This month has been very important for our beloved telecommunication security. On January 7th 2016, the guys of GIMPS project, led by Curtis Cooper, discovered the biggest new prime number, which is something with 22.338.618 digits and can be summarized as: 2 74.207.281
Why is it important for IT security and digital security in general?
Because all digital communication is secured by multiplying two big prime numbers and these factors are called keys. The bigger the result of the multiplication, the stronger the key.
The method is at the very base of famous security cryptographic protocols such as RSA.
It will take a while to get computers that are so powerful that they are able to process the newly discovered prime number, but when it is implemented, it will give us stronger key sizes and better encryption…
…and there will be even bigger military/government computer(s) that will be able to crack the key… and the same old cycle will start again 🙂
Historical Tip: for those of you wondering who the guy in the picture might be, the answer is Marin Mersenne, an ancient French Mathematician who compiled a (partially wrong!?) list of Mersenne Prime Numbers.