Cracking the RSA algorithm + more things

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Cracking the RSA algorithm

I guess before we go into cracking the RSA algorithm, we need to discuss what the RSA algorithm is. The RSA algorithm is the mathematical equation behinds the RSA crypto-system. The RSA in question are Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman who publicly described back in 1977.

Ron Rivest literally wrote the book on algorithms.

Note the distinction about ‘publicly’; it is important because a British boffin Clifford Cooks came up the same solution independently whilst working at GCHQ. But it was only at the end of the 1980s when open internet protocols were being developed that this kind of cryptography really found its use as an underpinning principle of public key cryptography.

RSA is a relatively slow algorithm, so is not commonly used to directly encrypt user data. Instead it is used to transmit shared keys for faster cryptographic methods, which are then used for larger encryption–decryption jobs.

Cracking the RSA algorithm gives access to data like credit card details, login credentials or keys to access a bigger data set. As computing power has improved the size of key used to encrypt using RSA has had to be increased in size. In 1999, 512bit length keys could be cracked using 100s of computers in parallel. 20 years later, this could be done in a third of the time on a single well-specced home computer. The safe size of keys today is estimated to be between 2048 and 4096 bits long

Chinese claims on using quantum computing to cracking the RSA algorithm using 2046 bit length keys

The Chinese team claim the ability for cracking the RSA algorithm at 2046 bit key length, using a quantum computer equivalent to IBM’s Osprey system to calculate the keys. Bruce Schneier’s critique on their paper pokes a lot of holes in their claims.

Chinese researchers claim to find way to break encryption using quantum computers | Financial Times 

Breaking RSA with a Quantum Computer – Schneier on Security 

Cracking the RSA algorithm in 2011

Chinese military affiliated hackers compromised the ‘seed keys’ used to support RSA Security’s products at the time. if you had known me back then, I had a grey lump with digital display on it that was called SecureID and used to access my work computer.

SecureID tags

SecureID was not only used in corporate environments but government contractor, research and military networks. So stealing the seed keys rendered all of them vulnerable.

RSA finally comes clean: SecurID is compromised | Ars Technica 

The RSA SecurID Hack: A Lesson on Protecting Your Most Critical Assets – Telos Corporation 

RSA explains how attackers breached its systems • The Register 

Case study: The compromise of RSA Security and the rise of cyber-espionage 

The Full Story of the Stunning RSA Hack Can Finally Be Told | WIRED 

No quantum computers required.


Far More Microsoft Layoffs and Spending Cuts Than the Mainstream/Corporate/Tech Media Reports on | Techrights 


Interesting report: China’s Digital Policies in Its New Era :: EU Cyber Direct 

Time to crack down on the CCP’s influence in Britain | Telegraph Online – China’s focus on elites has lost the opportunity in the UK: China’s buy-up of Britain sees £1bn in dividends flow back to Beijing | The Sunday Times 

New House Select Committee seeks ‘Cold War’ victory over China – POLITICO 

Chinese celebrities’ Covid deaths subvert propaganda push to minimise outbreak | Financial Times this will have less of an impact than the FT thinks and neither will this: Resurgent Chinese travel would reset the country’s global image | Financial Times 

Consumer behaviour

PR News | Get Ready for the Gen Z Onslaught – Gen Z “has both the ability and motivation to organize online to reshape corporate and public policy, making life harder for multinationals everywhere and disrupting politics with the click of the button,” according to an essay by Eurasia chairman Cliff Kupchan and president Ian Bremmer. Gen Z grew up as America’s post-Cold War dominance waned and experienced formative historical events such as the 2008 financial crisis, Arab Spring, Brexit, Trump’s election, Black Lives Matter movement, MeToo reckoning, mass shootings in the US, COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The result is a generation radicalized by the turbulent nature of its times and the failures of leaders and existing institutions to respond,” wrote Kupchan and Bremmer. “Gen Z has broader expectations, demands and policy impulses than its predecessors, including a marked distrust of institutions and traditional channels of political change and economic achievement.” – This isn’t generational per se but related to not hitting life stages


