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22 May 2007, 15:36

Is the end in sight for 1024-bit encryption?

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The combined computing forces of the Swiss EPFL, the University of Bonn and NTT in Japan have finally factorised the number 21039-1, the largest number to be factorised to date. The effort took 11 months.

Pioneer crypto-mathematician Arjen Lenstra commented from EPFL that this is the beginning of the end for 1024-bit encryption, although he conceded that factorising the products of two large prime numbers (the method used by most asymmetric encription algorithms) is harder than factoring an arbitrarily selected number of special mathematical form such as 21039-1. So maybe we are are still safe for now, but as Lenstra suggests, "stay tuned".


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