Groundbreaking Blockchain Research to Feature at International Financial Cryptography Conference

Prominent academics, researchers and developers in cyber security will arrive in Malta this week for the most important annual conference on the use of cryptography in financial and commercial security. New research on blockchain, Bitcoin, data security and privacy will be presented at the week-long event, which focuses on the security of vital systems – […]

Prominent academics, researchers and developers in cyber security will arrive in Malta this week for the most important annual conference on the use of cryptography in financial and commercial security.

New research on blockchain, Bitcoin, data security and privacy will be presented at the week-long event, which focuses on the security of vital systems – from finance and banking to the Internet to air travel – and ensuring they are resistant to hackers. The event is the 21st annual Financial Cryptography and Data Security conference and will be held at the Palace Hotel in Sliema, Malta, from April 3-7, 2017.

The goal of the conference is to bring security and cryptography researchers and practitioners together with economists, bankers, implementers and policy-makers. The program features talks, academic presentations, technical demonstrations and panel discussions. The session on Bitcoin and blockchain will be held on Tuesday.

Attendees include Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream; Emin Gün Sirer of Cornell University; Vitalik Buterin of Ethereum; Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK, and Silvio Micali, Turing Prize winner and cryptography pioneer, who will deliver the keynote address on Monday. The organizer of the program is Aggelos Kiayias, Chair of Cyber Security and privacy at the University of Edinburgh and director of its Blockchain Technology Laboratory.

Notable research to be presented includes new papers showing:

* How hackers can exploit a previously undiscovered vulnerability in aircraft communications and interfere with the control of airplanes by deciphering the signals sent between the plane and control towers. These findings have prompted conversations with authorities to discuss how to combat this risk, especially given the omnipresent threat of terrorism around the globe. (Economy Class Crypto: Exploring Weak Cipher Usage in Avionic Communications via ACARS)

* An evaluation of the cryptography of apps from the top 15 consumer banks. Security flaws in popular banking apps from the biggest UK banks make them an easy target for phishing and other attacks. With 11 million logins to UK banking apps each day, the findings from the researchers at the University of Birmingham highlight a need for banks to promptly undertake a thorough review of their security. (Why Banker Bob (still) Can’t Get TLS Right: A Security Analysis of TLS in Leading UK Banking Apps)

* How do you know people on the Internet are who they say they are? Researchers have combined principles of game theory with Bitcoin to create a system that vouches for individuals’ reputations so you know how much you can trust them. This reputation verification works without the need for the stars and reviews you see on centralized platforms. (Trust Is Risk: A Decentralized Financial Trust Platform)

* The first decentralized voting system to ensure maximum privacy for voters by avoiding using a third party to count the votes and using a self-executing smart contract to do it instead. The execution of the protocol is enforced using the consensus mechanism that also secures the Ethereum blockchain. (A Smart Contract for Boardroom Voting with Maximum Voter Privacy)

* How to buy physical goods using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. In practice a third party escrow service is used to offer the buyer and seller security over the transactions. But there are privacy and security issues with this. These new ideas offer a way around that. (Escrow protocols for cryptocurrencies: How to buy physical goods using Bitcoin)

“The conference is a unique opportunity for world leading researchers in cryptography, data security and privacy to come together. The findings presented in the conference will influence best practices and contribute to new standards for cyber security in the information technology industry,” says Professor Aggelos Kiayias, Program chair of the conference, who is Chair in Cyber Security and Privacy at the University of Edinburgh, and Chief Scientist at IOHK.

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