Open-source group gets Sun security gift

Friday, 20 September 2002, 9:42 AM EST

Sun's "elliptic curve" technology is involved in the process of using keys to encrypt and decrypt information for electronic transactions. Such encryption lets people buy products online, for example, while shielding their credit card number from prying eyes. Sun donated the technology to the OpenSSL project, a programming group that makes an open-source version of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption system.

Elliptic curve cryptography will enable secure communications with devices that don't have as much calculating power as most desktop computers, said Whitfield Diffie, Sun's chief security officer and a pioneer of the Diffie-Hellman "public key" cryptography method used today in SSL and other encryption systems. Diffie spoke Thursday during a news conference at the SunNetwork conference here.

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