Web When-in-Ireland

Is RSA encryption broken?

First spotted on the ILUG mailing list, it appears that a young 16 year old student has cracked the RSA encryption system and won 1st prize at the BT Young Scientist Competition 2007.

If it’s true then Internet commerce could be in for a rough time, but some previous winners have proven to be less than remarkable when seen against the cold light of day. This comment from the winner, Abdusalam Abubakar, seems to indicate that the method used might not be that effective either. Check out this ILUG thread for further discussion. Can it be true he wrote it in Visual Basic?

“It was great, unbelievable. I didn’t think I was going to win anything. I didn’t want to be optimistic,” he told The Irish Times last night. Abdusalam, whose name translates into “man of peace”, based his initial work on partially successful attacks on the world’s most widely-used encryption system, RSA, mounted by two mathematicians. He decided to take the best aspects of both and generalise a new approach, which he believes has the potential to tackle at least some less complex coding systems.