Prime Diffie-Hellman Weakness May Be Key to Breaking Crypto

October 16, 2015

The great mystery since the NSA and other intelligence agencies’ cyber-spying capabilities became watercooler fodder has not been the why of their actions, but the how?

For example, how are they breaking crypto to decode secure Internet communication?

A team of cryptographers and computer scientists from a handful of academic powerhouses is pretty confident they have the answer after having pieced together a number of clues from the Snowden documents that have been published so far, and giving the math around the Diffie-Hellman protocol a hard look.

The answer is an implementation weakness in Diffie-Hellman key exchanges, specifically in the massive and publicly available prime numbers used as input to compute the encryption key.

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