Help is here for managers who must ensure that data and signatures on handheld computers and wireless devices are authentic and secure.
ECC (elliptic curve cryptography) systems provide much of the protection of schemes based on integer factorization problems or Diffie-Hellmans discrete logarithm problems, while using only a fraction of the computing power.
ECC makes it possible to incorporate a growing number of portable devices in PKI (public-key infrastructure) environments.
Adding ECC to a network is a major project. Besides requiring components on both the server and the remote device, ECC is still waiting for standards development.
However, this lightweight encryption technology is making inroads. Palms wireless network now uses Certicoms ECC technology, and Certicom has licensed ECC-based code to Nortel Networks for a handheld VPN client.