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Web services such as email, photo, social networks, internet commerce, and online banking require that entities authenticate themselves. Scrooge McDuck must be sure that he (it?) is communicating with the bank, and not with some bad guy with a look-a-like web page. Likewise, when the bank gets the request “transfer 5 gazillions from my account to the Beagle Boys” from “Scrooge,” the bank must be sure that it is communicating with Scrooge and not with the Beagle Boys.
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An agent can get the public key of another agent from a trusted key server, but we abstract from such details. Such a key server setup is, however, itself a nontrivial issue.
This is called the perfect cryptography assumption. In reality, keys could be weak enough to be broken, depending on available technology.
In some cryptosystems, the public key cannot be used to decrypt encrypted data.
In 2009, a 768-bit RSA number n was factored by a state-of-the-art distributed implementation using around two thousand CPU years in total .
- Analyzing a Cryptographic Protocol
Peter Csaba Ölveczky
- Springer London
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- Chapter 14