Don't start feeling too secure about the so-called McEliece encryption system - a candidate for the security of Internet traffic in the age of the quantum computer, the predicted superpowerful computer of the future.
Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in The Netherlands have managed to crack it.
The attack succeeded this month by means of a large number of linked computers throughout the world, says TU/e professor Tanja Lange. Earlier this year she and her PhD student Christiane Peters, together with visiting professor Daniel Bernstein (University of Illinois, Chicago), had discovered a way to speed up attacks against the 30-year-old McEliece cryptosystem. The researchers wrote software that would decrypt a McEliece ciphertext in just 1 week on a cluster of 200 computers.
The software was run recently on several dozen computers in Eindhoven, Amsterdam, France, Ireland, Taiwan and the United States. A lucky computer in Ireland found the ciphertext.
That's right, it didn't even take a quantum computer to crack an encryption system that's supposed to protect information on quantum computers.
The successful attack was announced recently at a conference in Cincinnati (US) on Post-Quantum Cryptography. The researchers said that the McEliece cryptosystem can be scaled to larger key sizes to avoid their attacks and remains a leading candidate for post-quantum cryptography.
At present, banks use the RSA code from 1977 for securing matters such as electronic transactions. For RSA the currently used key sizes are significantly larger than initially thought: a single PC would need only 3 weeks to break the parameters from the original paper. Yet a quantum computer will have no problems cracking even the improved current version.
For this reason, anticipating the introduction of the quantum computer (which Lange thinks will take at least ten more years) and to deal with long-term confidentiality such as health records, researchers are trying to find better encryption systems.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Is That A Real Patient Or A Junkie? Now There's An App For That
- You Are Ready To Eat Insects If You Have These Characteristics
- How The Higgs Became The Target Of Run 2 At The Tevatron
- How Neuroscience Is Being Used To Spread Quackery In Business And Education
- Global 'Roadmap' Shows Where To Put Roads Without Costing The Earth
- MOOCs: Learning About Online Learning, One Click At A Time
- Will We Meet ET Microbes On Mars? Why We Should Care Deeply About Them - Like Tigers
- "You guessed alright, that is a page from the book...Cheers,T...."
- "Dear Anon,in 1994 neutrinos were not the main focus of the lab...Cheers,T...."
- "I did not ignore your 4x4 matrices comment, as I explained in the very message you were replying..."
- "I do not know which P5 meeting you attended, but in the mind of the current fnal director, fnal..."
- "Cool. I really look forward for your book! I still remember the excitement of my times at fnal... K...."
- Geochronology and global context of the Charnian Supergroup
- Confirmation of a low pre-extensional geothermal gradient in the Grayback normal
- Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection
- Invisible blood in urine may indicate bladder cancer
- Sugar substance 'kills' good HDL cholesterol, new research finds