Friday evening @ Sydney Uni – time for some crypto!

Dear Diary,

This afternoon I’m giving a guest lecture at the University of Sydney.

It’ll be a tough gig, but not just because it’s at the end of the semester, doesn’t affect the final course mark in any way, and takes place from 16:00 to 18:00 on Friday evening to engineering students. It’ll be a tough gig because the course is a tough one, and the students who take it are tough.

The course is run by Matt Barrie, and is called Computer and Network Security. Although this name is strictly accurate, it is a disarming understatement – the course has a strong focus on cryptography and cryptanalysis: historical, theoretical and practical.

Cryptography, together with the lessons we learn from its history, is an indispensible element of today’s internet, yet many people appear to take it for granted. Some recently-trained programmers seem to treat crypto as little more than a set of progamming libraries to which they can link their code to imbue it with a cloud of security faerie-dust.

It doesn’t work like that, of course, so well done to the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at USyd for offering a course like this one. I’m not so sure about the School itself, though. Is it just me, or does Information Engineering sound terribly Orwellian?