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Abstract - Security Symposium - 2000

PGP in Constrained Wireless Devices

Michael Brown, Donny Cheung, University of Waterloo; Darrel Hankerson, Auburn University; Julio Lopez Hernandez, State University of Campinas, Brazil and University of Valle, Columbia; Michael Kirkup, and Alfred Menezes, University of Waterloo


The market for Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) is growing at a rapid pace. An increasing number of products, such as the PalmPilot, are adding wireless communications capabilities. PDA users are now able to send and receive email just as they would from their networked desktop machines. Because of the inherent insecurity of wireless environments, a system is needed for secure email communications. The requirements for the security system will likely be influenced by the constraints of the PDA, including limited memory, limited processing power, limited bandwidth, and a limited user interface.

This paper describes our experience with porting PGP to the Research in Motion (RIM) two-way pager, and incorporating elliptic curve cryptography into PGP's suite of public-key ciphers. Our main conclusion is that PGP is a viable solution for providing secure and interoperable email communications between constrained wireless devices and desktop machines.

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Last changed: 29 Jan. 2002 ml
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