Mathematics of Internet Security

Brian McEnnis
Department of Mathematics
The Ohio State University

7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The internet is not a secure channel for communication. If you use the internet to send confidential information, such as a credit card number or a password, then it is possible that your information may be intercepted. How, then, is internet commerce possible?

The answer lies in a branch of mathematics known as number theory, long regarded as the purest of pure mathematics, since there were (until now) no significant applications. But today number theory provides the basis for secure internet communication.

At this science café, we will look at public key cryptography, which uses the mathematics of number theory to provide encryption for internet transactions. Along the way, we will meet some of the mathematicians whose ideas laid the foundation for internet security.

Here is an audio recording of this science cafe in mp3 format.

Click here for the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied this event, including some bonus slides.