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Taher Elgamal

Taher A. Elgamal
Taher A. Elgamal (2010)
Born (1955-08-18) 18 August 1955
Cairo, Egypt
Residence United States
Nationality Egyptian, United States
Fields Cryptography
Alma mater Cairo University
Stanford University
Doctoral advisor Martin Hellman
Known for Public-key
Discrete logarithm cryptography

Taher Elgamal (Arabic: طاهر الجمل) (born 18 August 1955) is an Egyptian cryptographer. Elgamal is sometimes written as El Gamal or ElGamal, but Elgamal is now preferred. In 1985, Elgamal published a paper titled “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.[1] The latter scheme became the basis for Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) adopted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the Digital Signature Standard (DSS). He also participated in the 'SET' credit card payment protocol, plus a number of Internet payment schemes.


Elgamal currently serves as the CTO, Security at 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 is a recipient of the RSA Conference 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award,[2] and he is recognized as the "father of SSL,"[3] the Internet security standard Secure Sockets Layer. Elgamal has been issued several patents in online security, payments and data compression. 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.[4]

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. He also was the director of engineering at RSA Security Inc. before founding Securify in 1998 and becoming its CEO. 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.[5] Tumbleweed was acquired in 2008 by Axway Inc. Elgamal has also held executive roles at technology and security companies, including CSO of Axway, Inc. from 2008 to 2011, CTO of Tumbleweed Communications from 2006 to 2008, CTO of Securify, 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.

Elgamal's surname has been spelled as two words (the Arabic "El" part is equivalent to "the" in English), and as a single word with a medial capital. The cryptographic literature is full of both spellings. Elgamal himself spells it as a singly capitalized surname, as this is less likely to be mangled in English.


  1. ^ Elgamal, Taher (1985). "A Public key Cryptosystem and A Signature Scheme based on discrete Logarithms". IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 31 (4): 469–472.  
  2. ^ "RSA Conference Recognizes Axway CSO Dr. Taher Elgamal for Lifetime Achievement in Information Security". Reuters. 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  3. ^ "Father of SSL, Taher Elgamal, Finds Fast-Moving IT Projects in the Middle East". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  4. ^ Mollin, Richard A. (2005). Codes: The Guide to Secrecy from Ancient to Modern Times. Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall. p. 185.  
  5. ^ "Taher Elgamal joins Tumbleweed as Chief Technology Officer". Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. 

External links

  • Westervelt, Robert (25 February 2009). "Attacks against SSL". 
  • Serial Entrepreneur Interview with Sramana Mitra
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