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Elliptic Curve Cryptography defines future of Internet security

by Rus Abz 2011-11-15 13:20


Elliptic Curve CryptographyRecent studies show that hacker groups are becoming more aggressive in attacking worldwide financial organizations. The hacker attack campaigns are becoming more sophisticated and carefully planned. They are  determined to wreak havoc across global markets and make money in dark waters of carefully targeted campaigns exploiting security vulnerabilities of traditional Internet communication systems. 

The tactical and strategic studies of hacker attack campaigns and activity patterns performed by financial institution security organizations with the support of the National Security Agency indicates that the security cryptography technologies widely adopted on the Internet need improvement. Over the past three decades, the public key cryptography was considered complete and sufficient for providing reliable security of communications over the Internet and throughout many other forms of electronic messaging and communication streams. The public key cryptography has been solid foundation for cryptography key management and digital signatures. In key management, public key cryptography is the main method of distributing the secret keys used in major cryptographic algorithms. For digital signatures, public key cryptography is used to authenticate the origin of data and protect the integrity of that data while in transit. Internet communication fabric has been secured by the first generation of public key cryptographic algorithms developed twenty to thirty years ago. Notably, they form the basis for key management and authentication for Internet Protocol encryption, web traffic secure socket layer protection and securing of electronic mail.

Ancient CipherThe early signs of insufficiency of the older security methods and technology is being addressed by the newer methodologies. In particular moving to elliptic curve cryptography as a foundation for future Internet security addresses the potential threat posed by eavesdroppers and hackers. The collection of attack weapons commonly used by hackers include viruses, worms, spyware, malware, spam, phishing and pharming. One of the main security improvements offered by elliptic curve cryptography is its scalability and the better performance of encryption algorithms generating more protected keys for larger distributed environments. While Internet commerce and banking services grow within cloud computing environments, at the same time allowing access to greater computing resources for massive audiences of mobile users Elliptic Curve Cryptography begin to offer dramatic improvements and cost savings over the older, first generation public key cryptography techniques and methods. The functionality of mobile user communicator and mobile personal assistant devices are exploding, widely utilizing the global positioning systems GPS navigational services, and, therefore the security threats could affect vital aspects of the positioning information provided by the GPS satellite constellation to the mobile GPS navigator, car navigation system or Marine Autopilot GPS enabled electronic compass. In choosing an elliptic curve as the foundation of a public key system there are a variety of different choices. As cloud computing backbone brings new suites of web services capable to scale towards millions of new mobile users the traditional security scalability becomes a bottleneck. Elliptic Curve Cryptography comes to rescue with its virtually unlimited capability to scale new security upwards over time to meet the evolving threats posed by dark threat environment created by eavesdroppers and hacker groups. 

National Security Agency Elliptic Curve CryptographyThe National Institute of Standards and Technology has standardized on a list of fifteen elliptic curves of varying sizes. For protecting both classified and unclassified National Security information, the National Security Agency has decided to move to elliptic curve-based public key management and authentication, scaling up for future Internet cryptography needs. The new elliptic curve algorithms will process stronger elliptic curves over finite fields with large prime moduli of 256, 384, and 521 bits. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other members of NATO are incorporating new forms of elliptic curve cryptography for future Internet based and electronic communication systems to protect classified information throughout and between their governments. The Cryptographic Modernization Initiative in the US Department of Defense aims at replacing over a million of existing cryptographic units over the next decade while developing the highly secure Global Information Grid communication network. Most of the new installations of the networking infrastructure for the cloud computing commercial, financial and government institutions include the new generation of cryptographic equipment and algorithms that use elliptic curve cryptography for key management and digital signatures.





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