The Factoring Dead: Preparing for the Cryptopocalypse presented at BlackHatUSA 2013

by Thomas Ptacek, Alex Stamos, Tom Ritter, Javed Samuel,

Summary : The last several years has seen an explosion of practical exploitation of widespread cryptographic weaknesses, such as BEAST, CRIME, Lucky 13 and the RC4 bias vulnerabilities. The invention of these techniques requires a lot of hard work, deep knowledge and the ability to generate a pithy acronym, but rarely involves the use of a completely unknown weakness. Cryptography researchers have known about the existence of compression oracles, RC4 biases and problems with CBC mode for years, but the general information security community has been unaware of these dangers until fully working exploits were demonstrated.
In this talk, the speakers will explain the latest breakthroughs in the academic crypto community and look ahead at what practical issues could arise for popular cryptosystems. Specifically, we will focus on the latest breakthroughs in discrete mathematics and their potential ability to undermine our trust in the most basic asymmetric primitives, including RSA. We will 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.
The talk will then switch to the practical aspects of the doomsday scenario, and will answer the question "What happens the day after RSA is broken?" We 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 zombi^H^H^H crypto apocalypse.