Feeds

Voltage secures patents on identity-based encryption

Assumes you are who you say you are

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Voltage Security has been granted five patents covering the core functionality of their "identity-based" encryption products, though they're keen to share the technology with everyone on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis.

Most public-key encryption systems require an exchange of keys before data can be encrypted, but Voltage takes advantage of Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) to create a system where knowing someone's email address, or any other unique identifier, gives access to their public key and thus enables encrypted messages to be sent to that person.

To massively simplify: ECC provides a large range of key pairs, and the unique identifier is used to select which pair should be used to communicate with that person. To encrypt a message the sender can calculate the public key from the unique identifier; the recipient presents the same identifier to the Voltage server to get the private component and decrypt the message.

Voltage provides a much more comprehensive description.

Anyone familiar with cryptography will have noticed that this means the Voltage server has copies of all the private keys - unlike PGP or its brethren - but Voltage reckons the advantage of not requiring the recipient to sign up first will drive greater use of encrypted communications and as long as you trust Voltage then there's no problem.

More serious is the fact that few people see the need to encrypt their communications. Users have proved themselves reluctant to take even the smallest step without some form of company mandate, and unless they can be scared into realising how insecure internet communication is then patents on identity-based encryption might not be worth the paper they're written on.®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.