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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.