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Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:56

Fujitsu R&D Breaks a Cryptography World Record As It Cracks a 923-Bit Cypher

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Ibroken-lock am not even sure how many times I have said this, but here it is again; what man can lock (encrypt etc) man can unlock. This has been proven again as Fujitsu has announced a world record breaking event in crypto cracking. The electronics company’s research and development arm has successfully cracked and cypher that was 278 digits long (this equates to 923 bit). The feat surpasses a breakthrough in 2009 by 74 digits.

Fujitsu says that this shows the limitation of paring-based cryptography. This new style of cryptography is what many think is going to be the next step in the way we encrypt data and communications. By finding a way to break it and measuring the relative levels of computing power and the length of time it took to break they can estimate the life cycle of the technology.

According to the information available the hack took 148.2 days (or 3,556 hours 48 minutes) to complete. The relative level of computing power to break the cypher was around 21 computers (equaling 252 CPU cores). The details of the actual system used are not detailed, but then mention using parallel computing in the effort so we would also expect that there was some GPU cracking involved here as well.

“This was an extremely challenging problem as it required several hundred times computational power compared with the previous world record of 204 digits (676 bits). We were able to overcome this problem by making good use of various new technologies, that is, a technique optimizing parameter setting that uses computer algebra, a two dimensional search algorithm extended from the linear search, and by using our efficient programing techniques to calculate a solution of an equation from a huge number of data, as well as the parallel programming technology that maximizes computer power.”

Pair-based encryption is a very flexible technology and allows for a few new options in data security including Identity-based encryption, keyword searchable encryption, and functional encryption. Many of these are currently not possible with current Public Key technology.

Experiments like this also help to illustrate that even brand new technology can be vulnerable on the day of its release with the right hardware and equipment. Remember there is no such thing as a secure OS or Service. If someone can break a 923-bit cypher think about how long it will take them to crack open that 256-bit encryption with the right tools.

Source Fujitsu

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