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Key establishment is the heart of data protection that relies on cryptography, and it is an essential component of the packet protection mechanisms described in [RFC2401], for example. A scalable and secure key distribution mechanism for the Internet is a necessity. The goal of this protocol is to provide that mechanism,coupled with a great deal of cryptographic strength.
The Diffie-Hellman key exchange algorithm provides such a mechanism.It allows two parties to agree on a shared value without requiring enryption.The shared value is immediately available for use in encrypting subsequent conversation, e.g. data transmission and/or authentication. The STS protocol [STS] provides a demonstration of how to embed the algorithm in a secure protocol, one that ensures that in addition to securely sharing a secret, the two parties can be sure of each other's identities, even when an active attacker exists.