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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Whitfield Diffie – Cryptography Pioneer

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
10:17 am

image The most enjoyable segment of my CISSP training course is reviewing Cryptography.  The science of cryptography has always been fascinating to me, although I do not consider myself to be an expert in the field.

This morning we briefly reviewed the Diffie-Hellman protocol:

“Diffie–Hellman key exchange (D–H) is a cryptographic protocol that allows two parties that have no prior knowledge of each other to jointly establish a shared secret key over an insecure communications channel. This key can then be used to encrypt subsequent communications using a symmetric key cipher. It is a type of key exchange.”

Of course, the Diffie in Diffie-Hellman is Dr. Whitfield Diffie, a US cryptographer and one of the pioneers of public-key cryptography, who served as Chief Security Officer of Sun Microsystems for most of the time I spent there.  I only met him once and certainly didn’t know him well, but was impressed with his deep intellect and command of the information security field.

Perhaps (I hope) we’ll meet again.

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