Along with climate change, cybersecurity and privacy are emerging as central issues our society needs to tackle in the coming decade to secure our future. The University of Waterloo’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute (CPI) is tackling these challenges head-on by building on Waterloo’s expertise in computer science, engineering, mathematics, cryptography and quantum computing to create world-leading cybersecurity research and technologies and increasing interdisciplinary collaboration across all faculties. The impact of this research is already being felt around the globe. CPI’s vision is to be internationally recognized as a leading interdisciplinary research institute making significant impact in improving information security and human privacy.
Waterloo has 88 professors whose research is related to cryptography, security and privacy enhancing technologies, including experts in relevant areas of:
- human-computer interaction
- information retrieval
- data science and machine learning
- networks and distributed systems
- embedded systems
- software engineering
Cryptography researchers at Waterloo have created a successful spin-off company to commercialize public key cryptography, resulting in adoption by U.S. National Security Agency for use in government and commercial systems. Waterloo’s privacy researchers have created and transferred systems such as Off-the-Record Messaging, adopted by creators of popular instant messaging applications.
Waterloo’s Strategic Research Plan identifies and promotes research topics in information technology and communications, such as wireless communications, multimedia on the Internet, and mobile Internet protocols. The Plan specifically acknowledges the role of research in mathematics to enable cryptography to secure the digital economy.
Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, a world-leading centre for the study of quantum information science and technology, is an important ingredient in Waterloo’s unique capability in cybersecurity. Initial commercial exploitations of quantum computing include quantum communication to securely exchange keys for encryption (quantum key distribution). Quantum computers will compromise the existing public-key encryption and signature schemes currently in use. The next generation of security infrastructure will use practical technologies that must be devised with an awareness of progress in quantum technologies and their impact on the security of these tools.