Elliptic curve cryptography

In case you have been wondering what ECC is, here’s a pretty good overview:

h/t Bruce Schneier

A little background

Most encryption that we use is symmetric encryption, with algorithms such as AES.  It is called “symmetric encryption” because the same key is used for both encryption and decryption.  And that requires that both sender and receiver share a common encryption key.

The big problem with symmetric encryption, is with the key exchange needed for that shared encryption/ decryption key.  If somebody can spy on the key exchange, then the encrypted session is compromised.  That’s where public key encryption comes in.  With public key encryption, there is no shared key.  There is as pair of keys, one made public and the other kept secret.

Elliptic Curve Cryptography, along with RSA and Diffie Hellman, are public key methods.  They are typically used to exchange symmetric encryption keys.




About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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