Skip to Main Content
Multicasting is an efficient way to deliver data to a large group of users in applications such as Internet stock quotes, audio and music delivery, file and video distribution, etc. Many of these applications require the security feature of data confidentiality, which is not readily offered by the "open" nature of multicast. In order to offer such confidentiality, the encryption and decryption keys must be constantly changed upon a membership change. In this article, after discussing some performance criteria to offer secure multicast, we present a number of the proposed key management schemes for data confidentiality. We categorize these schemes into four groups: key tree-based approaches, contributory key agreement schemes supported by the Diffie-Hellman algorithm, computational number theoretic approaches, and secure multicast framework approaches. Through examples, we describe the operation of the schemes and compare their performances.
Date of Publication: Sept.-Oct. 2003