Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 06 March 2019 08:59

No visa, so the S in RSA misses RSAC 2019 crypto panel

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Adi Shamir: missing due to the lack of an American visa. Adi Shamir: missing due to the lack of an American visa. Courtesy YouTube

Turing Award winner Adi Shamir, the renowned cryptographer who provides the initial S in the well-known RSA cryptography algorithm, is missing from the annual RSA Security conference as he apparently could not obtain a visa to enter the United States.

Shamir was a prominent absentee on the conference's Cryptography Panel which attracts some of the top global cryptography talent.

For example in 2016, the panel consisted of Ron Rivest, MIT Institute Professor, MIT; Shamir; Whitfield Diffie, cryptographer and security expert, Cryptomathic; Moxie Marlinspike, chief technology officer, Whisper Systems; and Martin Hellman, professor emeritus of electrical engineering, Stanford University.

That year, the panel had an absorbing discussion about Apple's decision to refuse to co-operate with the FBI over a case where the law enforcement agency demanded that the company create a new version of its operating system. The FBI wanted to use the new OS to access data on a iPhone belonging to one of the attackers in a 2015 terrorism case.

A conference spokesman told iTWire: "We missed having Adi's insight on the Cryptographer's Panel this year. In his video shared at the beginning of the panel session, Adi said that he was unable to get a visa this year. Beyond that, we do not have details to share."

RSA is one of the first public-key cryptosystems. The acronym is derived from the surnames of the three cryptographers who were behind it: Rivest, Shamir and Leonard Adelman, all of whom were at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the time. The algorithm was first described in 1978.

Shamir, who is also co-inventor of the Feige–Fiat–Shamir identification scheme, one of the inventors of differential cryptanalysis and one who has made numerous contributions to the fields of cryptography and computer science, is now a professor in the Computer Science Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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