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French Team Invents Faster Code-Breaking Algorithm

By Gary Anthes

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 57 No. 1, Pages 21-23

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A team of French mathematicians and computer scientists has made an important advancement in the field of algorithms for breaking cryptographic codes. In a certain class of problem, the new algorithm is able to efficiently solve the discrete logarithm problem that underlies several important types of modern cryptosystems.

"Problem sizes, which did not seem even remotely accessible before, are now computable with reasonable resources," says Emmanuel Thomé, a researcher at the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) and one of four researchers reporting the advance. However, he notes, the new algorithm poses no immediate threat to most existing cryptosystems, including the RSA-based cryptography used in credit cards and much of e-commerce.


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