By stern on Jun 18, 2007
Fast forward a few years: large-scale compute grids enable brute-force attacks against weaker (shorter key length) crypto systems, and increasing the key length to stay one or two hops ahead of the bad guys means additional drains on power, performance and time. Particularly bad things if you're worried about securing a data path to your mobile device, where power and time equal battery life. What's needed is a crypto system that uses shorter key lengths to produce a stronger system, and the click-fitting math this time are elliptic curves, providing a more efficient way to tackle the factoring problems underlying crypto systems. The result - elliptic curve cryptography - is a promising step in making systems more efficient and secure at the same time.
Aside from reading Simon Singh's Fermat's Enigma, which neatly tied together modular forms, elliptic curves, Fermat's Last Theorem, and Princeton University, I am, in the words of Napoleon Dynamite, in the need of some skills. For higher math, bigger invention and practical applications of all of the above, I had Sun Labs Distinguished Engineer Vipul Gupta join me for our Innovating@Sun podcast on Cryptography Breakthroughs. It's the current equivalent of being told that large prime numbers are in your future.