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RSA Released Into The Public Domain

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the if-it-comes-back-to-you,-it's-broken dept.

Encryption 203

Legolas-Greenleaf writes "According to the this news release on RSA Security's website, the RSA algorithm was released into the public domain today (September 6th, 2000). This is in advance of their US patent expiring on the 20th. There is some more information in their RSA FAQ."

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RSA BSAFE software? (1)

trbloom (205916) | more than 13 years ago | (#801785)

Is ssh or apache ssl based on the RSA algorithm or the BSAFE software?

Re:big deal (3)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#801786)

The big deal is that you can now in the US use apps based off of it legally. This *is* a big deal for those of us trying to do security work in the states. It means I can now give my clients the really neat toys.

Wow! Two weeks early! (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 13 years ago | (#801787)

It sure is nice of them to officially release this to the public domain a whole two weeks before it would have automatically gone there anyway.

Edward Burr

Re:So how will this affect us? (1)

krady (2201) | more than 13 years ago | (#801792)

The whole point of a patent is that it is anti-competitive. It is there to protect you from competition so that you are encouraged to publicise the work.

Re:Symbolism and significance. (1)

lpontiac (173839) | more than 13 years ago | (#801793)

One such program was PuTTY, which is actually written, maintained and hosted by one man, in the United Kingdom. Same with a lot of other things. Nothing illegal about him writing it, but it was illegal for an American to download and use it within their national borders.

Nothing was left out (not that, anyway) (1)

Viking Coder (102287) | more than 13 years ago | (#801794)

It's the other way around. You already have primes p and q, and you just multiply to find n.

Re:If only Fraunhaufer would do the same. (1)

Hooha Man (228623) | more than 13 years ago | (#801796)

I had the same problem, however a newer version has since been released - called oggenc rather than ogglame and this works correctly for me.
Still can't change details in Winamp but that is a plugin functionality thing rather than an ogg problem.
The only downer, for me, is that playback takes about 10%-15% processor time - my computer: Celeron 300a@450, W2K. OGG bitrate: VBR based around 192kbits. This is just enough of a hit to make Quake3 jerky :(


<O O&gt
( \/ )
X X

Re:RSA and GPG (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 13 years ago | (#801798)

What about EL Gamal's problem with choosing the same 'k' twice?

Re:How magnanimous. (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 13 years ago | (#801807)

"Does this mean that "A" has finally found a NP-space P-time inverse, and the whole algorithm becomes no more than a toy! "

If he did, he would win that million dollar prize that was posted on /. a few months back. He probably could make much more moolah just using his P time algorithm... Reminds me of the movie Sneakers. I wonder what goes on behind our backs...

Plus, with quantum computing moving along, all (most) security will be obsolete.

Ed

The alternative outcome (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 13 years ago | (#801808)

RSA today announced that they have recruited some of the lawyers involved in defending the MPAA's CSS scheme.

They hope that with legal backing they can extend the patent on their algorithm indefinitely. Also they have found (looking back at their patent) that they own all public key cryptography patents and anyone infringing on them will be forced to pay up. Anyone refusing will be struck down - i'm told adi shamir is quite hot with a minigun :)

Re:Oooh i'll finally be able to look at the algori (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 13 years ago | (#801809)


Uhh, dude, that's what a patent is - when you patent it, you are forced to reveal it to the public.

Patents just make sure that no one else is allowed to make a product based on the idea unless you let them.

--

Re:If only Fraunhaufer would do the same. (1)

Admiral Lazzurs (96382) | more than 13 years ago | (#801810)

Yea, but that is not important, because mp3's replacment is just around the corner, it is called vorbis, it is very open and it is way better than mp3 :)

Apostrophe shy... (1)

Tet (2721) | more than 13 years ago | (#801811)

When I first looked at the FAQ, I thought they were being very apostrophe shy, omitting them from words like "companys", "securitys" etc. However, looking at the page again in Netscape instead of Lynx shows that they're just just using Microsoft moronic HTML [fourmilab.ch] . Sigh.

great! but... (1)

sTeF (8952) | more than 13 years ago | (#801812)

dont't make another licensig problem out of it, please! i haven't read the licensing info yet.

