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Encrypted communications could have an undetectable backdoor

Discussion in 'Network World' started by RSS, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. RSS

    RSS New Member Member

    Researchers warn that many 1024-bit keys used to secure communications on the internet today might be based on prime numbers that have been intentionally backdoored in an undetectable way.

    Many public-key cryptography algorithms that are used to secure web, email, VPN, SSH and other types of connections on the internet derive their strength from the mathematical complexity of discrete logarithms -- computing discrete logarithms for groups of large prime numbers cannot be efficiently done using classical methods. This is what makes cracking strong encryption computationally impractical.

    Most key-generation algorithms rely on prime parameters whose generation is supposed to be verifiably random. However, many parameters have been standardized and are being used in popular crypto algorithms like Diffie-Hellman and DSA without the seeds that were used to generate them ever being published. That makes it impossible to tell whether, for example, the primes were intentionally "backdoored" -- selected to simplify the computation that would normally be required to crack the encryption.

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