I remember when Derek Atkins was sending mail to the cypherpunks list, looking for hosts to dedicate to cracking RSA-129. I remember when they announced that “The Magic Words are Squeamish Ossifrage.” How it took 600 people with 1,600 machines months of work and then a Bell Labs supercomputer to work through the data. I had a fun little stroll down memory lane reading about average machines not having more than 16MB of ram, and how they borrowed a server with 2, later 3 900 MB disks. 129 decimal digits fits in 430 bits. The RSA-129 paper concludes:
We conclude that commonly-used 512-bit RSA moduli are vulnerable to any organization prepared to spend a few million dollars
and to wait a few months.
Fast-forwarding to this week, David Molnar mentions that “We’re living in the future now:”
The 512-bit RSA key used for signing applications and firmware updates for the TI-83 has been factored. By some person working on his or her own. With one computer.
David links to “Calculator hackers crack OS signing key, opening a closed platform,” and following links, we get to “fun number theory facts:”
A mathematical morsel for your entertainment and edification.
is the product of