There are three Working Groups within SymLab.
SymLab-WG1: Hash Functions. The aims of SymLab-WG1 are to contribute to advances in the cryptanalysis of hash functions and to the development of efficient and trusted hash functions for academic and industry use. The practical and theoretical expertise on hash functions available to ECRYPT II is substantial, and by coordinating an open evaluation of candidate hash functions and conducting joint research on the cryptanalysis of hash functions, work within SymLab-WG1 can have a significant impact on the process of selecting efficient and trusted hash functions for the next decades. The work of SymLab-WG1 will obviously also be synchronised with the NIST Cryptographic Hash Algorithm Competition.
STVL will also conduct joint research on aspects of the cryptanalysis of hash functions not directly related to the evaluation activity, and will investigate new directions for the design of hash functions, as a continuation of the work performed by the working group in charge of hash functions in the STVL-ECRYPT. Among the research topics envisaged, are for example, the extension of tools for automatic cryptanalysis of hash functions, the development of theoretical models that capture the essential security features of hash functions (in particular the definition of security in the absence of secret keys), the development of design criteria for hash functions, and the separation between application-agile and application specific hash function profiles.
SymLab-WG2: Lightweight Cryptography. The aim of this working group is to study lightweight symmetric algorithms that are compact enough to fit the resources limitations of pervasive devices (or ambient intelligence). All of these devices are expected to have limited computing power; additionally they may have constraints on energy or power consumption. This has become an important area of research over the past years, both for industrial and academic research, and several dedicated or general purpose algorithms have been proposed. It is anticipated that by a co-ordinated research effort on this topic, SymLab-WG2 will contribute to the emergence of efficient and trusted cryptographic solutions to enhance the security and privacy of pervasive devices.
Work within SymLab-WG2 will focus on assessing the security and performance of the main cryptographic algorithms (primitives or complete schemes) based on symmetric techniques that have been proposed so far to provide various security and privacy functionalities. The scope of this joint research will include dedicated primitives or schemes as well as adaptation of general purpose primitives that are compact enough (e.g. AES TRIVIUM and GRAIN) to the specific requirements of the lightweight environment. If felt required by the working group, activities may include an initiative for encouraging the development of novel primitives or protocols suited for a lightweight environment.
SymLab-WG3: Pulse. The main purpose of this working group is to monitor new developments (the pulse) in symmetric key cryptography and cryptanalysis. The group aims to identify new problems and areas of research that are likely to affect the security and design of cryptographic primitives. Areas of interest include, for instance, the formal study of block cipher design and investigation and monitoring of new developments in symmetric key cryptanalysis. This working group will also continue work on the eStream Project, including following closely any developments that may affect the security of selected stream ciphers.