Published on: 27 October, 2008
TU/e researchers have managed to crack the code of the so-called McEliece encryption system. This system is a candidate for the security of Internet traffic in the age of the quantum computer -the predicted superfast computer of the future. Simultaneously with this feat, the scientists presented a new key.
The attack succeeded lst week by means of a large number of linked computers throughout the world, as TU/e professor Tanja Lange informs us. Subsequently she and her PhD candidate Christiane Peters presented a new key which does make the McEliece code resistant to quantum computers.
The software that was used can crack the McEliece encryption system within fourteen days, with the help of the computing power of one hundred computers. This feat was carried out recently by means of several dozens of computers, scattered throughout the world, according to Lange.
At present, banks use the RSA code from 1977 for securing matters such as electronic transactions. Yet a quantum computer will have few problems cracking this code, which is an act for which a PC still needs at least three weeks now. For this reason, anticipating the introduction of the quantum computer (which Lange thinks will take at least ten more years), researchers are trying to find better encryption systems. Professor Lange conducts her research within the Coding theory and Cryptology group of the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science.