University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Talk: Introduction to Elliptic Curve Cryptography (Andres Molina-Markham)

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 16:00 to 17:00

Speaker: Andres Molina-Markham

Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) is widely used today. ECC's applications range from establishing secure Web connections using the Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS) to enabling secure identity and banking transactions using millions of smart cards. ECC is considered by many to provide a foundation for the next generation of public key cryptography protocols. In particular, the National Institute of Standards and Technology considers ECC to be critical in the migration to higher security standards. ECC has strong mathematical foundations for its security, requires smaller keys, and provides high performance in resource constrained devices. Therefore, the implementation of systems using ECC is expected to increase even faster with technological trends, such as the Internet of Things.

In this lecture, I will motivate the use of elliptic curves for cryptography. I will provide a short introduction to the subject suitable for those who have not previously studied elliptic curves, but who have studied other public key cryptosystems, such as the RSA cryptosystem (e.g., students currently taking COMPSCI 597CR). By the end of the discussion, attendees will have learned about concrete applications, attractive features of ECC, as well as references to various materials to learn more about ECC. For example, Sage Math is a great tool that allows experimentation using Python while learning about ECC. I will also provide references to libraries that would allow attendees to learn more about implementation issues of ECC.

Bio: Andres Molina-Markham is a visiting scholar at Dartmouth College. Prior to that he was a research scientist at RSA Labs. His research interests include security and privacy aspects of mobile and ubiquitous systems. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Security, Technology, and Society at Dartmouth College. Andres received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He earned master's degrees in mathematics and in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania. His research proposes novel approaches for identity and access management, leveraging ubiquitous devices---including wearable devices. His work also explores techniques for designing secure systems for mobile eHealth, as well as privacy-enhancing technologies for smart meters and secure communications for computational RFIDs.

Faculty Host: Tim Richards