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?
- Part I: Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health
- Violence, Sex And Taboo: The Original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales Back In Print
- Part II: Bee Deaths And CCD - Flawed Chensheng Lu Harvard Studies Endanger Bees
- Reasons Serious Scientists Should Not Fear The Winnower and other OA Open Review Journals.
- Diversity Fatigue: Why Businesses Struggle To Close The Gender Gap
- Fuzzy Trace Theory: People Know Antibiotics Don't Cure Viruses But Still Ask For Them
- Strain 115 : The Killer Bacteria Inside Your Thanksgiving Turkey
- "At three weeks into testing using these concentrations, the health of the bee colonies was positively..."
- "As someone who has received NIH funding, I can tell you the answer is magic and pure coincidence..."
- "I never thought of diminutive as having a positive or negative association. I often describe people's..."
- "For the most part, I found your article compelling. It reminded me of the time in graduate school..."
- "Indeed, my little experiment does not prove anything; it is not scalable. Not the $10, not the..."
- Why do people with autism see faces differently?
- Endangered hammerhead shark found migrating into unprotected waters
- Female color perception affects evolution of male plumage in birds
- Diagnosing deafness early will help teenagers' reading development
- 'Utter neglect' of rheumatic heart disease revealed by results from global study