• Contact
    • Saarland University
      Department of Computer Science
      66123 Saarbrücken
      phone: +49 (0) 681/302-58090
      fax:      +49 (0) 681/302-58094

Program of Studies:
Bachelor and Master Program Computer Science

Name of the module:
Cryptography, Core Course

CS 578 / CRY

Lecture 4 h (weekly)
Tutorial 2 h (weekly)

Master: 1st -3rd Semester
Bachelor: 5th Semester
At least once every two years

Responsible lecturer:
Prof. Dr. Michael Backes

Prof. Dr. Michael Backes


Level of the unit / mandatory or not:
Graduate course / Mandatory Elective

Course Type / weekly hours:
Lecture 4 h (weekly)
Tutorial 2 h (weekly)
Tutorials in groups of up to 20 students

Total workload: 
270 h = 90 h of classes and 180 h private study


Entrance requirements:
For graduate students: Basic knowledge in theoretical computer science required, background knowledge in number theory and complexity theory helpful

Aims / Competences to be developed:
The fundamental concepts of cryptography are introduced together with their application in common scenarios in practice. The students have learned to assess the degree of security of the respective cryptographic concepts, and they are able to apply - and if necessary to adapt - those concepts to different applications.


  • Historical overview of cryptography
  • Symmetric and asymmetric encryption
  • Digital signatures and message authentication codes
  • Information-theoretic and complexity-theoretic security definitions, cryptographic reduction proofs
  • Core cryptographic building blocks such as cryptographic hashing and the Random Oracle Model, trapdoor-oneway functions, pseudo-number generators, etc.
  • Cryptography in practice (Standards, products)
  • Selected topics from current research

Assessment / Exams:

  • Oral / written exam (depending on the number of students)

A re-exam is normally provided (as written or oral examination)

Used Media:
    Slides (Powerpoint), board


  • D.R. Stinson. Cryptography – Theory and Practice. CRC Press, 2002.
  • N. Smart. Cryptography. McGraw-Hill Education, 2002.
  • Menezes, P. van Oorschot, S. Vanstone. Handbook of Applied Cryptography. CRC Press, 1997, www.cacr.math.uwaterloo.ca/hac/
  • O. Goldreich. Foundations of Cryptography, Vol. 1: Basic Tools + Vol II: Basic Applications. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001 + 2004