Cracking RSA?

Tyler Durden camera_lumina at
Wed Jul 19 09:06:18 PDT 2006

I was thinking about this statement...

>I'd bet money the NSA has been able to crack RSA since 1996.
>Eric Michael Cordian 0+
>O:.T:.O:. Mathematical Munitions Division
>"Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law"

By this I assume you don't mean through buffer overflows or exploiting 
obscure bits of cluelessness. You mean "brute force", but (obviously) 
through the use of algorithms we Spy-ees aren't aware of.

I'd say that's absurd paranoid thinking, but on the other hand...
1. There's been no 'proof' per se about the intractability of factoring, 
2. Seems like the Feds veryu suddenly gave up fighting encryption a few 
years ago. I assumed this was because of the rapid rise of electronic 
transactions and communications, but maybe...
3. We never discover anything that makes us realize that the factoring 
problem is a lot HARDER than we realized....every few years there's a small 
inroad made here for this kind of prime factor, another discovery there and 
so on that renders RSA fairly trivial for certain categories of primes. 
Given several footbalfields' worth of well-payed encryption talent working 
for several decades, seems to me they could certainly at least be ahead of 
the civilian world in this area (silicon chip fabrication is another issue 
entirely, however).

Is this correct?

If the statement is true (ie, 'NSA has been able to crack RSA...'), it's not 
necessarily the end of the world. I'd bet that it's still potentially VERY 
expensive on average, though the scary thing is that some messages might 
fall apart easily. In fact...a search for a subtle and inexplicable steering 
of the prime space used by some implementations would be telling. Am I 
talking out my ass here?

Another interesting thing is that it almost doesn't matter. Buffer overflows 
and other indirect attack are such that one should consider a lone encrypted 
message sitting out there like a sitting duck painted bright red. Better 
still to paint that duck white and stick him in a bigass flock. In other 
words, it might make sense at this point to regard RSA as crackable and then 
rethink how to hide the significance of encryption itself...


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