applied cryptography - protocols, algorithms, and source code in c

2 so what good are one way functions we cant use them

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Unformatted text preview: book. One-way functions are relatively easy to compute, but significantly harder to reverse. That is, given x it is easy to compute f(x), but given f(x) it is hard to compute x. In this context, “hard” is defined as something like: It would take millions of years to compute x from f(x), even if all the computers in the world were assigned to the problem. Breaking a plate is a good example of a one-way function. It is easy to smash a plate into a thousand tiny pieces. However, it’s not easy to put all of those tiny pieces back together into a plate. This sounds good, but it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. If we are being strictly mathematical, we have no proof that one-way functions exist, nor any real evidence that they can be constructed [230,530,600,661]. Even so, many functions look and smell one-way: We can compute them efficiently and, as of yet, know of no easy way to reverse them. For example, in a finite field x2 is easy to compute, but x1/2 is much harder. For the rest of this section, I’m going to pretend that there are one-way functions. I’ll talk more about this in Section 11.2. So, what good are one-way functions? We can’t use them for encryption as is. A message encrypted with the one-way function isn’t useful; no one could decrypt it. (Exercise: Write a message on a plate, smash the plate into tiny bits, and then give the bits to a friend. Ask your friend to read the message. Observe how impressed he is with the one-way function.) For public-key cryptography, we need something else (although there are cryptographic applications for one-way functions—see Section 3.2). A trapdoor one-way function is a special type of one-way function, one with a secret trapdoor. It is easy to compute in one direction and hard to compute in the other direction. But, if you know the secret, you can easily compute the function in the other direction. That is, it is easy to compute f(x) given x, and hard to compute x given f(x). However, there is some secret information, y, such that given f(x) and y it is easy to comput...
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This note was uploaded on 10/18/2010 for the course MATH CS 301 taught by Professor Aliulger during the Fall '10 term at Koç University.

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