Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science & Technology
- 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.
- 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.