Ian Avrum Goldberg (born March 31, 1973) is a cryptographer and cypherpunk. He is best known for breaking Netscape's implementation of SSL (with David Wagner),[1] and for his role as chief scientist of Radialpoint (formerly Zero Knowledge Systems), a Canadian software company. Goldberg is currently a professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, within the University of Waterloo. He was formerly Tor Project board of directors chairman,[2] and is one of the designers of off the record messaging.[3]

Ian Avrum Goldberg
Portrait of Ian Avrum Goldberg
Born (1973-03-31) March 31, 1973 (age 46)
Alma mater
Known forOff-the-Record Messaging
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Science
InstitutionsUniversity of Waterloo
Thesis"A Pseudonymous Communications Infrastructure for the Internet" (2000)
Doctoral advisorEric Brewer


He attended high school at the University of Toronto Schools, graduating in 1991. In 1995, he received a B.Math from the University of Waterloo in pure mathematics and computer science. He obtained a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in December 2000. His thesis was entitled A Pseudonymous Communications Infrastructure for the Internet.[4] His advisor was Eric Brewer.


As a high school student, Goldberg was a member of Canada's team to the International Math Olympiad from 1989 to 1991, where he received a bronze, silver, and gold medal respectively.[5] He was also a member of University of Waterloo team that won the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest in 1994.[6] In 1998, Wired Magazine chose him as a member of the "Wired 25".[7] In 2011 he won the EFF Pioneer Award.[8]

Work in cryptographyEdit

In 1995, Goldberg with David Wagner discovered a flaw in the random number generator used for temporary key generation in the SSL implementation of Netscape Navigator.[1][9]

One of the first cryptanalyses on the WEP wireless encryption protocol was conducted by Goldberg with Nikita Borisov and David Wagner, revealing serious flaws in its design.[10][11]

Goldberg was a co-author of the Off-the-Record instant messaging encryption protocol. He is also the author of the Perl script included in the novel Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.[12]

In 2009 Goldberg was co-author of the Sphinx Mix Format [13] which is nowadays implemented with the extension of a per hop payload to increase the privacy of payer and payee while routing Bitcoin payments through the Lightning Network.[14]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Ian Goldberg (1995-09-18). "Netscape SSL implementation cracked!". Newsgrouphks.lists.cypherpunks. Retrieved 2006-09-12.
  2. ^ "Tor Project, a Digital Privacy Group, Reboots With New Board". Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  3. ^ "Tor Project Board of Directors". Tor Project. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  4. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 30 October 2001.
  5. ^ "International Mathematical Olympiad: Hall of fame".
  6. ^ "1993-94 18th Annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Final Report". 2002-04-01. Archived from the original on 2011-01-02.
  7. ^ "The Wired 25". Wired. 6 (11). November 1998. Retrieved 2006-10-30.
  8. ^ "EFF Celebrates the 2011 Pioneer Award Winners". Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  9. ^ "The Cypherpunks Who Cracked Netscape". people.eecs.berkeley.edu.
  10. ^ Nikita Borisov; Ian Goldberg; David Wagner (2001). "Intercepting Mobile Communications: The Insecurity of 802.11" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-09-12. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "(In)Security of the WEP algorithm". www.isaac.cs.berkeley.edu.
  12. ^ Neal Stephenson (1999). Cryptonomicon. New York: Avon Books. p. Acknowledgements. ISBN 978-0-380-97346-0.
  13. ^ "Sphinx: A Compact and Provably Secure Mix Format" (PDF). cypherpunks.ca/~iang/.
  14. ^ "Basics Of Lightning Technology #4: Onion Routing Protocol". www.github.com/lightningnetwork/lightning-rfc.

External linksEdit