mailing list archives
PGP Distributed Attack
From: aleph1 () DFW NET (Aleph One)
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 02:32:37 -0500
CYBERSPACE, 31 March 1997 - This is to announce the first truly
distributed attack on the popular PGP encryption/authentication program.
In 24 hours, users all across cyberspace can assist in 'factoring'
a 1024-bits PGP public key, using a Java applet specially written by
a team of 'cypherpunks'.
To make this attack successful, we need as many people as we can find
to run this program on their computer. As Java applets can be run
by anyone with an Internet connection and a modern operating system
like Windows '95(tm), OS/2(tm) or Linux(tm) with a web browser such
as Netscape Navigator 2.02 or above, everyone can join in. All you
need to do is download the applet from the URL given below, and run
it. The applet will send the results of its factoring attempts to
a preconfigured e-mail address automatically.
Some background information: a PGP key is considered unbreakable because
it consists of a product of two very large prime numbers. The only way
to 'crack' the key is to find the two prime numbers. This applet does
exactly that. Each user who downloads the applet also is assigned a
range of numbers to try. If at least 144,000 users download the applet,
and run it for 24 hours on a computer at least as powerful as a 486,
the entire keyspace will be searched. At least one of these users will
then find the two prime numbers that make up the secret key, and then
the key has been 'cracked'.
(Note to techies: the method used is the Distributed Special Number
Field Sieve, as developed by David Scott <dscott () ridgecrest ca us>)
The URL for the factoring applet is
To keep track of the number of users that are running the applet,
and to communicate with other participants in this exciting event,
the IRC channel #pgp-factor will be available tomorrow all day.
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Submissions for this group: <URL:mailto:pgp-announce-submit () news pgp net>
Comments about this group: <URL:mailto:pgp-announce-moderator () news pgp net>
Guidelines for submission are posted weekly to the newsgroup.
The PGP FAQ is at <URL:http://www.pgp.net/pgpnet/pgp-faq/>
Re: 2nd Linux kernel patch to remove stack exec Bryan Reece (Apr 13)