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Esecurity: secure internet & evoting

Corresponding entry in Aachen Campus, Bonn University.


Prof. Dr. Joachim von zur Gathen


Michael Nüsken


Konstantin Ziegler

Time & Place

First meeting: Tuesday 13 April 2010 at 1330-

All times subject to agreement in class.

First meeting: Wednesday, 12 April 2010, b-it bitmax.

No classes on: 19 May 2010 (Bonn dies), 25-26 May 2010 (excursion week), and 9 June 2010 (Aachen dies).


Pre-exam meeting: 9 August 2010, 1300, b-it cosec seminar room 1.25.

Exam: 13 September 2010, 1400, b-it seminar room 2.1.

Post-exam meeting: 16 September 2010, 1400, b-it cosec seminar room 1.25.

2nd exam: 19 October 2010, 1400, b-it Rheinsaal.


The screen notes (PDF) contain all handwritten stuff (last updated 28 July 2010, 16:52).



4+2 SWS, 8 credits. Optionally, 3+2 SWS, 6 credits.

Successful completion of the course yields 8 credit points. For students who only want 6 credit points, a breakpoint at about 3/4 of the teaching time will be defined, and only the course material up to that point will be relevant for their exams and grades.


Basic knowledge in cryptography is needed, as for example the course Cryptography held in the previous winter. Compare our programme.


This course is about various aspects of security in the internet. In the first part we deal with secure connections, whereas the second part considers electronic voting schemes involving further tasks.

In the internet a large variety of protocols ("chatting programs") are in use to make this or that `secure'. VPN, IPsec, SSL, PKI, PGP are just a few tokens that need explanations. We will try to understand a little of that and how things are used and made available.

Decision finding processes in most democratic societies are guided by the election of representatives. Some smaller states also conduct voting for particular decisions. Apart from political elections, a lot of other voting processes are in use to determine leaderships, opinions, ... Nowadays we require democratic elections to be free and fair. This implies several features, like anonymity and secrecy. (Secret elections only take place since about the middle of the nineteenth century.) German law requires even more:

Die Abgeordneten des Deutschen Bundestages werden in allgemeiner, unmittelbarer, freier, gleicher und geheimer Wahl gewählt. GG Art. 38 Abs. 1 Satz 1 (The members of the German Federal Diet are elected in general, direct, free, fair and secret elections.)

Since the advent of computers and the Internet people have tried to use the new means also in election processes. Major forces driving that are the cost and the election turnout. However, cheaper and faster election processes might have even more, yet unpredictable effects on society and democracy. The topic of the course shall be the treatment of the methods and the one or other solution for electronic elections. This ranges from simple voting machines to complete remote Internet election systems. In the latter, modern cryptographic methods are essential for ensuring major properties.



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