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1024-bit RSA encryption cracked by undervolting

Posted on Wednesday, March 10 2010 @ 03:00:26 CET by

Researchers at the University of Michigan have cracked the RSA 1024-bit protection by undervolting the voltage of the processor such that it generated a single hardware error per clock cycle, which helped the scientists to slowly piece together the password.
Now, three eggheads (or Wolverines, as it were) at the University of Michigan claim they can break it simply by tweaking a device's power supply. By fluctuating the voltage to the CPU such that it generated a single hardware error per clock cycle, they found that they could cause the server to flip single bits of the private key at a time, allowing them to slowly piece together the password. With a small cluster of 81 Pentium 4 chips and 104 hours of processing time, they were able to successfully hack 1024-bit encryption in OpenSSL on a SPARC-based system, without damaging the computer, leaving a single trace or ending human life as we know it.
More info at Engadget.



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