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Taher A. Elgamal
Taher A. Elgamal (2010)
|Nationality||Egyptian, United States|
|Alma mater||Cairo University (BSc)|
Stanford University (MS, PhD)
Discrete logarithm cryptography
|Awards||Marconi Prize (2019)|
|Doctoral advisor||Martin Hellman|
Dr. Taher Elgamal[a] (Arabic: طاهر الجمل) (born 18 August 1955) is an Egyptian cryptographer and entrepreneur. He is recognized as the "father of SSL," for his 1985 paper entitled "A Public key Cryptosystem and A Signature Scheme based on discrete Logarithms" in which he proposed the design of the ElGamal discrete log cryptosystem and of the ElGamal signature scheme and the work he and others at Netscape did on promoting private and secure communications on the internet. He has also participated in the "SET" credit card payment protocol, plus a number of Internet payment schemes.
- The spellings El Gamal and ElGamal are also found in cryptographic literature. He himself spells it Elgamal (one word, singly capitalized) as it is less likely to be mangled in English.
Impact & Achievements
- Privacy of internet communication is largely due to work on SSL/TLS by Dr. ElGamal, Paul Kocher and Phil Karlton during the 1990's.
- The ElGamal signature scheme. became the basis for Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) which was adopted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the Digital Signature Standard (DSS).
- Although his H-index score is only 9, his seminal publication alone is cited in over 9,466 scholarly articles, books, magazines and patents as of October 2019 not to mention the millions of crypto-stack implementations that use DSA and other ElGamal variants.
- Further, the DSA and by extension ECDSA and several new Homomorphic Encryption schemes are being proposed to further enhance privacy for users data based on Dr. ElGamal's encryption methods.
Elgamal is a recipient of the RSA Conference 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, and he is recognized as the "father of SSL," the Internet security standard Secure Sockets Layer. Elgamal and Paul Kocher were jointly awarded the 2019 Marconi Prize for "their development of SSL/TLS and other contributions to the security of communications".
As a scholar, Elgamal published 4 articles:
- T. ElGamal, “A subexponential-time algorithm for computing discrete logarithms over GF (p\^ 2),” IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 473-–481, 1985.
- T. Elgamal, “A public key cryptosystem and a signature scheme based on discrete logarithms,” IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 469–-472, Jul. 1985.
- T. ElGamal, “On Computing Logarithms Over Finite Fields,” in Advances in Cryptology — CRYPTO ’85 Proceedings, 1986, pp. 396–402.
- T. Elgamal, “The new predicaments of security practitioners,” Computer Fraud & Security, vol. 2009, no. 11, pp. 12–14, Nov. 2009.
According to an article on Medium Elgamal's first love was mathematics. Although he came to the United States to pursue a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, he said "...cryptography was the most beautiful use of math he'd ever seen."
Elgamal earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cairo University in 1977, and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1981 and 1984, respectively. Martin Hellman was his dissertation advisor.
He joined the technical staff at HP Labs in 1984. He served as chief scientist at Netscape Communications from 1995 to 1998 where he was a driving force behind SSL. Dr. Elgamal benefited from being a Stanford grad, in Silicon vallery in the "dot-com" era. It could be said that because of his work on SSL/TLS and the work that Netscape was doing with making the web user friendly, the dot-com era actually became a thing. He also was the director of engineering at RSA Security Inc. before founding Securify in 1998 and becoming its CEO. According to an interview with ElGamal, when Securify was acquired by Kroll-O'Gara, he became the president of its information security group. In 2008, Securify was acquired by Secure Computing and is now part of McAfee. In October 2006, he joined Tumbleweed Communications in a capacity of a Chief Technology Officer. Tumbleweed was acquired in 2008 by Axway Inc. Elgamal currently serves as the CTO, Security at Salesforce.com.
He is a co-founder of NokNok Labs and InfoSec Global/ He serves as a director of Vindicia, Inc., which provides online payment services, Zix Corporation, which provides email encryption services. and Bay Dynamics. He has served as an advisor to Cyphort, Bitglass, Onset Ventures, Glenbrook Partners, PGP corporation, Arcot Systems, Finjan, Actiance, Symplified, and Zetta. He served as Chief Security Officer of Axway, Inc. He is vice chairman of SecureMisr.
