Dec. 18 2019 — On December 2, 2019 at ECC 2019 in Bochum, a team of European scientists led by Paul Zimmermann of INRIA, France, announced that they computed the largest-ever RSA key size (RSA-240), alongside the largest-ever integer discrete logarithm (795 bits). The achievement is extra remarkable, because the feat goes beyond Moore’s law: based on the current improvements in hardware, we would have had to wait a few more years for this result. Improvements in the software that carries out the Number Field Sieving, and algorithms allowed for the two records to be broken at the same time, and for Moore’s law to be bypassed.
The project in which these achievements were recorded, named “New Records for Integer Factorization and Discrete Logarithm” received 32 million core hours on the German JUWELS supercomputer, hosted by GCS at FZJ, via an allocation under the 18th Call for Proposals for PRACE Project Access
“These achievements prove that in the race for the largest and fastest supercomputer, we should continue to focus on scaling up and improving the applications that run on these machines. With phones, cars, homes, and even cities becoming “smart” the need for digital security is ever increasing, and Europe can play a leading role here.” Says Núria López, Chair of the PRACE Scientific Steering Committee.
Such numbers are used in cryptography which secures communication, protecting for instance your WhatsApp messages from being read by others, and your online banking from being hacked by criminals. It is expected that quantum computers will be able to easily crack these RSA numbers, and researchers are already developing more complex protection measures. Until then, 2048-bit RSA, Diffie-Hellman, and DSA keys are recommended, as these can still lock adversaries out.
ECC 2019: 23rd Workshop on Elliptic Curve Cryptography eccworkshop.org/
The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) is an international non-profit association with its seat in Brussels. The PRACE Research Infrastructure provides a persistent world-class high performance computing service for scientists and researchers from academia and industry in Europe. The computer systems and their operations accessible through PRACE are provided by 5 PRACE members (BSC representing Spain, CINECA representing Italy, ETH Zurich/CSCS representing Switzerland, GCS representing Germany and GENCI representing France). The Implementation Phase of PRACE receives funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (2014-2020) under grant agreement 730913.
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