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Grad Student Cracks ‘Secure’ Encryption

THURSDAY, JAN. 30, 1997

It’s the most secure encryption code the United States allows to be exported - and it took a graduate student only 3-1/2 hours to break it, industry officials said Wednesday.

“It shows you that any kid with access to computers can crack this kind of cryptography,” said RSA Data Security Inc. spokesman Kurt Stammberger, whose company had offered the challenge. “The cryptography software that you are allowed to export is so weak as to be useless.”

The company put its challenge on the Internet on Monday, offering $50,000 in prizes to crack various levels of encryption codes with electronic key lengths ranging from 40 to 256 bits.


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