Elliptic-Curve Cryptography (ECC) was discovered in 1985 by Victor Miller (IBM) and Neil Koblitz (University of Washington) as an alternative mechanism for implementing public-key cryptography. ECC is an approach to public-key cryptography based on the algebraic structure of elliptic curves over finite fields. ECC requires smaller keys compared to non-ECC cryptography (based on plain Galois fields) to provide equivalent security.
Elliptic curves are applicable for key agreement, digital signatures, pseudo-random generators and other tasks. Indirectly, they can be used for encryption by combining the key agreement with a symmetric encryption scheme. They are also used in several integer factorization algorithms based on elliptic curves that have applications in cryptography, such as Lenstra elliptic-curve factorization.« Back to Glossary Index