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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Computer Jocks Crack Encryption Standard
22 October 1996 8:00 pm
Ensuring computer security has just become much harder. In a message on the Internet, Adi Shamir, an eminent cryptographer, has revealed a new way to crack the most popular schemes for encrypting messages passing over the Net and telephone lines.
Shamir, a mathematician at Israel's Weizmann Institute, is famous for helping to create a widely used encryption algorithm: RSA. (Shamir is the "S" in "RSA.") Now he and Eli Biham, a computer scientist also at Weizmann, have built on an attack strategy developed by researchers at Bellcore (to which RSA was vulnerable). ``They've taken it one step further,'' says Richard DeMillo, a member of the Bellcore group. The result, says Shamir, is an all-out assault on encryption systems. One prominent victim is the Data Encryption Standard (DES), in wide use throughout the computer world. Shamir and Biham were able to unravel DES's secret key after a mere 200 tries.
Shamir and Biham's approach, called differential fault analysis, relies upon making a computer err in its calculations. The first step is to irradiate an encrypting machine--a readily available encrypting chip, for example--to flip a bit in its memory. Then, by comparing a number of error-ridden encryptions with a single flawless one, the hacker can ferret out the key to ``almost any secret key cryptosystem proposed so far in the open literature,'' Shamir writes.