Important notice about SecAppDev 2020

Due to the current situation with COVID-19 (Corona), with deep regret, we feel bound to postpone SecAppDev 2020 indefinitely. While there have been no official instructions to postpone events such as ours or reduce travel, both attendees and speakers have informed us that they are unable to attend SecAppDev.

We hope everyone in SecAppDev stays healthy, and wish everyone the best for the coming months.

SecAppDev 2020 Lecture Details

The never-ending crypto wars

Bart Preneel
Monday March 9, 14:00 - 15:30
Short description

Law enforcement agencies complain that encryption impedes their work, hence they keep asking for bans, backdoors or access to keys. Many others argue that weakening encryption would undermine legitimate security interests of citizens and society. Is there a right decision and will this debate ever end?


The 1993 Clipper Chip has sparked the debate on law enforcement access to encrypted communications. As the proposal was withdrawn, civil society believed that they won the first crypto war. However, law enforcement and intelligence services have since developed many techniques to bypass cryptographic solutions. In spite of this, the crypto wars have returned. The debate is now much more complex as it moves from encrypted communications to meta data, data stored in the cloud, data stored on confiscated devices, and malware to get real-time access to devices. Several countries have enacted laws to compel system providers to develop backdoors in encryption.

This session will analyze the state of affairs and explore future options.

Key takeaway

The crypto war is ongoing, but the focus on encryption may well be a diversion tactic.

Content level


Target audience

Anyone building, designing or securing applications.


The session on cryptographic algorithms provides useful background, but is not mandatory.

SecAppDev is the most immersive application security course you have ever seen

Book your seat now

Bart Preneel

Bart Preneel

Full professor, COSIC, KU Leuven

Prof. Bart Preneel is a full professor at the KU Leuven. He heads the imec-COSIC research group, which has 80 members. His main research interests are cryptography, information security and privacy. He received the RSA Award for Excellence in the Field of Mathematics (2014), the IFIP TC11 Kristian Beckman award (2015) and the ESORICS Outstanding Research Award (2017). He frequently consults for industry and governments about security and privacy technologies.

Full speaker profile

Related crypto sessions

Cryptographic algorithms

Lecture by Bart Preneel

In this session, you will learn about various cryptographic building blocks and their security properties. With that knowledge, you can select the right algorithm for the challenge you are facing.

Crypto Monday March 9, 11:00 - 12:30

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) fundamentals

Lecture by Bart Preneel

PKIs ensure the secure delivery and management of public keys. One example is the ecosystem supporting HTTPS, but PKIs are also used in payment systems (EMV) or intranets. This session covers how to manage keys, certificates, and revocation.

Crypto Tuesday March 10, 09:00 - 10:30

Cryptography best practices

Lecture by Bart Preneel

Cryptography is often used in an incorrect or insecure fashion. This session outlines the current best practices, including an extensive list of recommended protocols and algorithms.

Crypto Wednesday March 11, 11:00 - 12:30

Quantum computers, quantum crypto, and postquantum crypto

Lecture by Bart Preneel

Quantum computers are in their infancy, but they are expected to have a major impact on computing. This session will focus on the impact of quantum technologies on cryptography and secure communications.

Crypto Wednesday March 11, 14:00 - 15:30