Elliptic curve cryptography

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Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) is an approach to public-key cryptography based on the algebraic structure of elliptic curves over finite fields. The use of elliptic curves in cryptography was suggested independently by Neal Koblitz[1] and Victor S. Miller[2] in 1985.

Elliptic curves are also used in several integer factorization algorithms that have applications in cryptography, such as Lenstra elliptic curve factorization.



Public-key cryptography is based on the intractability of certain mathematical problems. Early public-key systems, such as the RSA algorithm, are secure assuming that it is difficult to factor a large integer composed of two or more large prime factors. For elliptic-curve-based protocols, it is assumed that finding the discrete logarithm of a random elliptic curve element with respect to a publicly-known base point is infeasible. The size of the elliptic curve determines the difficulty of the problem. It is believed that the same level of security afforded by an RSA-based system with a large modulus can be achieved with a much smaller elliptic curve group. Using a small group reduces storage and transmission requirements.

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