Code and Cipher, published quarterly by Certicom Corp., is an educational newsletter that covers the security and cryptography industry. In each issue we will examine security issues and cryptography trends in an objective manner.

The advent of the digital postage mark (DPM) has transformed the processes for payment and revenue collection in the postal service. However, since the size of the digital signature, which is used to sign the DPM, directly affects the size of the overall DPM, it is important to use the smallest digital signature possible. This article examines the Elliptic Curve Pintsov Vanstone Signature (ECPVS) scheme , which offers a highly secure signature that is six times smaller than an RSA-based signature.

With the signing of the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, the process of clearing a check through a financial institution now has the possibility to be much faster. Secure presentment presents a major challenge, given that thousands of cheques per minute are scanned and must be signed to ensure that the information on the cheque cannot be denied later. By using ECC-based signatures, scanned, signed images can remain secure well into the future.

In this column, Scott looks at the potential effects of the decision by the National Security Agency to license ECC and MQV.

Book Review of "Guide to Elliptic Curve Cryptography"