Wow, that's so very big of them... (1)

jimhill (7277) | more than 13 years ago | (#801813)

Gosh...after almost 17 years, RSA (the company) decides to release RSA (the algorithm) into the public domain. And it's two whole weeks before the patent expires! Gosh! You guys are so swell! I'm going to use RSA in all my security products to support your selflessness and your generous to the world community!

Bah.

Setting aside one's beliefs on the idea behind being able to get a patent on math, there's the underlying assumption from RSA (the company) that we should be grateful because they've deigned to surrender their oh-so-valuable intellectual property after extracting only 99.77% of the life of the patent. Don't do me any favors, guys -- I'll find my own algorithms.

The question still stands... (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 13 years ago | (#801814)

...am I finally free to use that SSH client in the US now (which I've been using for years.. sssshhhhh....) or does RSA have some other means of bending me over a barrel if they find out?

Hmm... (1)

rosewood (99925) | more than 13 years ago | (#801828)

So even though it will be in the open, can I still use it and call it a strong encryption technique and then when anyone who has been in Calc 1 can crack it, I mean reverse engineer it, can I still sue them thanks to the wonderful (ha) DMCA?

No more problems with SSL security in US :-)))))) (1)

Darkbird (173560) | more than 13 years ago | (#801830)

Now I'm gonna use OpenSSL evetywrere with no restrictions. Whoohoooo!!!!

Change party dates (2)

anticypher (48312) | more than 13 years ago | (#801832)

Now we'll have to quickly change the dates for the planned release parties. I've started by opening a large bottle of Domus beer and will proceed to get nothing done the rest of the day.

But this is good news that RSA isn't going to try any kind of tricks to extend their patent or somehow deny us this very valuable algorithm. Expect to see some good implementations of RSA being released into the wild in the next few hours/days.

the AC

Re:Public Domain? What's the angle here? (1)

Caine (784) | more than 13 years ago | (#801833)

If I've ever seen a karma whore, this is it =)

Re:We need key escrow (2)

cmclean (230069) | more than 13 years ago | (#801834)

My God Man, have you even *read* the UK's proposed Regulation of Investigatory Powers bill, the idea of 'guilty until you prove yourself innocent' seems a little inquisitorial for my liking. By far my favorite part, however, is that you get 2 years in prison if you can't prove you don't have the private key the police want, and another 5 years if you complain about it.

Now I'm all in favour of the 'contempt of court' laws, but hang on a minute here...

Further, and more in-depth commentary can be found at Stand.org.uk [stand.org.uk] for those who are interested.

Craig.

WoooHoooo! (2)

jbarnett (127033) | more than 13 years ago | (#801835)

YES!

You know what this means don't you? I can compile in SSL support for commerical use into Apache and not have to pay C2 (the makers of stronghold) $1000 a license key!

$45 (or is it 90?) for the Server cert and you have a commerical proffesinal SSL server. If you want to use buzzwords "Ecommerce solution for $45 a year"!

RSA and GPG (2)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 13 years ago | (#801836)

My question is, how long before this is incorporated into GPG? Of course, the obvious answer is 'as quickly as you can write it yourself' :-).

As far as I know, RSA is more secure than both El Gamal, and DSA, the algorithms currently used for encryption and signing in GPG. In fact, I believe El Gamal becomes horribly insecure if the same random number is used twice when running the algorithm. Also, RSA supports longer key lengths than DSA.

I want to create myself a big, 4-8k bit RSA root signing key scheduled to expire in 10 years, and then at 2 year intervals replace my main signing and encryption keys with new ones signed by the big RSA root key.

I know how RSA works, but not how to generate the large random primes that are required for a big key.

Re:Public domain for algorithm, no code (1)

Ded Bob (67043) | more than 13 years ago | (#801837)

It means we can all use OpenSSL [openssl.org] without the rsaref library. The code is already out there.

Re:Brilliant news! (2)

tap (18562) | more than 13 years ago | (#801838)

They freed up their patent two weeks before it expired, not a lot of guts in that!

