Security fears give hackers an easy ride in US
Friday 31 January 1997
"It shows you that any kid with access to computers can crack this kind of cryptography," said Kurt Stammberger of RSA Data Security. "The cryptography software that you are allowed to export is so weak as to be useless."
The company put its challenge on the Internet on Monday, offering $50,000 (pounds 30,600) in prizes to crack various levels of encryption codes.
The United States government, worried about security, has barred exports of lengthy encrypted codes.
Last month, the Clinton administration began allowing companies to export longer encryption devices - but only if they have a way for law enforcement officials to crack the code and intercept the communications. Most computer companies have rejected that demand.
Meanwhile, Ian Goldberg, a University of California postgraduate student, took on RSA Data Security's challenge by linking together 250 idle workstations that allowed him to test 100 billion possible "keys" per hour.
That's like trying every possible combination for a safe at high speed, and many students and employees of large companies have access to such computational power, the university said.
After 210 minutes, Goldberg had decoded the message, which read, "This is why you should use a longer key".
Goldberg, who won $1,000 (pounds 617) for his effort, says the moral is clear: "This is the final proof of what we've known for years - [this] technology is obsolete."
Almost all business software now requires encryption, a necessity for any company doing business over the Internet. But no one will buy US software that can be cracked by a student in three-and-a-half hours.
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot
'Untrue statements' anger over work to make H5N1 bird-flu virus MORE dangerous to humans
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Scientists ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer (WPF...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 6 Teacher - Gilli...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of English - S...