COMP 4109 (Winter 2009): Applied Cryptography

Instructor: Dr. Julie Thorpe
Email: jthorpe (at) (or through WebCT).
Office Hours: Mon. 12:00-2:00pm, room 5270 HP (exception: week of Jan. 19th moved to Jan. 20 7:00-9:00pm).
Lectures: Mondays 6:05-8:55pm, University Centre 280

Official outline: Practical aspects of cryptography including pseudo-random number generation, symmetric cryptography (stream and block ciphers), modes of operation, hash functions, message and entity authentication protocols, zero knowledge, pitfalls deploying public-key encryption and digital signatures, key distribution, secret-sharing.

TA: Glenn Wurster
Email: gwurster (at)
Office Hours: Thurs. 2-4pm, HP 1175
Questions about assignments should be addressed to the TA.

Prerequisites: COMP 3804 (algorithms), and COMP 1402 (systems programming). Students should be comfortable programming in C.
Anti-rerequisites: COMP 4103 (old version of Cryptography and Network Security).

Course Textbooks
  1. (Strongly Recommended): Handbook of Applied Cryptography, Menezes, van Oorschot and Vanstone, CRC Press (1996 or later printing). The book is available for free online, but most find that using the hard-copy bound text (available at the bookstore) is more convenient.
  2. (Recommended for supplementary material): Cryptography and Network Security, 4/e, William Stallings, 2006 (available at the bookstore).

Marking Scheme:
Policy re: Unethical Behaviour. Any student submitting work including portions originating from someone else, without crediting the original source, is subject to a mark of minus 100% (-100%) on the entire work item. For example, if an assignment is worth 5%, the 5% is lost plus an additional 5% penalty. If the infraction involves copying from another student, then both students may be penalized. You may, and often should, discuss work with others, but you must write up submitted work individually, except for items explicitly advertised as group work. In addition, when students discuss work with others, they must acknowledge each other on the assignment submission. In addition to the above, harsher penalties following from any standard university policies will be pursued where appropriate.

Special Needs Students. Students with disabilities requiring academic accommodations in this course must register with the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities for a formal evaluation of disability-related needs. Registered PMC students are required to contact the Centre, 613-520-6608, every term to ensure that I receive your Letter of Accommodation, no later than two weeks before the first assignment is due or the first in-class test/midterm requiring accommodations. If you require accommodation for your formally scheduled exam(s) in this course, please submit your request for accommodation to PMC by November 7, 2008 for December examinations, and March 6, 2009 for April examinations.

Detailed Course Outline. We will cover topics from the official course outline above.
A tentative outline is available here.

Last updated: January 5, 2009
For comments on this page, mail to: jthorpe (at)