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Fujitsu cracks 278-digit crypto

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Japanese computing giant Fujitsu is claiming a world record after successfully breaking a 278-digit (978-bit) pairing-based cryptography system, providing useful data on how far this next-generation encryption system can be trusted.

The company’s R&D arm, Fujitsu Laboratories, worked with Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and Kyushu University to crack the code in 148.2 days.

Their work smashes the previous record of a 204 digit (676 bit) system which Japan's Hakodate Future University and NICT managed in 2009.

Fujitsu claimed that today’s record required several hundred times the computational power of the 2009 effort – in effect this amounted to 21 PCs, or 252 cores.

The firm explained its methods for cracking the code as follows:

We were able to overcome this problem by making good use of various new technologies, that is, a technique optimising parameter setting that uses computer algebra, a two dimensional search algorithm extended from the linear search, and by using our efficient programing techniques to calculate a solution of an equation from a huge number of data, as well as the parallel programming technology that maximises computer power.

With pairing-based cryptography being lined up as the standard for next generation encryption, Fujitsu believes the breakthrough is key to understanding how secure it actually is in applications such as identity-based encryption, keyword searchable encryption, and functional encryption.

“This result is not just a new world record of cryptanalysis, it also means the acquisition of valuable data that forms a technical foundation on which to estimate selection of secure encryption technology or the appropriate timing to exchange a key length,” the firm said. ®

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