Cryptographic Protocols: From the Abstract to the Practical to the Actual
We identify three levels of cryptographic research and development: Starting from the general “abstract” design level, the first layer includes much of theoretical cryptography, and general engineering principles (most present in cryptographic conferences). The second level is of designs which are contributed to systems and international standards, and include mechanisms ready to be implemented in hardware and software; we call this level “practical.” Finally, the third level which we call “actual,” includes fielded cryptography as external contribution to, and part of “general (hardware/ software) engineering projects,” requiring cryptographic participation and supervision throughout the life cycle of the constructed system. I briefly review these three levels and their connections; (the treatment is based on personal experience and is, therefore, subjective). The position expressed here motivates the need for a scientific forum on“real life cryptographic designs and protocols,” to deal with the interactions between the three levels from actual real life perspective.