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The Birth of Cryptovirology

Speaker: Adam Young
Cryptovirology Labs

March 29, 2013 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Fischbach room in Folsom library
Hosted By: Dr. Bulent Yener (x6907)


This talk presents the birth of cryptovirology, an area of research that combines modern cryptographic paradigms and tools to produce powerful malicious software. It starts before the formation of cryptovirology, touching on the the interests and activities of the researchers at a time when computer viruses were a mere urban myth. It also covers research scientists that helped influence the creation of cryptovirology as well as early feedback on the subject. Two specific attacks are described: cryptoviral extortion, the original term for what is now called "ransomware", and the Deniable Password Snatching Attack. The subject is relevant to network defenders that seek to thwart attacks and attribute them when they occur.


Adam Young received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Yale and an M.S. in Computer Science from Columbia. His Ph.D. in Computer Science was awarded with Distinction by the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He has authored over 34 peer-reviewed academic publications in cryptography and computer security. He initiated the area of study known as Cryptovirology with Moti Yung. They co-authored the book Malicious Cryptography, part of Wiley’s applied cryptography series. His current areas of interest include unconventional active network designs, cryptography, reliable computing and software security.

Last updated: March 14, 2013