FWD: Code breaking/factoring technology

Sasha Chislenko (sasha1@netcom.com)
Mon, 03 May 1999 15:12:15 -0500

ISRAELI SCIENTIST REPORTS DISCOVERY OF ADVANCE IN CODE BREAKING Israeli computer scientist Adi Shamir is expected to present a paper outlining the design of a yet-to-be-built-machine that could quickly decipher computer generated codes. Shamir -- who represents the 'S' in RSA encryption design -- will present his paper this week at the International Association for Cryptographic Research in Prague, which begins Monday. Shamir's idea would combine existing technology into a special task computer that would make factoring numbers as long as 150 digits much easier. As a result, codes accepted as reasonably secure for financial transactions and government communications would be much easier to decipher. Researchers say the machine could be built at a relatively low cost, and that key systems of 512 bits or less (keys of about 140 digits or less) would be vulnerable. Longer 1,024-bit keys would still be out of reach for Shamir's new machine. (New York Times 05/02/99)