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Cryptanalysis of authenticated encryption algorithms

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Faculty/Lead unit

Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Mathematical Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Harry Bartlett
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Emeritus Professor Ed Dawson
Emeritus Professor
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Leonie Simpson
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Cryptography is the science of securing communications. It includes encryption (to provide confidentiality of message content), message authentication (to provide some assurance that the content has not been altered in transit) and a number of other services. These services can be provided by dedicated algorithms (block ciphers) or by finite state machines (stream ciphers, 'sponge' structures).

Algorithms that have been proposed for providing such services are analysed using various techniques, to determine if there are any weaknesses that an attacker could exploit to defeat the protection they are supposed to provide: this analysis process is known as cryptanalysis. New algorithms continue to be proposed, so there is an ongoing need for analysis of these proposals to assess their suitability and effectiveness.

Research activities

In this project, you will develop a knowledge of current and recent proposals for providing authenticated encryption (combined encryption and message authentication) and an understanding of various techniques for cryptanalysis.

This will enable you to review existing cryptanalysis of the proposals and to cryptanalyse these proposals using other appropriate techniques.


The expected outcomes of this project include:

  • contribution to the ongoing investigations of authenticated encryption algorithms by providing further cryptanalysis of current and proposed algorithms
  • identification of limitations in current or proposed algorithms and indicate feasible ways to overcome these limitations.

Skills and experience

A sound background in finite mathematics and/or introductory cryptography would be very useful.

Programming skills and familiarity with design of algorithms would also be helpful.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.