Public Key Cryptography
Today’s widespread use of electronic networks in the economic world has raised cryptography from a speciality of the military and secret services to a topic of public interest, which concerns international organisations like the UNO ([UNCITRAL, 1998a] and [UNCITRAL, 1998b]) and the EU ([Commission of the European Communities, 1998]). Unlike conventional cryptosystems, public key cryptography is applicable on a large scale base, in principle allowing secure and authorised communication between any two persons in the world. In the following chapter we give a brief introduction to the concepts of public key cryptography and present some algorithms. We hereby focus on schemes for encryption and digital signatures which can be generalised to arbitrary groups, especially to elliptic curve groups. A comprehensive treatment of cryptographic issues is given in [Stinson, 1995] and [Menezes et al., 1997].
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