An Overview of Cryptography

An Overview of Cryptography

Ehsan Vahedi (University of British Columbia, Canada), Vincent W.S. Wong (University of British Columbia, Canada) and Ian F. Blake (University of British Columbia, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4707-7.ch005
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Abstract

As Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices become ever more ubiquitous it is very likely that demands on them to provide certain types of security such as authentication, confidentiality, and privacy and encryption for security, depending on the application, will increase. This chapter gives a brief overview of cryptographic techniques and protocols. Given the often limited complexity and power of RFID devices, much effort has been devoted to devising so-called “lightweight” cryptographic techniques for such devices, and a few of these are considered in this chapter. Even public key techniques to provide services such as identification and digital signatures have been proposed for some scenarios involving RFID devices, although such devices will obviously require significant computing power. While such applications are seemingly beyond currently available technology, given the speed at which technology is able to yield computational increases at reasonable cost and device size, it seems prudent to consider such protocols at this point.
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Number Theoretic Preliminaries

The notion of public key cryptography relies very heavily on certain number theoretic ideas. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to present these in detail. A brief overview of the necessary facts is given, without any proofs, in the hope the reader will be able to appreciate the basic ideas behind the concepts and how they relate to the cryptographic systems described later, as well as their potential value to RFID systems. This is of course a tall task since it amounts to a review of public key cryptography. More complete treatments of the material are given in many books (e.g. Menezes et al., 1996; Hoffstein et al., 2008; Katz et al., 2008; Smart, 2003; Stinson, 1995). Much material is omitted.

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