ECC (Elliptic Curve Cryptography) is a public key encryption technique based on elliptic curve theory that can be used to create faster, smaller, and more efficient cryptographic keys. ECC generates keys through the properties of the elliptic curve equation instead of the traditional method of generation as the product of very large prime numbers.
Elliptic curve cryptography is critical to the adoption of strong cryptography as we migrate to higher security strengths. NIST has standardized elliptic curve cryptography for digital signature algorithms in FIPS 186 and for key establishment schemes in SP 800-56A.
In FIPS 186-4, NIST recommends fifteen elliptic curves of varying security levels for use in these elliptic curve cryptographic standards. However, more than fifteen years have passed since these curves were first developed, and the community now knows more about the security of elliptic curve cryptography and practical implementation issues. Advances within the cryptographic community have led to the development of new elliptic curves and algorithms whose designers claim to offer better performance and are easier to implement in a secure manner. Some of these curves are under consideration in voluntary, consensus-based Standards Developing Organizations.