Internal Preview! The data shown below is not valid for students! Please refer to the official Module Descriptions at the Examination Office.


study semester
standard study semester
usually every year
1 semester
teaching language


Dr. Nico Döttling
Dr. Nico Döttling

Assessment & Grades

entrance requirements

While there are no strict requirements to attend this course beyond being interested in the topic, having taking the core-lecture cryptography is recommended.

assessment / exams

Passing a usually oral exam


Determined by the performance in exams


course type /weekly hours
  2 h lectures
+ 2 h tutorial
= 4 h (weekly)
total workload
   60 h of classes
+ 120 h private study
= 180 h (= 6 ECTS)

Aims / Competences to be developed

Obtain a fundamental understanding of how obfuscation can be defined and constructed using cryptographic notions and techniques. Study the mathematical structures and underlying hardness assumptions on which current obfuscation candidates are based.


In software design, obfuscation generally refers to various techniques which make computer code unintelligible, or make it hard to reverse engineer program code. Such techniques have been used for decades in an attempt to protect proprietary algorithms in commercial software. Unfortunately, commercially available obfuscation tools are typically broken within a very short time of their introduction.

From a scientific perspective, this raises the question whether the task of obfuscation is possible at all, or whether any conceivable obfuscation scheme can be broken. To approach this question, we first need to agree on a suitable notion of what it means to break an obfuscation scheme. This question was first addressed by a seminal work of Barak et al. (CRYPTO 2001) who considered several ways of defining security for obfuscation schemes.

In this course, we will take a comprehensive tour through the realm of cryptographically secure obfuscation. We will start by surveying the initial impossibility results, and see how they can be circumvented by weakening the security requirements in a meaningful way. We will proceed to show how obfuscation became a central hub of modern cryptography, on which essentially any advanced notion of proof systems and encryption can be based.

Literature & Reading

Additional Information


This module is part of the following study programmes:

Cybersecurity MSc: Vertiefungsvorlesungen Cybersecurity
study semester: 1-3 / standard study semester: 4
Cybersecurity BSc (English): Kernthemen der Cybersicherheit
study semester: 5-6 / standard study semester: 6
Cybersicherheit BSc: Vertiefungsvorlesungen der Cybersicherheit
study semester: 5-6 / standard study semester: 6