Secure communications over insecure channels

@article{Merkle1978SecureCO,
  title={Secure communications over insecure channels},
  author={Ralph C. Merkle},
  journal={Commun. ACM},
  year={1978},
  volume={21},
  pages={294-299}
}
  • R. Merkle
  • Published 1 April 1978
  • Computer Science
  • Commun. ACM
According to traditional conceptions of cryptographic security, it is necessary to transmit a key, by secret means, before encrypted massages 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… 

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