To keep messages secure, the computers that run wireless networks must do some complicated math to authenticate every Internet-enabled cell phone or wireless personal digital assistant that contacts them, and the devices must do the reverse, which can tax their batteries. Sun Microsystems senior staff engineer Hans Eberle and his team at Sun Labs are addressing that problem by creating a microprocessor that can be plugged into network computers to quickly authenticate messages from a range of wireless gadgets. The numerical “keys” used to authenticate most electronic messages today are generated by multiplying prime numbers; but to foil hackers, these numbers must be very large, containing up to 1,024 digital bits. Eberle uses a technique called elliptic-curve cryptography that instead derives keys from complex geometrical curves. The complexity of the curves makes the keys more difficult to break, so the same level of security can be achieved with smaller keys that require less computation to use. Eberle’s chips can establish secure connections at the rate of 7,000 per second-the “fastest reported,” he says. Sun’s product groups are evaluating the microprocessors for inclusion in the firm’s server computers.
Videoconferencing by the Numbers
Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build
“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”
ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it
The narrative around cheating students doesn’t tell the whole story. Meet the teachers who think generative AI could actually make learning better.
Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives
The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.
Learning to code isn’t enough
Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.