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The art of cryptography:
secure internet & e-voting

This course is listed in Aachen Campus as Esecurity: secure internet and e-voting and in Bonn Basis as MA-INF 1312 - The art of cryptography: secure internet & e-voting or here.


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. We aim at also considering their security relative to the used primitives.

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.


Michael Nüsken

Time & Place

First meeting: Tuesday, 12 April 2016, b-it Rheinsaal(!).

Times have been adapted in agreement with the class. Differing values found in BASIS or CAMPUS are wrong.


Pre-exam meeting: Thursday, 25 August 2016, 1130, b-it 1.25.

Exam: Tuesday, 30 August 2016, 1000, b-it bitmax.

Post-exam meeting: Thursday, 8 September 2016, 1130, b-it 1.25.

Exam2 (repetitions only): Tuesday, 27 September 2016, 1000, b-it 1.25.


The screen notes (PDF 33.6MB) contain all handwritten stuff (last updated 20 July 2016, 16:07).


Literature on TLS/SSL

Literature on OTR, Axolotl, TextSecure, Open Whisper, Signal, ...

Literature on EMV


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


We will put each member on the mailing list

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. You can also subscribe yourself. The list is intented for all participants of the course as a platform for discussions around the topic. Furthermore, announcements regarding the course are made here.


4+2 SWS.

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