Encryption with elliptical curves scratched

Encryption with elliptical curves scratched
Encryption with elliptical curves scratched

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The H Security
July 14, 2009

Researchers at the =C3=89cole Polytechnique F=C3=A9d=C3=A9rale (EPFL) in Lausanne, 
Switzerland, have succeeded in cracking 112-bit encryption based on 
elliptical curves (ECCp-112). They calculated the secret key associated 
with a public key by solving the Discrete Logarithm Problem (DLP) for 
elliptical curves, which displays a complexity of 260 for the numbers 
involved. The cracked ECC system is a set of parameters defined by the 
secp112r1PDF standard. That puts it at the lower end of the 
specifications for ECC encryption systems.

The computation required around half a year on the EPFL cluster, 
consisting of some 200 PlayStation 3s that had already served to 
calculate the MD5 collision for creating a fake SSL issuer certificate 
from RapidSSL. The ECC code designed for the cell processor of the 
PlayStation 3 was optimised several times during the computation period, 
and the researchers say that, if the optimised code had been running 
from the start, the computation would only have taken three and a half 
months. The previous record was set in 2002, when a distributed cluster 
consisting of around 10,000 PCs cracked an ECC key within 549 days. At 
that time, researchers at Notre Dame University cracked an ECCp-109 key, 
three bits shorter than the new record.


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