Secure Communications

A Mighty Number Falls

Although it is relatively easy to identify huge prime numbers, factoring, or breaking a number down into its prime components, is extremely difficult. RSA encryption, named for the three individuals who devised the technique (Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman), takes advantage of this. Using the RSA method, information is encrypted using a large composite number, usually 1024 bits in size, created by multiplying together two 150-or-so digit prime numbers. Only someone who knows those two numbers, the “keys”, can read the message. Because there is a vast supply of large prime numbers, it’s easy to come up with unique keys. Information encrypted this way is secure, because no one has ever been able to factor these huge numbers. At least not yet.

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May 22, 2007 - Posted by | encryption, English, security

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