This talk is the first one in the seminar series “Reading the Crypto Classics” for the winter term 2019/2020. The idea of this seminar is to jointly read classical milestone papers in the area of cryptography, to discuss their impact and understand their relevance for current research areas. The seminar is running as an Oberseminar, but at the same time meant to be a joint reading group seminar of the CROSSING Special Interest Group on Advanced Cryptography with all interested CROSSING members being invited to participate.
This issue will cover the paper
“According to traditional conceptions of cryptographic security, it is necessary to transmit a key, by secret means, before encrypted messages can be sent securely. This paper shows that it is possible to select a key over open communications channels in such a fashion that communications security can be maintained. A method is described which forces any enemy to expend an amount of work which increases as the square of the work required of the two communicants to select the key. The method provides a logically new kind of protection against the passive eavesdropper. It suggests that further research on this topic will be highly rewarding, both in a theoretical and a practical sense.”