DIMACS TR: 96-02

Master-Key Cryptosystems

Authors: Matt Blaze, Joan Feigenbaum, F. T. Leighton


We initiate the study of a new class of secret-key cryptosystems, called "master-key cryptosystems," in which an authorized third party possesses a "master key" that allows efficient recovery of the cleartext without knowledge of the session key. One motivation for this study is that master-key cryptosystems could provide a less cumbersome alternative to "key escrow" in situations in which third-party access is required. We demonstrate that designing a master-key cryptosystem with acceptable performance is roughly equivalent to designing a public-key cryptosystem in which encryption is much faster than is possible with current public-key techniques.

Paper Available at: ftp://dimacs.rutgers.edu/pub/dimacs/TechnicalReports/TechReports/1996/96-02.ps.gz
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