can be made to believe that it is not quite an easy thing to invent a method of
secret writing which shall baffle investigation. Yet it may be roundly asserted
that human ingenuity cannot concoct a cipher which human ingenuity cannot resolve...
It may be observed, generally, that in such investigations the analytic ability
is very forcibly called into action; and for this reason, cryptographical solutions
might with great propriety be introduced into academies as the means of giving
tone to the most important of the powers of the mind.
- Edgar Allan Poe; A Few Words On Secret Writing; 1841.
Public Key Cryptography (PKC) is a near magical property of information arising
from the underlying mathematical structure of the universe that also conveniently
creation of modern-day secure communication channels on the Internet.
The main feature of PKC is the use of two keys for each person, a public
key and a private key, where either key can decrypt a message
other. Each key is almost impossible
to find out from the other, and if the keys are long enough the method is
effectively unbreakable -- according to the known laws of science.
The elegant PKC architecture enables clever creation
of a secure communications system for distributed participants,
is exactly what is needed for the Internet. The technology is the basis of
the field of Public Key Infrastructure
and the basis of the industry standard Rivest Shamir Adleman (RSA) encryption
following pages provide more information.