REVIEW: "Introduction to Identity-Based Encryption", Luther Martin
- BKIDBENC.RVW 20080514
"Introduction to Identity-Based Encryption", Luther Martin, 2008,
%A Luther Martin
%C 685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062
%G 978-1-59693-238-8 1-59693-238-4
%I Artech House/Horizon
%O U$89.00 617-769-9750 800-225-9977 artech@...
%O Audience s- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 232 p.
%T "Introduction to Identity-Based Encryption"
The preface states that identity-based encryption (IBE) is equivalent,
in importance, to the invention of asymmetric encryption, but it
doesn't say why (nor, in fact, what identity-based encryption actually
Although chapter one is an introduction, the definition of IBE is on a
very abstract level. We are told that the intent of IBE is to allow
one party to create a public key for another, identifiable, entity,
and encrypt material for transmission to them, even though an
asymmetric key pair has not been established in advance. The receiver
could then generate a corresponding private key, and retrieve the
original information. Some mathematics (number theory) involved in
asymmetric encryption is presented in chapter two, but not explained.
The same level of non-exegesis is used, in chapter three, regarding
elliptic curves, and in chapter four in relation to Tate pairing. All
we are told is that these pairings are used in many IBE schemes.
Chapter five turns to the mathematics of basic encryption schemes, and
ends by looking at the theoretical cracking of keys by quantum
computers, using, for example, Shor's algorithm. (Confidence in the
practicality of Martin's arithmetic is not helped by his provision of
a table of key cracking times that completely ignores the existence of
Moore's Law.) Some common (non-IBE) encryption algorithms are
described in chapter six, and Martin actually does a better job
Chapters seven to ten outline four IBE encryption schemes. The math
is all there (including analysis of the weaknesses, and potential
means of remediation), but the rather central point of the choice and
determination of identity values still has not been addressed. All of
these systems rely on generation of the private keys from a single
agent (which can, therefore, become a single point of failure), so
chapter eleven examines ways to support key generation with multiple
sources. Ways to improve the performance of the (computationally
intensive) operations of the IBE systems are examined in chapter
The title is rather unfortunate, since Martin never does provide much
of an introduction. The content is intriguing, although the practical
applications of any IBE system turn on the question of the identity
data, which is left unaddressed. Martin's assertion of the importance
of IBE is therefore not demonstrated in this work.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKIDBENC.RVW 20080514
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