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\u2022 The public key is announced by the receiver to
anyone who wants it (e.g. the sender of the
message \u2013 or anyone else!)
method in use today is the RSA algorithm
\u2022 In RSA, keys are generated as follows:
1. A key centre (which generates & distributes
1. The sender converts the message to bits, breaks
it into substrings of the same length, then each
substring (which is an integera that must be
\u2022 Last lecture \u2013 we showed that a valid pair of keys for RSA isx = 3 &n = 33 (public key), andy = 7 &n = 33 (private key)
\u2022 The theoretical basis that ensures the RSA
method always works comes from an area of
mathematics known as number theory (which is
the study of properties of integers)
\u2022 For example, we stated that it was necessary to
start with 2 distinct prime nosp &q, & multiply
them to obtain the numbern that appears in both
the public and private keys:n =pq
the receiver as the number 3 (as we\u2019d expect)
\u2022 However, the message 2 is recovered as 8
\u2022 Similarly, the message 6 is recovered as 0
\u2022 So the RSA method doesn\u2019t necessarily work
\u2022 A message sent using RSA can be deciphered by
an intruder if they are able to determine (e.g.
guess) the numbery in the private key
\u2022 In practice, though, very large nos are used forx
&y (at least tens of digits), so a trial-and-error
approach to findingy would take months or
years, even with the fastest available computers
\u2022 The other way to break the cipher (other than by stealingy) is to find the original prime nosp &q on which the public & private keys were based
\u2022 Sincen =pq, and the value ofn is publically
available (in the public key), the cipher will be
broken if we can factorn into constituent primes
\u2022 While this may sound fairly easy, it is actually
very difficult to find the factors of large nos (and
it is suggestedn has at least 200 decimal digits)
\u2022 To illustrate this difficulty, the RSA Security Co.
offers prizes of $10,000 to $200,000 (US) for
factoring certain nos, of length 174 to 617 digits
\u2022 For example, you can earn $10,000 by factoring 188198812920607963838697239461650439807 163563379417382700763356422988859715234 665485319060606504743045317388011303396 716199692321205734031879550656996221305 168759307650257059
\u2022 The company offers these prizes to \u201cencourage
research into computational number theory and
the practical difficulty of factoring large integers\u201d
\u2022 Given the magnitude of the prizes, it is clearly no easy task to factor large nos, even with the latest computers
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