Welcome!

Java Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Yakov Fain

Related Topics: Security, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo

Security: Blog Feed Post

Stronger Keys and Faster Security with ECC

Really fast crypto in software on commodity hardware is possible after all.

Anyone who has been involved with security knows there is a balance to providing both security and privacy and performance at the same time. Security is often blamed for performance woes, particularly when cryptography is involved.

SSL and TLS have long addressed this balance by leveraging custom-built hardware to enhance the performance of the most taxing components of these protocols: session setup. The "easy" part of securing communications (if one can use easy with respect to cryptography) is bulk encryption. While certainly more taxing on performance than clear text, relative to the more complex and compute intensive process of the handshaking required to set up such sessions, easy is an appropriate term.

Moore's Law is often cited as providing the increases in computer power necessary to offset the performance tax imposed by secure protocols. Unfortunately while this would be true if all other factors remained constant, the reality is that other factors are also changing and impose additional burdens on the protocol that often negate the gains made by Moore's Law. Key lengths, for example, continue to grow to combat the increase in compute power that makes it easier to brute-force crack a cryptographic key and new challenges with respect to privacy are changing the frequency with which those keys are generated.. There are also occasionally leaps in the mathematic realm that find ways to more quickly compute the “hard problem” that the cryptographic algorithm uses, but those are rare and don’t march at the steady pace that compute power increases do.

PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy), for example, has been offered as a way to combat potential snooping by third-parties (read: governments) by requiring the generation of ephemeral (short lived) keys for each new session. This has the effect of imposing an extra cryptography tax" on communications over and above the already expensive handshaking process required by secure protocols like SSL.

Accompanying the introduction of PFS has been a move to take advantage of ECC (Elliptical Curve Cryptography). One of the primary benefits of ECC is that it can provide comparable security with shorter key lengths to RSA with longer key lengths. When you're generating ephemeral keys on a per-session or per-message basis, the shorter key length helps reduce the burden imposed by the additional cryptographic functions.

Now, the problem is that cryptography is still compute intense and even leveraging ECC for PFS you're still going to incur performance penalties in setting up the session. Certainly custom cryptographic hardware acceleration would be a boon, but in cases where software-only solutions are desired, this is problematic. So the question is, how do you support enhanced security with PFS and ECC while still achieving blazing fast performance and extreme capacity?

Obviously I'm about to tell you, so read on...

Next-Generation Cryptography

LineRate achieves what sounds like the impossible: really fast, really scalable secure communications in a software solution deployed on commodity hardware.

By combining a highly optimized network stack with the ability to reach down into some of the lesser known capabilities in commoditized hardware, LineRate is able to achieve up to 25,000 new SSL sessions per second on the same commodity Intel CPU on which only 6,000-8,000 new SSL sessions per second were achieved using RSA-based cryptography.

This remarkable feat is achievable through both focused engineering of the network stack and the use of a set of specialized instructions in the processor that are advantageous for the type of operations involved in ECC. These are not the same instructions as used in AES-NI, which is applicable to the easy part of SSL (bulk encryption) and aren't actually cryptography-specific instructions; they're just instructions that turn out to be really useful in speeding up the execution of certain computations associated with ECC.

What this means is organizations can now take advantage of stronger security and longer (ostensibly also stronger) keys without incurring significant lags in establishing sessions. That's critical, as the longer it takes to establish a session, the more likely it is that the end-user will abandon the entire interaction. The appearance of not loading or that the site (or app) has "hung up" due to the time incurred by establishing a secure session can be devastating to the customer quality of experience. Quality of experience is rapidly outpacing other key performance indicators as a measure of success as businesses move toward an application-based economy in which engagement is key to driving revenue and customer satisfaction. A 2012 survey conducted by LSI Corporation highlighted not only the critical nature of performance (90% of respondents acknowledge this), but the disturbing reality that a majority of them (75%) do not feel they are achieving required performance.

As we strengthen security to combat rising application and network attacks against protocols and applications themselves while simultaneously adopting emerging technologies and architectures designed to enable the next generation of data center networks, we must pay attention to the impact on application performance and capacity.

Software-based solutions can provide the agility and service velocity demanded and necessary to enabling the app economy, but without careful consideration for the impact on performance a move toward such architectures can result in much more costly, complex networks. LineRate's attention to both performance and security offer organizations a flexible, software-defined and software-deployable solution that scales with simplicity.

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.