Elliptic Curve and Quantum Cryptography – CompTIA Security+ SY0-401: 6.1

| September 21, 2014


The creation and use of cryptography has also included new ways to keep our data private. In this video, you’ll learn about the use of elliptic curves to create encryption keys and how quantum cryptography can be used for spy-proof secure channels.

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An emerging technology in cartography is something called elliptic curve cartography, or ECC. ECC was created because of the constraints that we have associated with the calculations that we use in asymmetric encryption. As you recall with asymmetric encryption, we have to have a lot of mathematics that go into this. It takes up a lot of resources, a lot of CPU cycles. And that’s because with asymmetric encryption, we have to calculate these very large integers that also happen to be prime numbers. And to be able to figure that out requires a whole lot of calculations.

Well, in steps elliptic curve cartography. Instead of using numbers to do this, let’s use these curves that we’ve created. Every curve has a mathematical formula associated with it and a number of parameters that we can assign to that and each side can keep track of. At the end of the day, what this means is that this is much simpler to calculate. So it takes fewer storage requirements. It’s easier to transmit, especially over mobile connections and mobile devices, that already don’t have a lot of memory and a lot of CPU, can now use a simpler way of performing this asymmetric encryption.

Another emerging technology in cartography is quantum cartography. And like the name implies, this is using quantum physics and applying that into the calculations and methods of encryptions that we’re doing inside of our cartography. What we’re doing is this mathematical movement of these particles is now being used as part of our encryption mechanisms.

We are using some practical examples of this. There’s something called quantum key distribution, QKD. And when you have two users that are sending information back and forth– for instance, they may be communicating a shared key between each other. And with that type of communication, you want to be sure that nobody in the middle is also able to see that shared key. It should be something that only the endpoints are aware of.

Well, with quantum key distribution, if any third party happens to try to look in there, it’s very, very obvious that it has occurred, because with quantum physics you can tell when somebody is looking into the middle of what’s going on. This is a very practical use. One that is being used today in cryptography fate. And we will certainly see elliptic curve and quantum cartography being used more and more as this particular kind of technology evolves.

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Category: CompTIA Security+ SY0-401

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