At least they didn't try to extend the patent by tricking the patent office. For instance, "c = me mod n" is the formula for RSA. So they patented that formula back in 1983, then in 1985 they could have patented the formula "me = c mod n". Mathematically the same formula of course, but that's ok. The patent office will let you patent a formula or algorithm that has already been patented, as long as patent is worded differently enough that the monkey who rubber-stamps patents doesn't notice. The comp.compression FAQ has a section on patents [faqs.org] , which has several patents for identical compression algorithms that the patent office rubber-stamp monkey didn't notice.

They could just make up a new patent every year. Like "Using RSA to exchange DES keys", then "Using RSA to exchange IDEA keys", "Using RSA to exchange keys over computers connected by telecommunication lines", "Using RSA to exchange keys over the internet", "Using RSA to exchange keys between web browsers". They could probably keep this up for as long as they wanted.

Re:We need key escrow (1)

kyz (225372) | more than 13 years ago | (#801854)

You must be a troll.

The "only terrorists, drug dealers and paedophiles are on the 'net" argument is complete rubbish, and a lame excuse for legitimate total invasion of privacy by Government snoops. The trouble is that this pathetic attempt to pull the wool over everyone's eyes has succeeded.

What next? "All criminals and deviants have skin anomolies, so we need the right to strip people naked at any time, provided we have reasonable suspicion... of course, all hot sexy chicks are very suspicious and will definately need to strip off all the time."

Nice trade (1)

Phil Hands (2365) | more than 13 years ago | (#801855)

Swap 2 weeks of unenforcible patent rights for some free publicity and the opportunity to witter on about how your patent helped to promote development.

Personally, I never let their patent affect my life in any way (which is why there's no ssh-rsaref package in Debian), but if I had done, it would not have been helpful.

The claim that some benefit accrued to anyone but themselves is drivel.

If you think software patents are a silly idea, sign this petition [eurolinux.org] to help keep Europe software patent free

This is what patents are for! (3)

Kissing Crimson (197314) | more than 13 years ago | (#801856)


"RSA Security's commercialization of the RSA patent helped create an entire industry of highly secure, interoperable products that are the foundation of the worldwide online economy. Releasing the RSA algorithm into the public domain now is a symbolic next step in the evolution of this market, as we believe it will cement the position of RSA encryption as the standard in all categories of wired and wireless applications and devices."


There has been so much discussion against the issuing and abuse of patent and trademark law; occasionally we should applaud those who do it right. The RSA has handled their patent beautifully while making good business decisions.

My hat is off to them.

Coincidence is the Superstition of Science

Re:RSA BSAFE software? (2)

Draoi (99421) | more than 13 years ago | (#801857)

Is ssh or apache ssl based on the RSA algorithm or the BSAFE software?

Well, OpenSSL [openssl.org] and ModSSL are both based on SSLeay & both contain RSA algorithms. That's why it's recommended that if you're in the US and using OpenSSL, you disable RSA (and IDEA) ciphers during config. It's in the FAQ. [openssl.org]

Re:Public Domain? What's the angle here? (1)

NullAndVoid (181397) | more than 13 years ago | (#801858)

Uhh, yeah I read that too, but I still haven't parsed any meaning from it. What difference did releasing it a few days early make? "Symbolic step" sounds to me like it was for the PR.



Re:RSA BSAFE software? (1)

UID30 (176734) | more than 13 years ago | (#801877)

OpenSSL can use (if you find it, download it, and compile it separately) RSA, and Apache can use OpenSSL (either through mod_ssl or apache+ssl). BSAFE is a product sold by RSA Security Inc which performs much the same as the OpenSSL libraries. BSAFE is, I believe, used by Stronghold and other 'supported' Apache based SSL servers.

I've never used the BSAFE libraries myself, but believe that the major advantage to using them seems to be the RSA License you recieve when you purchase BSAFE.

Re:If only Fraunhaufer would do the same. (2)

MartinG (52587) | more than 13 years ago | (#801878)

Why not ignore .mp3 and use .ogg for your encoding? It's free and free. Plugins are available for all popular plays on many platforms.
It's better (arguably) than mp3 anyway.

http://vorbis.com

OpenSSH (1)

autarkeia (152712) | more than 13 years ago | (#801879)

Does this mean that products such as OpenSSH and will start shipping with standard distros (other than SuSE)? It's about time telnet came turned off on everything.

