Daniel J. Bernstein - Biography
Daniel Julius Bernstein (sometimes known simply as djb; born October 29, 1971) is a mathematician, cryptologist, programmer, and professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of the computer software programs qmail, publicfile, and djbdns.
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Early life
Bernstein earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from New York University (1991) and has a PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley (1995), where he studied under Hendrik Lenstra. He attended Bellport High School, a public high school on Long Island, and graduated at 15 in 1987. The same year, he ranked 5th place in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. In 1987 (at the age of 16), he achieved a Top 10 ranking in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.
Bernstein v. United States
Bernstein brought the court case Bernstein v. United States. The ruling in the case declared software as protected speech under the First Amendment, and national restrictions on encryption software were overturned. Bernstein was originally represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but later represented himself despite having no formal training as a lawyer.
He has also proposed Internet Mail 2000, an alternative system for electronic mail, intended to replace Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Post Office Protocol (POP3) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).
Software security
In the autumn of 2004, Bernstein taught a course about computer software security, titled "UNIX Security Holes". The sixteen members of the class discovered 91 new UNIX security holes. Bernstein, long a promoter of the idea that full disclosure is the best method to promote software security and founder of the securesoftware mailing list, publicly announced 44 of them with sample exploit code. This received some press attention and rekindled a debate over full disclosure.
Bernstein has recently explained that he is pursuing a strategy to "produce invulnerable computer systems". He plans to achieve this by putting the vast majority of computer software into an "extreme sandbox" that only allows it to transform input into output, and by writing bugfree replacements (like qmail and djbdns) for the remaining components that need additional privileges. He concludes: "I won’t be satisfied until I've put the entire security industry out of work."
In spring 2005 Bernstein taught a course on "high speed cryptography". He demonstrated new results against implementations of AES (cache attacks) in the same time period.
, djb's stream cipher "Salsa20" was selected as a member of the final portfolio of the eSTREAM project, part of a European Union research directive.
Secure Software
Bernstein has written a number of security-aware programs, including:
- qmail
- djbdns
- ucspi-tcp
- daemontools
- publicfile
Bernstein offers a security guarantee for qmail and djbdns; while some claim there is a dispute over a reported potential qmail exploit, a functioning exploit targeting qmail running on 64-bit platforms has been published. Bernstein claims that the exploit does not fall within the parameters of the qmail security guarantee. In March 2009, Bernstein awarded $1000 to Matthew Dempsky for finding a security hole in djbdns.
In August 2008, Bernstein announced DNSCurve, a proposal to secure the Domain Name System. DNSCurve uses techniques from elliptic curve cryptography to give a vast decrease in computational time over the RSA public-key algorithm used by DNSSEC, and uses the existing DNS hierarchy to propagate trust by embedding public keys into specially formatted (but backward-compatible) DNS records.
Mathematics
Bernstein has published a number of papers in mathematics and computation. Many of his papers deal with algorithms or implementations. He also wrote a survey titled "Multidigit multiplication for mathematicians".
In 2001 Bernstein circulated "Circuits for integer factorization: a proposal," which caused a stir as it potentially suggested that if physical hardware implementations could be close to their theoretical efficiency, then perhaps current views about how large numbers have to be before they are impractical to factor might be off by a factor of three. Thus as 512-bit RSA was then breakable, then perhaps 1536-bit RSA would be too. Bernstein was careful not to make any actual predictions, and emphasized the importance of correctly interpreting asymptotic expressions. However, several other important names in the field, Arjen Lenstra, Adi Shamir, Jim Tomlinson, and Eran Tromer disagreed strongly with Bernstein's conclusions. Bernstein has received funding to investigate whether this potential can be realized.
He is also the author of the mathematical libraries DJBFFT, a fast portable FFT library, and of primegen, an asymptotically fast small prime sieve with low memory footprint based on the sieve of Atkin rather than the more usual sieve of Eratosthenes. Both have been used effectively to aid the search for large prime numbers.
See also
- Salsa20, Poly1305-AES, Snuffle, cryptographic primitives designed by Bernstein.
- CubeHash, Bernstein's submission to the NIST SHA-3 competition.
- Chain loading (which is sometimes known as Bernstein chaining, due to Bernstein's extensive use of this technique)
- Quick Mail Queuing Protocol (QMQP)
- Quick Mail Transport Protocol (QMTP)
- Bernstein v. United States
Notes
Further reading
External links
Discussion
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