Cryptography is the art and science of communicating in secure, private, and reliable ways. One of the basic problems in cryptography is that of encrypting and decrypting data. Encryption is the transformation of data into a form (ciphertext) which is ideally impossible to read without the need of appropriate knowledge. Its purpose is to ensure privacy by keeping information hidden from anyone for whom it is not intended. Decryption is the reverse of encryption, that is, the transformation of data back to its original form (plaintext). Encryption and decryption generally require the use of some hidden information, referred to as a key. Keys are used to translate a message into its encrypted form, and then to decrypt it back to its original form. Modern algorithms are designed so that a user who knows the algorithm but does not know the key cannot easily derive plaintext from the corresponding ciphertext.
Biometrics refers to the identification of an individual based on his/her physiological characteristics, like a fingerprint, face, voice or behavior like handwriting or keystroke patterns. Because biometric characteristics are unique to each individual, they can be used to prevent theft of fraud. In addition, unlike a password or a PIN, a biometric cannot be lost, stolen, or recreated. Most biometric technology systems use the same basic principles of operation. First, a person must be registered, or enrolled, on the biometric system. To be authenticated, a person must provide a real-time biometric measurement. This measurement is then processed using the same algorithm that was used at enrollment. The output of the live measurement is then compared to the stored template.
The goal of the course is to introduce you to the areas of Cryptography and Biometrics. These are two different areas, however, there is a lot of interest lately in combining the two areas together for various applications. One possible application is the use of Biometrics for Encryption (referred to as Biometric Encryption). Another idea is to use Biometrics for Authentication. First, we will review the fundamentals of Cryptography and Biometrics. Then, we will concentrate on a number of interesting papers (mainly on Biometrics). The course requires the completion of a semester project which will involve combining Cryptography with Biometrics. The instructors will discuss with you possible project ideas but you are strongly encouraged to discuss your own project ideas with the instructors.
This is an advanced level course suited for graduate students in Computer Science and Engineering. It is primarily intended for highly motivated graduate students who are interested in doing work on the areas of Biometrics and Cryptography. There are many problems in these areas suitable for investigation by Master's/PhD's students leading to a master thesis or dissertation. The course contains three main parts: