I've been reading up on Identity Based Encryption (IBE) lately. Basicly, this is a subset of cryptography that is trying to get around the problems with standard public-key infrastructures (PKI). In Identity Based Encryption, any string can be used to generate a public key, such as using an email address or a username. The great thing about this is that now any person can figure out what my public key is from some well-known string, such as "BradGNUberg", without having to consult a public-key infrastructure. I'm interested in this because I am a P2P hacker, and I've been trying to figure out ways to do an end-run around Zooko's Triangle, which basicly states that you can't have a naming system that is decentralized, secure, and human-friendly all at the same time. I've currently built a light-weight domain name system in the JXTA P2P Sockets project, but it is not secure.

Some IBE resources I've found:

  • IBE Secure E-mail - "The cryptosystem has chosen ciphertext security in the random oracle model assuming an elliptic curve variant of the computational Diffie-Hellman problem." More info in the publication Identity based encryption from the Weil pairing. I think this has patent issues.

  • Terence Spies on Identity-Based Encryption - Interview with someone at Voltage Security, "a new company that hopes to make encryption more useful and usable."

  • Voltage Security - "a new company that hopes to make encryption more useful and usable." I think it's based on the Weil pairing scheme: "In 2000, Dr. Dan Boneh and Dr. Matt Franklin achieved a mathematical breakthrough and invented the first practical Identity-Based Encryption (IBE) system. Their scheme uses bi-linear mappings, known as Weil and Tate pairings, on elliptic curves to obtain an algorithm that can be used to turn a simple, well recognized identity into a public/private key pair. From these powerful mathematics comes an elegant mechanism for securing business communication – online and offline, without the need to pre-register recipients."

  • http://ntrg.cs.tcd.ie/~argp/ibe.html - "This page contains a list of resources (research papers, applications, links, etc.) concerning identity-based encryption (IBE)."

Some other interesting papers I found while trolling for IBE stuff:
Secure Communication in a Distributed System Using Identity Based Encryption