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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Cryptography I by Stanford University

4.8
stars
3,286 ratings
673 reviews

About the Course

Cryptography is an indispensable tool for protecting information in computer systems. In this course you will learn the inner workings of cryptographic systems and how to correctly use them in real-world applications. The course begins with a detailed discussion of how two parties who have a shared secret key can communicate securely when a powerful adversary eavesdrops and tampers with traffic. We will examine many deployed protocols and analyze mistakes in existing systems. The second half of the course discusses public-key techniques that let two parties generate a shared secret key. Throughout the course participants will be exposed to many exciting open problems in the field and work on fun (optional) programming projects. In a second course (Crypto II) we will cover more advanced cryptographic tasks such as zero-knowledge, privacy mechanisms, and other forms of encryption....

Top reviews

BH

Jan 14, 2020

Provides a comprehensive introduction to cryptographic history, current technology, best practices and known attacker techniques. A great deal of material is covered in a relatively compact program.

LG

Dec 16, 2017

This course gives is perfect to start learning cryptography, explanations are detailed, topics carefully selected combining theory with real world examples and making emphasis in important details.

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1 - 25 of 657 Reviews for Cryptography I

By Martin F J

Oct 11, 2017

I think this course was too difficult so those 6 weeks became much longer for me - maybe timeconsumption was 12 weeks. So that is my only criticism. This course could in my opinion have been divided into "Cryptography basics" and "Cryptography 1". On the other hand, I know Stanford is a good university, I just wish I had been informed about a course that could more easily have introduced me to the topic. This is/was my first cryptography course, so it was a very hard task for me to go through... But the instructor seems very good in his research field and many people recommend this course, thanks.

By Camille G

Feb 09, 2018

I really enjoyed this course!

I was glad to work on prime numbers and RSA, even if it was quite late in the course.

I would not recommend it for everyone, though. It is definitely not for beginners; you need a mathematical mind and a solid maths knowledge. So, overall more difficult than what I expected.

Some things could be improved:

- the description of the course could go into more details (maybe with an entertaining short video?), especially regarding the requirements level mentioned above and the overall difficulty level you can expect

- a *formatted* transcript would be awesome

- sometimes, Dan speaks too fast or his writing is not 'top-notch'

- repeating the major concepts, and repeating them in a different way each time, could be done more frequently

- the audio track has been edited and can be 'bumpy' sometimes + do not hesitate to insert more pauses!!

- the course is a bit theoretical and could use more real-life, very concrete applications

Furthermore, at some stages of the course, it is hard to see the 'big picture'. We get the latter at the very end.

Also, keep in mind that the tests are not way easier than the corresponding lessons... quite the contrary actually.

I must highlight two very useful things during the course: recaps at the beginning of some videos, and 'graphical' explanations.

Finally, I had some good laughs hearing Dan state 'it's not that hard', 'it's not that difficult to see' or 'this is a pretty straightforward proof'... Reminded me of my old advanced maths classes.

By Sophia L

Mar 18, 2020

It requires knowledge of how cryptography works and the terms used to describe cryptography. I would not recommend it as a beginner course.

By Naresh B D

Apr 05, 2017

Professor is very knowledgable but he is fast... Even before i can understand the first line. he is on the fourth line. i find Hard to keep up with him. I am dropping this course.

By nikhil g

Jul 07, 2018

There should be examples regarding to assignment questions i.e. there should be examples similar to assignment questions

By Yunzhu M

Jan 22, 2019

This course is very well explained and stimulating. I am a third year maths undergraduate in the UK. Although I did find some concepts from computer science very foreign in the very beginning, I soon picked them up. So don't be afraid if you are like me who don't know much about computer science. Staying active and curious is the key. Good luck with the course and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And here I would like to say thank you to Dan Boneh for making the videos and making this course public. I am looking forward to take Cryptography II in this autumn.

By Bernardo C d A C

Mar 11, 2017

Cutting edge cryptography topics. Good explanations and slides, but pause button is highly recommended. Can be a bit too mathematical for the general public, and not very formal for mathematicians.

By Jewellia T

Dec 22, 2016

This isn't a beginners course. I dropped out in first week. I took every note I could and reviewed again and again. I really think the instructor is an intelligent man, but I'm not quite sure he understands how to teach well. I'm really disappointed that I didn't get to take anything away from this class.

By Richard K

Jan 06, 2017

Very theoretical and mathematical and not enough real examples.

By Ashwani K

Aug 04, 2019

Only theory No practicals or solved questions

By Enrico S

Jul 17, 2018

The course is excellent! Exactly what you would expect from a world-class institution like Stanford.

Prof. Boneh masterfully guides you through the core building blocks of cryptography, beautifully weaving the concepts into a logical framework that helps understanding the big picture and the role that each plays. The course is very rigorous but the math is not overwhelming and also discusses very useful practical topics like common cryptographic protocols (TLS, WEP, etc.) and the attacks that were discovered over the years.

The course is challenging and takes quite a bit of effort, but at the end I feel that I learned a lot. While I probably need some more time and practice exercises to fully absorb the material, I feel that from here I could go on and independently dig deeper in some of the topics or tackle more advanced one.

Looking forward to part II!

By Justin P

Dec 31, 2018

I'm a software developer - I took this course because I wanted to demystify cryptography, and it delivered 100%. It describes fundamental cryptographic primitives, how to use them (and how not to use them) with real-world examples, as well as the theory behind why they are secure, and what "secure" actually means.

There is a fair amount of mathematics involved - everything is covered in the course, but someone with a background in mathematics will definitely have an easier time.