Elgamal has also held executive roles at technology and security companies, including
- CTO of Security at Salesforce.com from 2013 to present
- CSO at Axway, Inc. from 2008 to 2011,
- CTO at Tumbleweed Communications from 2006 to 2008,
- CTO at SePurify, Inc. from 2001 to 2004,
- CEO and President of Securify, Inc. from 1998 to 2001 and
- Chief Scientist of Netscape Communications from 1995 to 1998.
- "Father of SSL, Taher Elgamal, Finds Fast-Moving IT Projects in the Middle East". Features.rr.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Elgamal, Taher (1985). "A Public key Cryptosystem and A Signature Scheme based on discrete Logarithms". IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. 31 (4): 469–472. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.476.4791. doi:10.1109/TIT.1985.1057074.,
- Jeff, Stapleton; Epstein, W. Clay (2016). Security without Obscurity: A Guide to PKI Operations. CRC Press. pp. xi. ISBN 9781498707473.
- Verducci, John. "Cryptographers Paul Kocher and Taher Elgamal Awarded The 2019 Marconi Prize – Marconi Society". Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- Hamlin, Hatti; Reinman, Paula. "Cryptographers Paul Kocher and Taher Elgamal Awarded the 2019 Marconi Prize". Business Wire. Bloomberg. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
- "Information Security – Digital Signature ElGamal and DSS – Algorithm and Examples – Sharing SharePoint". blogs.msdn.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- Cryptographic Technology Group (2014). NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines Development Program Briefing Book (PDF). National Institute of Standards. p. 12.
- "Google Scholar". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "RSA Conference Recognizes Axway CSO Dr. Taher Elgamal for Lifetime Achievement in Information Security". Reuters. 2009-04-22. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- "Cryptographers Paul Kocher and Taher Elgamal Awarded The 2019 Marconi Prize".
- Elgamal, T. (July 1985). "A subexponential-time algorithm for computing discrete logarithms over GF(p^2)". IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. 31 (4): 473–481. doi:10.1109/TIT.1985.1057075.
- ElGamal, Taher (1986). Williams, Hugh C. (ed.). "On Computing Logarithms Over Finite Fields". Advances in Cryptology — CRYPTO '85 Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 218: 396–402. doi:10.1007/3-540-39799-x_28. ISBN 9783540397991.
- Elgamal, Taher (2009-11-01). "The new predicaments of security practitioners". Computer Fraud & Security. 2009 (11): 12–14. doi:10.1016/S1361-3723(09)70140-X. ISSN 1361-3723.
- Lindeman, Laura (May 16, 2019). "Solving Puzzles to Protect the Cloud: CTO Taher Elgamal on His Role at Salesforce and the Future of Cryptography". Salesforce Engineering Blog: Medium. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Mollin, Richard A. (2005). Codes: The Guide to Secrecy from Ancient to Modern Times. Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-58488-470-5.
- Journal, Don ClarkStaff Reporter of The Wall Street (1998-09-29). "Netscape's Chief Scientist Leaves Firm To Form a Computer-Security Start-Up". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "Cryptographers Paul Kocher and Taher Elgamal Awarded the 2019 Marconi Prize". www.businesswire.com. 2019-03-13. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "Netscape Helped Make The Internet Publicly Available". hackernoon.com. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "Serial Entrepreneur: Taher Elgamal (Part 9)". Sramana Mitra. 2007-04-01. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- Reporter, a Wall Street Journal Staff (1999-01-04). "Kroll-O'Gara Acquires Securify For About $64 Million in Stock". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "Securify Acquired By Secure Computing - silicontap.com". www.silicontap.com. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "McAfee, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Secure Computing". www.businesswire.com. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "Taher Elgamal joins Tumbleweed as Chief Technology Officer". Archived from the original on 2009-09-24.
- "Renowned Cryptographer Taher Elgamal is Our New CTO of Security". Salesforce Blog. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- Messmer, Ellen (2013-02-12). "Startup Nok Nok Labs pitches strong new authentication process". Network World. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- "Taher A Elgamal, Evolution Equity Partners: Profile and Biography - Bloomberg Markets". Profile and Biography - Bloomberg Markets. October 17, 2019.
- "Zix Corp". www.marketwatch.com. Retrieved 2019-10-17.