Secrecy, Authentication, and Public Key Systems

This thesis describes Ralph Merkle’s work between 1974 and 1979 on a variety of cryptography-related topics. The presentation will include a subset of the thesis’s findings, due to the thesis’s large size and the presentation’s limited time. This thesis introduce Merkle’s Puzzles, a public-key cryptosystem allowing two users to establish an encrypted channel without any secrets shared beforehand. It also covers the trapdoor knapsack and signature schemes.

Alex Weber is a Director Emeritus of SkullSpace, Director of BSides Winnipeg, and co-host of Papers We Love Winnipeg. His day job at Tenable Network Security involves working on the Nessus vulnerability scanner. Alex has a hobbyist interest in cryptography, compilers, and application security.