By Suraj B

Jun 13, 2017

The Cryptography I is a very formal course taught by a very accomplished professor, Dr. Dan Boneh of the Stanford University. He explains the inner workings of cryptosystems through mathematical structures and proofs. This way we are able to appreciate and fully understand crypto algorithms and their limitations. He covers topics in cryptography ranging from the ancient ciphers to modern public key cryptography and everything in between. This is cryptography at its core. Thank you, Dr. Dan Boneh!

By Lewis C L

May 08, 2017

There were too many repititions of tautological proofs. Should have been covered in 1/2 or more of a single session: this is how we reason about cryptography. Too much focus on low-level primitives which doesn't make sense if we are to never implement our own cryptography. Finally, as a general point it would be amazing if there were ungraded "practice sets" that came with answers: you work it work them out and look at the answers and if you don't understand you try to figure out what you can't get. You can ask questions on the forum without revealing anything. The focus should be on working problems. Then, the quiz needn't permit infinite retrials: working through the practice sets is where the learning would occur. As it is now, you listen to the lecture, read over the notes several times, and then try the quiz. I did the programming before taking the quiz: that was a chance to actual work with the crypto algorithms.

By Baltrus S

Feb 16, 2020

The best course I have taken so far! Not only it introduces you to the world of cryptography, but gives a mathematical overview of how everything works and many practical experiences. The second part is coming soon, expectations are over the roof! The book covering materials in these courses, that Boneh is still working on, will be the best resource for all cryptography related topics(for me at least), I guess it's set out to be the ultimate cryptography textbook.

As a person with mathematical background I admired every piece of the course and how well everything was put together. It really shows how Maths as a science is not just a theory, it's very much practical as well. Having said that, one doesn't have to have mathematical background to comprehend course materials.

The exercises at each end of week are very well crafted - they make you reuse most important information from the week and stick that deep into your brain. I finished the course 1.5 years ago and still remember what most exercises were about.

I remember some colleagues complained about week 5 being too much theoretical and therefore dropped the course. For me it was one of the most interesting weeks. Anyway, I would say first 4 weeks are a must for any developer who is responsible for any software/hardware that has something to do with encryption/authentication.

TLDR: If you are considering the course, just take it. The information you will get is universal and timeless.

By Dragos R

Feb 20, 2019

It's been a great learning experience. My background in math / algebra / calculus is rather weak, so it was a real stretch. But it's so rewarding to understand how the fabric of our daily interactions is protected (or how vulnerable it can be) with modern cryptography. Kudoz to the teacher!

By Blake H

Jan 14, 2020

Provides a comprehensive introduction to cryptographic history, current technology, best practices and known attacker techniques. A great deal of material is covered in a relatively compact program.

By Yash R K

Aug 01, 2016

I am very happy and satisfied pursuing this course. I love it. Cryptography is one of the very important concepts in Computer Science and just loved to have the course from Stanford University.

By José d J G R

Aug 04, 2016

This is just a great course. The subject was new to me, and while it was difficult, I learned a lot and actually got a good grade.

Prof. Boneh is engaging and very clear in his explanations.

By Santosh M

Feb 19, 2019

One of the finest online courses I have attended. Very detailed explanation with examples. Very good and highly recommended for beginners.

Thank you Prof. Dan Boneh

By Sebastiao B

Jan 15, 2019

Very good course. Expectant for level II

By Benjamin W

Sep 15, 2019

This is an excellent and challenging course that covers the basics of symmetric key cryptography, authenticated encryption, and public key cryptography. These topics are covered from both mathematical (notions and proofs of security) and computational (algorithmic running times, attacks) perspectives. The material is well-selected and progresses in a logical manner. Many of the key ideas are reinforced through their recurrence throughout the course in different contexts. The individual lectures also have a very natural flow: I would find myself wondering something about the topic under discussion, only to have my precise question answered moments later. Mathematical proofs are often given in a somewhat high-level, intuitive way but without truly sacrificing rigour. The in-lecture questions are well-chosen to force you to really think about the material under discussion and the quizzes, although sometimes challenging, are interesting and help teach material left out or only brushed over in the lectures.

There are also optional programming problems, which were quite instructive. A couple of these involve implementing attacks on insecure cryptographic protocols; a successful implementation would lead to the decryption of an encrypted message, which I found to be not only extremely rewarding, but also especially instructive (much more so than simply implementing a cryptographic protocol, which was the goal of at least one assignment). I found it a bit strange that these highly relevant assignments were optional, however. I suppose this is perhaps so that a programming language is not a prerequisite for the course. However, I think several ideas in lectures would be rather difficult to understand without programming knowledge and in any case the level of mathematical maturity demanded for this course is much more of a requirement than some basic programming ability.

My main complaint really regards the speed at which most lectures are given. It seems to me quite unfortunate that so many hours of excellent lectures were recorded at such a speed that you're basically forced to slow the lectures down (which sounds strange) or pause every few seconds in order to digest the material properly. In a university classroom, you have a fixed amount of time to deliver material, but there's simply no reason to go so fast in an online course.

By Oleg L

Jul 24, 2017

Course was very fun to learn, and the instructor was very clear and concise with the lecture. I was slightly unprepared for the difficulty level and math involved, but reviewing the videos and discussion group cleared things up. Do not attempt this course without prior knowledge of some discrete math, otherwise it was a very in-depth course which covered many topics, and I would recommend it to peers.

By Andrea G

Mar 13, 2018

Not a trival course, you should definitively pause the lessons several times in order to take notes.Some of the exams are far to be trivial. A little bit too theoretical, but gave me a good insight of topics I need to understand in my professional life. I would definitively recommend it

By Abhimanyu R

Aug 05, 2018

Very Deep math and at time becomes very confusing!