Took me a second (2)

Lotek (29809) | more than 13 years ago | (#801880)

Took me a second to switch gears. I initially read that as RMS released to the public.

And the sad thing was that it made sense, too.

Re:Public relations (1)

ZanshinWedge (193324) | more than 13 years ago | (#801881)

Sweet, Mozilla will finally have SSL built-in.

Now, if only it still wouldn't be a toy browser. :P

Damn Mozilla dev. team.

Re:Apostrophe shy... (1)

BlowCat (216402) | more than 13 years ago | (#801882)

Actually, you can set "Assumed document character set" in Lynx to win-1252 to see the apostrophes.

Re:RSA is trying to minimize the celebrations (1)

12dec0de (26853) | more than 13 years ago | (#801883)

You can bet that I will party hardy on the 20th anyway. A Crypto Symposium seems the right place.

But I will not chant 'we are free', coz we aint

(and apologies to everyone about me not previewing)

Re:RSA BSAFE software? (1)

Draoi (99421) | more than 13 years ago | (#801884)

Is ssh or apache ssl based on the RSA algorithm or the BSAFE software?

Oh, and ssh is based on RSA algorithms, tho' it also has Blowfish [counterpane.com] available. To get around the licensing restrictions around RSA, the OpenBSD guys have you download OpenSSL first and build ssh by linking to the OpenSSL crypto shlibs .... The newer version of ssh (Version 2) doesn't use RSA crypto, BTW.

Check out the OpenBSD crypto pages [openbsd.org]

Re:WoooHoooo! (1)

phutureboy (70690) | more than 13 years ago | (#801885)

That's what I was wondering... whether this means its now OK to use mod_ssl/OpenSSL in the U.S.

And where can you get a server cert for $45 or $90? The cheapest I am aware of is $125 from Thawte Consulting [thawte.com] , a division of Verisign.

I actually need to buy a cert in the next week or so. If I could save a few bucks it would make me a happy man. Browser compatibility is of great concern though.



--

Re:RSA and GPG (2)

David A. Madore (30444) | more than 13 years ago | (#801886)

See this comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:Public Domain? What's the angle here? (1)

HappyHead (11389) | more than 13 years ago | (#801887)

Uhh, yeah I read that too, but I still haven't parsed any meaning from it. What difference did releasing it a few days early make? "Symbolic step" sounds to me like it was for the PR.

Yup, that's a pretty good summary of what the paragraph means. It comes down to "People are saying not-nice-things about us, and we wanted the spotlight for a second so that we would have a chance to refute them and actually be heard."

While it may be true that (in some cases) the fact that they were charging for it enabled it to be accepted more readily than otherwise, (think old style managers of big non-technical firms here - no tech knowlege, and if it's expensive, it must be better,) there came (and went) a point where they were doing more harm than good by over-charging, and preventing smaller companies from entering a market which they had a very effective stranglehold on. (Ie:Netwscape and Explorer both use RSA for secure web transactions).

So really, all they're doing here, is a "We're actually the good guys here!", combined with a "It didn't get taken away from us, we gave it away!" - A last minute attempt to save face so they can get the tech industry to trust them again, at least long enough for them to sneak yet another convenient patented technology into as many public standards as they can, and get it widely adopted so they can once again drive up the price and extort ludicrous ammounts of money from anyone who wants to enter the playing field. Hopefully this time the people setting the standards will know better.

Re:OpenSSH (1)

Phil Hands (2365) | more than 13 years ago | (#801888)

For US based distributions, there's still the issue of US crypto export laws, which while greatly relaxed still gets in the way.

Debian has included OpenSSH pretty much since it was available. It's available from our Non-US software site [debian.org] , and is on CD#1 of Debian 2.2 (unless you get the cut-down US exportable version).

