Linux Containers Authors: Derek Weeks, Liz McMillan, David Paquette, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Cloud 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
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.