How safe is "safe"? That's the question at the heart of research into breaking encryption keys — research that has led a team in France to the most complex encryption algorithm to date. At 240 characters long, the new record bests the old decryption record by 8 characters, though it still falls far short of the complexity of the algorithms used in commercial cryptography today.
In order to break the encryption generated by the RSA algorithm, researchers used a network of computers to deliver the 35 million compute hours required to solve the problem. While mathematically and computationally interesting, the result is not seen as a harbinger of the end of effective encryption.
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