Safe Against Cycling: Researchers Confirm Invulnerability

March 24, 2001

By Barry A. Cipra

The Achilles heel of public-key cryptography is the unproved assumption that problems like factoring large numbers are really as hard as they appear. But unlike the Greek warrior, cryptographers have to worry about other potentially vulnerable spots as well.

For the number-theoretic RSA cryptosystem, a long-standing concern was a procedure known as the cycling attack. But that's no longer the case. John Friedlander of the University of Toronto, Carl Pomerance of Bell Labs, and Igor Shparlinski of Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia, have shown that RSA is impervious to the cycling attack procedure.

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