Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange

  • IASbaba
  • October 5, 2020
  • 0
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Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science & Technology

In news

  • Recently, television news channels shared leaked WhatsApp chats of film actors in their coverage of an actor’s death. 
  • It prompted Facebook-owned WhatsApp to come out with a statement on its use of end-to-end encryption to secure user messages.

Key takeaways

  • Since 2016, WhatsApp has installed an end-to-end encryption system.
  • The encryption ensures that the messages sent on Whatsapp are read and seen by only those people who are communicating. 
  • The technology that forms the basis for this is called the ‘Diffie-Hellman key exchange’.
  • It is a method of securely exchanging cryptographic keys over a public channel.
  • It was one of the first public-key protocols as conceived by Ralph Merkle and named after Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman.
  • The method allows two parties that have no prior knowledge of each other to jointly establish a shared secret key over an insecure channel. 
  • This key can then be used to encrypt subsequent communications using a symmetric key cipher.

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