iSEC Research Labs

Cryptopocalypse Reference Paper

20 Mar 2014 - Javed Samuel

Alex Stamos, Tom Ritter and Javed Samuel presented "Preparing for the Cryptopocalypse" at Black Hat 2013, looking into the latest breakthroughs in the academic cryptography community. The original presentation can be downloaded here.

Today we're releasing a full whitepaper that provides additional detail and extensive references which will explain the latest breakthroughs in the academic cryptography community and look ahead at what practical issues could arise for popular cryptosystems. Specifically, it focuses on the recent major developments in discrete mathematics and their potential ability to undermine our trust in the most basic asymmetric primitives, including RSA.

It explain the basic theories behind RSA and the state-of-the-art in large numbering factoring, and how several recent papers may point the way to massive improvements in this area. It also describes some of the mathematics of Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC).

The paper then switches to the practical aspects of the doomsday scenario, and will answer the question "What happens the day after RSA is broken?" It will point out the many obvious and hidden uses of RSA and related algorithms and outline how software engineers and security teams can operate in a post-RSA world. We will also discuss the results of our survey of popular products and software, and point out the ways in which individuals can prepare for the "zombie cryptopocalypse".

The paper provides a detailed list of references to the latest academic papers related to asymmetric cryptography. In addition, references that discuss the current level of ECC support in various popular products and software are included.

The paper can be downloaded here.