New step towards super-encryption
On March 6, the computers of the Polytechnic University of Lausanne, the University of Bonn and the laboratories of NTT Corporation were able to process the prime factors of a number consisting of 307 digits (1017 bits). This is in effect the most complicated number that has ever been factored. “The number is special because it has a particular mathematical form – it is close to a power of two,” explained Arjen Lenstra, professor of cryptology at the Lausanne Polytechnic.
Scientists explained that information is encrypted normally using a large 1021-bit composite number, created by multiplying two primes of about 150 digits. Only those who know these two numbers are then able to proceed with the decryption. Since there are a large number of prime numbers, it is quite easy to create many unique keys. Information encrypted in this way, therefore, is very secure because the factoring of such large numbers is practically impossible.
“A discovery of this kind can certainly bring about novelties in encryption techniques,” Lenstra told United Press.
Wired is also betting on the revolutionary scope of the novelty. Now you will have to wait for the applications.