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Mike (@drmike)

I love math and physics, learned DSP and embedded systems to do math and physics, and found FPGA's a hell of a lot of fun. I graduated in 1982 with a PhD in nuclear engineering and have been programming in assembler and C ever since.

Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Multiple Signatures

Mike November 19, 2023

The use of point pairing becomes very useful when many people are required to sign one document. This is typical in a contract situation when several people are agreeing to a set of requirements. If we used the method described in the blog on signatures, each person would sign the document, and then the verification process would require checking every single signature. By using pairings, only one check needs to be performed. The only requirement is the ability to verify the...


Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Extension Fields

Mike October 29, 2023

An introduction to the pairing of points on elliptic curves. Point pairing normally requires curves over an extension field because the structure of an elliptic curve has two independent sets of points if it is large enough. The rules of pairings are described in a general way to show they can be useful for verification purposes.


Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Key Exchange and Signatures

Mike October 21, 20231 comment

Elliptic curve mathematics over finite fields helps solve the problem of exchanging secret keys for encrypted messages as well as proving a specific person signed a particular document. This article goes over simple algorithms for key exchange and digital signature using elliptic curve mathematics. These methods are the essence of elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) used in applications such as SSH, TLS and HTTPS.


Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Security Considerations

Mike October 16, 2023

The security of elliptic curve cryptography is determined by the elliptic curve discrete log problem. This article explains what that means. A comparison with real number logarithm and modular arithmetic gives context for why it is called a log problem.


Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Basic Math

Mike October 10, 2023

An introduction to the math of elliptic curves for cryptography. Covers the basic equations of points on an elliptic curve and the concept of point addition as well as multiplication.


New book on Elliptic Curve Cryptography

Mike August 30, 20234 comments

New book on Elliptic Curve Cryptography now online. Deep discount for early purchase. Will really appreciate comments on how to improve the book because physical printing won't happen for a few more months. Check it out here: http://mng.bz/D9NA


Ancient History

Mike January 18, 201612 comments

The other day I was downloading an IDE for a new (to me) OS.  When I went to compile some sample code, it failed.  I went onto a forum, where I was told "if you read the release notes you'd know that the peripheral libraries are in a legacy download".  Well damn!  Looking back at my previous versions I realized I must have done that and forgotten about it.  Everything changes, and keeping up with it takes time and effort.

When I first started with microprocessors we...


Dealing With Fixed Point Fractions

Mike January 5, 20163 comments

Fixed point fractional representation always gives me a headache because I screw it up the first time I try to implement an algorithm. The difference between integer operations and fractional operations is in the overflow.  If the representation fits in the fixed point result, you can not tell the difference between fixed point integer and fixed point fractions.  When integers overflow, they lose data off the most significant bits.  When fractions overflow, they lose data off...


Mathematics and Cryptography

Mike December 14, 20153 comments

The mathematics of number theory and elliptic curves can take a life time to learn because they are very deep subjects.  As engineers we don't have time to earn PhD's in math along with all the things we have to learn just to make communications systems work.  However, a little learning can go a long way to helping make our communications systems secure - we don't need to know everything. The following articles are broken down into two realms, number theory and elliptic...


Elliptic Curve Digital Signatures

Mike December 9, 2015

A digital signature is used to prove a message is connected to a specific sender.  The sender can not deny they sent that message once signed, and no one can modify the message and maintain the signature. The message itself is not necessarily secret. Certificates of authenticity, digital cash, and software distribution use digital signatures so recipients can verify they are getting what they paid for.

Since messages can be of any length and mathematical algorithms always use fixed...


Elliptic Curve Key Exchange

Mike December 3, 2015

Elliptic Curve Cryptography is used to create a Public Key system that allows two people (or computers) to exchange public data so that both sides know a secret that no one else can find in a reasonable time.  The simplest method uses a fixed public key for each person.  Once cracked, every message ever sent with that key is open.  More advanced key exchange systems have "perfect forward secrecy" which means that even if one message key is cracked, no other message will...


Polynomial Inverse

Mike November 23, 20152 comments

One of the important steps of computing point addition over elliptic curves is a division of two polynomials.


One Clock Cycle Polynomial Math

Mike November 20, 201514 comments

Error correction codes and cryptographic computations are most easily performed working with GF(2^n)


Elliptic Curve Cryptography

Mike November 16, 20156 comments

Secure online communications require encryption. One standard is AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) from NIST. But for this to work, both sides need the same key for encryption and decryption. This is called Private Key encryption.


Polynomial Math

Mike November 3, 20152 comments

Elliptic Curve Cryptography is used as a public key infrastructure to secure credit cards, phones and communications links. All these devices use either FPGA's or embedded microprocessors to compute the algorithms that make the mathematics work. While the math is not hard, it can be confusing the first time you see it.  This blog is an introduction to the operations of squaring and computing an inverse over a finite field which are used in computing Elliptic Curve arithmetic. ...


Number Theory for Codes

Mike October 22, 20156 comments

Everything in the digital world is encoded.  ASCII and Unicode are combinations of bits which have specific meanings to us.  If we try to interpret a compiled program as Unicode, the result is a lot of garbage (and beeps!)  To reduce errors in transmissions over radio links we use Error Correction Codes so that even when bits are lost we can recover the ASCII or Unicode original.  To prevent anyone from understanding a transmission we can encrypt the raw data...


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