a version of AES and DES. His research resulted in a joint article with Michael Smith (BSU) titled Techniques to enhance security of an authentication protocol in the 2015 NCUR Proceedings. His research was supported by the NSF STEP grant. In 2018 he joined Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories where he works as a software engineer.
- Suzanne Craig completed her honors thesis in cryptography (BSU 2016) under the supervision of L. Babinkostova. Her research focused on algebraic structures of AES over a field of characteristic greater than two and was supported by the NSF STEP grant. Her thesis resulted in an article in the 2014 NCUR Proceedings titled A simplified AES with field characteristic 7. She is now a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics at University of Colorado – Boulder.
- Spencer Nelson completed his MsC thesis in number theory and graph theory (BSU 2017) under the supervision of M. Scheepers. His thesis “The Random Graph and Reciprocity Laws” focuses on graphs in which the vertices are the prime numbers and edges are defined only when two vertices are quadratic residues of each other. Currently he is a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics at University of Arizona.
- Nathan Schmidt completed his MSc thesis in cryptography (BSU 2017) under the supervision of L. Babinkostova. He investigated the security of the hash function Grostl through the study of latin squares. He built software tools in C and Java to efficiently generate and analyze latin squares for applications to cryptography. In 2019 he joined AmeriBen-IEC Group where he works as a senior software developer.
- Cahlen Humphreys completed his research and a senior thesis in number theory (BSU 2013) under the supervision of L. Babinkostova. His thesis research which resulted in an article in the 2013 NCUR proceedings titled Prime numbers and the convergents of a continued fraction. In 2015 he completed his MSc thesis in the Mathematics Department at Florida Atlantic University. His MSc thesis research is in the area of cryptanalysis – algebraic attacks on KeeLoq. In 2017 he joined zData Inc. where he works as a big data engineer.
- Charles Burnell completed his senior thesis in number theory (BSU 2018) under the supervision of L. Babinkostova. His research focused on investigation of the properties of elliptic pairs. In 2018 he joined Google where he worked as a software developer.
Become a cryptographer or cryptanalyst
A cryptographer develops algorithms, ciphers and security systems to protect sensitive information. A cryptanalyst analyzes the security of cryptographic systems.
You are the code maker and the code breaker, the professional who ensures that private data regarding finance, national security and other important spheres are hidden from cyber-terrorists.