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25th of January, 2021

Spreading cryptographic knowledge

Xiphera will take an initiative to share cryptographic knowledge by offering courses and training. Project Manager Petri Jehkonen tells his story and what his role is in this exciting new project.

Mixture of technology and education from three decades

Xiphera's Project Manager Petri Jehkonen in his winter jacket.

I started studying in the Helsinki University of Technology in 1991. My studies were interrupted by an intensive work era, but I returned to the university in 2017. Now, in the beginning of 2021, I am waiting for the formal meetings to complete the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. My first studies focused on signal processing and building electronics hardware with state-of-the-art components of the time. Now in final stretch of my studies in Aalto University, I focused on advanced signal processing, statistics, machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence.

As an interesting sidetrack, I received Bachelor’s Degree in Social Services and Health Care Degree Program, focusing on elderly care in 2018 at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences.

My work experience is a mixture of different technology fields and education from three decades. I worked as a Research Assistant in Helsinki University of Technology in the 90’s and as a Teaching Assistant for Aalto University Executive Education (Aalto EE) and Aalto University School of Science and Technology at the turn of the 2020s. I was also part of creating a programming course and network-programming courses for LAB University of Applied Sciences.

In addition to the educational field, I have worked for both multinational semiconductor companies as well as Finnish security firms and startups. My roles included working directly with customers, software and hardware development, along with productisation of both memory and camera-sensor technology.

On top of all this, I’ve had time for various freetime activities such as scuba-diving, mountain biking, bird watching, and Cuban salsa dancing, to name a few. Quite recently, I have started stargazing by observing stars with my bare eyes. I just want to be able to enjoy the dark nights during Finnish winter and place our home planet Earth to the universe.

Naturally, I have technology related hobbies, such as radio-amateur (OH2HOJ), creating smart and secure IoT home systems, and learning the new methods and algorithms in the fields of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Xiphera's Project Manager, Petri Jehkonen, working with his laptop in the lobby of A Grid building in Otaniemi, Finland.

Launching Xiphera’s training activities

In the fall of 2020, Xiphera’s CEO Matti Tommiska called me to introduce a fascinating idea. Matti had been thinking together with the other Co-Founder Kimmo Järvinen about the current general understanding and knowledge level of cryptography, and what Xiphera as an academic growth company could do to increase it.

The need for cryptography training, in their opinion, has arisen from various sources. One example is the security breaches in the industrial systems, which often originate from false assumptions on how cryptography operates or how it should be applied. Furthermore, there is an increasing demand for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which applies also to cryptography training.

The idea of Xiphera’s training activities sounded interesting, and I got excited immediately. I started working at Xiphera in the beginning of 2021, and my first project is to develop training material to make cryptography more understandable and accessible for anyone interested.

The current plan is to introduce the theory of cryptography through the underlying mathematics and hands-on practical exercises. Ideally, the material will offer a successful learning experience also for those who are not intimately familiar with highly advanced mathematic topics. The training material is envisioned to enable participants to pay special attention to the critical aspects of cryptography and to avoid unintended mistakes when applying it.

Bright times ahead

Xiphera offers optimised hardware-based implementations of standardised cryptographic algorithms and solutions. Therefore, it is natural that when my first project is finished, I will jump to other Xiphera projects and contribute to them with my acquired expertise and enthusiasm.

I feel great to be the part of the innovative and capable Xiphera team! It is fascinating to spread the latest cryptographic know-how to wider audience, which hopefully will lead to a more secure world with peace of mind for everyone.