I loved this short film. I grew up with F is for Fake and the more challenging Mondo series of films (Mondo Cane, Women of the World, Addio Africa)


How Austerity Caused the NHS Crisis | naked capitalism and mainly macro: Health service and real wage decline: why are we only now talking about trends that began over a decade ago? – desperation to ignore George Osborne’s austerity

China Services Activity Shrinks for Fourth Straight Month, Caixin PMI Shows – Caixin Global 


Joint Statement on Crypto-Asset Risks to Banking Organizations – Federal Reserve System 

We spent the New Year weekend reading market outlooks, so that you don’t have to 


J&J’s consumer health unit Kenvue files for IPO, moving closer to spin-off | Reuters

Hong Kong

Lawyers exit Hong Kong as they face campaign of intimidationAnonymous threats sent by text message and email. GPS tracking devices placed under a car, and Chinese “funeral money” sent to an office. Ambushes by reporters working for state-controlled media. Accusations of disloyalty in the press. These are some of the methods deployed in a campaign of intimidation being waged against lawyers in Hong Kong who take on human rights cases, have criticized a China-imposed national security law or raised alarms about threats to the rule of law. While some of Hong Kong’s leading rights lawyers have been detained in the past two-and-a-half years, many others have become the target of a more insidious effort to cleanse the city of dissent – part of a wider crackdown by the ruling Communist Party on lawyers across China, say activists, legal scholars and diplomats. Michael Vidler, one of the city’s top human rights lawyers, is among them. Vidler left Hong Kong in April, a couple of months after a judge named his law firm six times in a ruling that convicted four pro-democracy protesters on charges of illegal assembly and possession of unauthorized weapons. Vidler interpreted the judgment as “a call to action” on the city’s national security police “to investigate me,” he told Reuters in an interview last month in Europe

Ripped away from home, we are haunted by the Hong Kong taken from us | The Guardian 


The UK’s dream of becoming a ‘science superpower’ | Financial Times – reminded of Harold Wilson’s ‘white heat of technology’ speech


Tsundoku: The art of buying books and never reading them – BBC News – yet another example of the joy of ownership

Japan Wants G-7 to Team Up Against ‘Economic Coercion’ by China – Bloomberg – interesting when taken in conjunction with their changing defence posture


adidas & Thom Browne’s Legal Battle Over “Similar” Stripes 

12 Watch Professionals Make Bold Predictions for the Industry in 2023 – Robb Report 

SKP Chengdu Ushers In A New Era Of The Chinese Luxury Mall | Jing Daily 


Fascinating details on new forms of high strength concrete


Decade-long spending boom on original TV content expected to slow | Financial Times 


Part of Taiwan’s most advanced anti-ship missile sent to mainland China for repairs | South China Morning Post – you had one job…. unsurprisingly the vendor involved was German supplier Leica

Putin’s Man at the BND: German Intelligence Rocked By Russian Espionage Scandal – DER SPIEGEL 

Nexperia calls in lawyers to save Newport Wafer Fab deal • The Register 

Digitisation of Ukraine’s armed forces


Google announces official Android support for RISC-V | Ars Technica – ARM should be concerned about this

India’s share of global iPhone production forecast to match China’s by 2027 as Apple steps up supply chain diversification | South China Morning Post 

Facebook’s hardware ambitions are undercut by its anti-China strategy – The Washington PostThe executives discussed ways to shift components and manufacturing for a planned smartwatch from China so the company could demonstrate to U.S. customs authorities that it merited a Made in Taiwan label — instead of one that says Made in China. They thought a Made in Taiwan label would save the company on tariffs and be a better look politically. But doing so was very difficult because the supply chain for smart electronic devices is in China, the people said, and countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan and India are only starting to develop those capabilities. Company leaders also hoped to obtain a Made in Italy label for its smart glasses, made in partnership with Ray-Ban, but doing so also wasn’t feasible, the people said. Executives also looked, unsuccessfully, for ways to move manufacturing of Oculus to Taiwan.