Dan Boneh, professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford University is offering a free online cryptography class starting in January.

Students will get about two hours of video content per week, though broken up into chunks of about 12 minutes (or smaller). They’ll also get quizzes from the videos and standalone quizzes, as well as programming assignments.

Here’s the description of the course:

Students will learn how to reason about the security of cryptographic constructions and how to apply this knowledge to real-world applications. The course begins with a detailed discussion of how two parties who have a shared secret key can communicate securely when a powerful adversary eavesdrops and tampers with traffic. We will examine many deployed protocols and analyze mistakes in existing systems. The second half of the course discusses public-key techniques that let two or more parties generate a shared secret key. We will cover the relevant number theory and discuss public-key encryption, digital signatures, and authentication protocols. Towards the end of the course we will cover more advanced topics such as zero-knowledge, distributed protocols such as secure auctions, and a number of privacy mechanisms. Throughout the course students will be exposed to many exciting open problems in the field.

A background in discrete probability is also said to be helpful. If you want a free course in crypt at your leisure, this sounds like a great option.

Boneh is the head of the applied cryptography group at Stanford, and has focused on applications of cryptography to computer security. He’s editor of the Journal of Cryptography and the Journal of the ACM.

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