Re:Hmm... (2)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#801899)

Nope, the concept of "strong encryption technique" is now the intellectual property of Digital:Convergence, as used in their Cue:Cat. The term "XOR" has been renamed "CCC"; details require a NDA.

Their encryption is so strong that typing "Digital:Convergence" into your browser's Address/Location field will fail to search for them.

Re:New Linux virus (1)

Icebox (153775) | more than 13 years ago | (#801900)

That isn't a virus.

Re:So how will this affect us? (2)

toriver (11308) | more than 13 years ago | (#801901)

As I understand it, this only has a direct effect in the US - the various products that we in the rest of the world have been using for ages haven't been subject to this patent because it's a US-only patent.

IIRC, they also applied for patents in Great Britain, Germany, France and maybe another. Other countries were "off the hook", but products using the algorithm could not be exported to countries where the patent was in effect.

implementation in Java? (1)

shailesh17 (113955) | more than 13 years ago | (#801902)

Anyone know where I can find a free implementation of this algorithm in Java?

Java rocks!!!

Re:Hmm... (1)

Cardinal Biggles (6685) | more than 13 years ago | (#801903)

You seem in need of a clue...

Patents grant an exclusive right to exploit an invention, in exchange for the publication of the way it works. What expires about RSA in two weeks is that exclusive right, not any form of secrecy.

So "public" is used in two ways here: the way RSA works always has been public. The right to use it hasn't been, but will now become, public.

Re:We need key escrow (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#801904)

He's not permenantly in Finland anymore.

I wonder if he pronounces /Linus/ with a drawl yet?

FatPhil
(who is)

eh? (2)

Phil Hands (2365) | more than 13 years ago | (#801905)

Patents are supposed to allow a time limited monopoly to exploit an invention, to give chance to recoupe development costs, in return for the inventor publishing details of the technique that makes their invention novel.

The details of RSA was published before it was patented, and it was not funded by RSA in the first place.

Also, it seems to me that it's a discovery and not an invention.

Sounds more like a classic abuse of the whole concept of patents to me.

To add insult to injury, they didn't even write a decent implementation of it.

Proprietary RSA algorithm replaced by better NTRU? (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 13 years ago | (#801906)



I have to wonder if the release of RSA into the public domain has anything to do with this development I saw headlined at Securityportal about another (um, proprietary, too) encryption algorithm, NTRUE [securityportal.com]

I would love it if a new legal finding was made that US Patent Law had to be reinterpreted because the original specification had a faded decimal point - that the intent was to provide patents for 1.7 years instead of 17 years.

how RSA works (5)

pemerson (179241) | more than 13 years ago | (#801907)

Here's a somewhat simplified taste of how RSA works, for those of you who are curious.

Note: I took this from a document that I wrote for my students, so this is how I personally had them implement RSA, NOT how RSA is really done in real life. But the basic premise of key generation is the same.
Background math: gcd is greatest common divisor. mod means modular arithmetic.

To generate your personal key:
1. Generate two prime numbers, p and q.
2. Calculate n = p*q.
2. Calculate phi(n) = (p-1)(q-1).
3. Pick a public key b where 0&#60b&#60phi(n) and gcd(b,phi(n))=1.
4. Calculate the private key a such that a=b^-1 mod phi(n) (multiplicative inverse). Make sure pub is less than phi(n), gcd(phi(n),b)=1, and a>0.
5. n and the public key can be published in a directory. Keep the private key secret.

To crack a key given n and the public key b:
1. Factor n into p and q.
2. Calculate phi(n) = (p-1)(q-1).
3. Calculate the private key; it's a=b^-1 mod phi(n).

To encrypt code, translate from an array of characters to numbers.
let a=0 .. z=25. Encrypt in blocks of three like this:
abc = 0*26*26 + 1*26 + 2 = 28
dog = 3*26*26 + 14*26 + 6 = 2398
cat = 2*26*26 + 0*26 + 19 = 1371
zzz = 25*26*26 + 25*26 + 25 = 17575

Call chunks of text converted to numbers m (for message). Compute m^b mod n. Each of these numbers go on separate lines in the file.
To decrypt code, do the process in reverse. Call the encrypted message m. Compute m^a mod n. Then you can convert from unencrypted numbers back into plaintext.
You can also do a double encryption (digital signature) by taking already encrypted code and encrypting those numbers. Suppose Alice wants to send a message to Bob which only Bob can decrypt and Bob knows can only have come from Alice. Alice uses her own private key to encrypt the message. Then she applies Bob's public key and gives the file to Bob. Bob takes the file and applies his private key to it, and then Alice's public key, leaving him with the plaintext. This ensures that Alice sent the message and only Bob can decode it.

