News of the WeekComputer Science

Internet Security Code Is Cracked

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Science  03 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5433, pp. 1472-1473
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5433.1472b

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A popular encryption tool for keeping credit card numbers and other information secret on the Internet has been cracked. Last week, scientists announced at a press conference in Amsterdam that, using a sophisticated mathematical algorithm and cleverly written software, they had broken the RSA-155 code, which protects credit card transactions and secure e-mail in Europe. The number-crunching legerdemain suggests that anyone trafficking in confidential information on the Internet may soon have to switch to more sophisticated encryption software.