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July 1, 1990

CRACKED CODE TOOK SEVERAL MONTHS

By CBR Staff Writer

Those of you that recently read in your daily newspapers that two US mathematicians (one from DEC and one from Bellcore) had cracked the Ninth Fermat Number (F9) may have wondered what all the fuss was about: so did RSA Data Security Inc which designed the RSA cryptosystem around factorisation – after all had the mathematical breakthrough invalidated this type of digital signature or not? Well, as it took the two mathematicians several months (275 MIPS years) using resources worth millions of dollars to crack just one key pair in a digital signature (a key pair is a sender’s code and a receiver’s code) it looks as if little of value for fraudsters has emerged.

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