NSUCRYPTO-2019 International Cryptography Olympiad Results

NSUCRYPTO is the only international cryptography competition that includes schoolchildren and students, as well as professionals. The Olympiad’s goal is to attract young people to cryptography as their profession. Over the years, more than 1600 participants from 56 countries have participated in the event. The Olympiad is characterized by the inclusion of unsolved cryptography and information security problems proposed by leading experts in the field.

In the school individual championship, first place went to Novosibirsk student Alexei Lvov (gymnasium No. 6) together with a student from Bulgaria. The third place for schoolchildren was also shared by Varvara Lebedinskaya (SESC) and a participant from Sweden. An honorary Olympiad diploma was awarded to Mikhail Kostochka (Lyceum No. 130, Novosibirsk).

Natalya Tokareva, Chairperson of the NSUCRYPTO Program Committee, Head of the Novosibirsk Cryptographic Center, Head of the JetBrains Research Cryptography Laboratory, and Associate Professor at the NSU Information Technologies Department Computer Systems Section, talked about the event,

The level of the Olympiad and its participants is increasing from year to year so it is more difficult for students from Novosibirsk to be winners. However, it makes the Olympiad more interesting and this year we really achieved a new level. Interest in the event is growing throughout the world.

In the university student team round, the Novosibirsk team with Vitaly Cherkashin, Zoya Tabikhanova, and Evgeny Bykova won an Olympiad diploma. The main prize places in the student section and the “professionals” section went to participants from other countries and the city of Moscow.

Anastasia Gorodilova, Co-Chair of the Olympiad Program Committee, and Senior Lecturer at the NSU Mechanics and Mathematics Department Theoretical Cybernetics Section, described the competition challenges,

This year, as many as five unsolved problems were discussed in the second round along with various theoretical and practical problems. It is exciting to report that one of these "open questions" was partially solved during the Olympiad! The task was to find a collision for the hash function Curl-P-27. Participants were asked to find a couple of messages whose hash values ​​are the same. A participant from France proposed a theoretical method for constructing such a collision that can already be considered a weakness of the hash function. This proposal was awarded a special prize from the Olympiad Program Committee.