No, RSA is not broken

Software

Remember all the news swirling around Twitter and the blogosphere (yes, I’m bringing the term back) about RSA being broken? Bruce Schneier:

I have been seeing this paper by cryptographer Peter Schnorr making the rounds: “Fast Factoring Integers by SVP Algorithms.” It describes a new factoring method, and its abstract ends with the provocative sentence: “This destroys the RSA cryptosystem.”

It does not. At best, it’s an improvement in factoring — and I’m not sure it’s even that. The paper is a preprint: it hasn’t been peer reviewed. Be careful taking its claims at face value.

I still encourage people to generate and use the unfortunately-named ed25519 keys in lieu of RSA given they’re smaller and faster. But I’m more than a little relieved to hear this, and not just because I wrote an implementation of RSA in Perl for a second-year university assignment when everyone else was using Python and Java. factor_THIS.pl.

Edgar Gardner had the best response under the story:

[..] if Schnorr could “destroy RSA”, he would have destroyed one of the RSA Challenge problems to prove it. He did not.

To be clear, is a phrase with three words. It’s an intrinsic good for research demonstrating weakened cryptography to be published publicly, not least because there’s a chance a malicious actor, state-sponsored or otherwise, has done it privately and might already be exploiting it.

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