Re:Smart Move (1)

teg (97890) | more than 13 years ago | (#801908)

The patent would have expired in a few weeks anyway...

And it's not like they would lose any business these weeks - they still sell their software, and not many would buy an RSA-specific license knowing it expires soon anyway.

They try to get some goodwill out of it, but when looking into it, they're not giving much.

export regulations? (1)

sTeF (8952) | more than 13 years ago | (#801909)

how do the still existant american cryptoexport regulations affect this announcement? anyone wanna lighten me up?

Uhh exactly what is involved? (1)

sips (212702) | more than 13 years ago | (#801910)

So even though it will be in the open, can I still use it and call it a strong encryption technique and then when anyone who has been in Calc 1 can crack it, I mean
reverse engineer it, can I still sue them thanks to the wonderful (ha) DMCA?


I have taken Calc 1 and passed and I still find many, many concepts in encryption hard to understand if not impossible. Where is a good run down of all the math involved? It would have to be limitd to differentiation and medium-hard integration techniques to work at a Calc 1 leve.

I am just curious.

Oh man, this screws up all my party plans! (2)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 13 years ago | (#801911)


Well, it's nice to know they didn't fight it (they'll probably go down in the history books as having voluntarily released it!) with other patents and nonsense like that.

But now what am I going to be partying for on the 20th? The two-week anniversary?

That is legally :) (1)

sips (212702) | more than 13 years ago | (#801912)

See that's the beauty of anonymity the stupid "intellectual property" laws don't apply to you. That is in fact how most controversial code should be handled.

Re:first (1)

Legolas-Greenleaf (181449) | more than 13 years ago | (#801913)

m'eh. =^)
-legolas

i've looked at love from both sides now. from win and lose, and still somehow...

Public Domain? What's the angle here? (1)

westfirst (222247) | more than 13 years ago | (#801914)

It was already public knowledge. That's the price of patenting something. You disclose everything. So they released it two weeks early. Why? Are they trying to claim some tax deduction? Are they trying to seem like good guys? Why waste perfectly good electrons on the press release?

How magnanimous. (2)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#801915)

Given that they weren't the first to discover the algorithm. The first discoverer was gagged by national security (that's GCHQ for you).
I still view it as mathematics, however, and thus not "a device" for anything.

Or...

Does this mean that "A" has finally found a NP-space P-time inverse, and the whole algorithm becomes no more than a toy!

FatPhil

Public domain for algorithm, no code (1)

BlowCat (216402) | more than 13 years ago | (#801918)

Please note that they are only making the algorithm public domain, not the source code that implements it.
Anyway, it's great news for all of us.

big deal (1)

Evil Grinn (223934) | more than 13 years ago | (#801919)

Its not like the algortithm hasn't been on T-shirts and bumper stickers for the better part of a decade..

Smart Move (2)

JJ (29711) | more than 13 years ago | (#801922)

Making certain that your product continues to be the algorithm of choice and that your continued development efforts will be welcomed into the market. Sounds like a heads up play to me. Bravo!!

Re:Public Domain? What's the angle here? (3)

Legolas-Greenleaf (181449) | more than 13 years ago | (#801926)

Why did RSA Security release the RSA algorithm into the public domain early?
So much misinformation has been spread recently regarding the expiration of the RSA algorithm patent that the company wanted to create an opportunity to state the facts. RSA Security's commercialization of the RSA patent helped create an entire industry of highly secure, interoperable products that are the foundation of the worldwide online economy. Releasing the RSA algorithm into the public domain now is a symbolic next step in the evolution of this market, as it will help cement the position of RSA encryption as the standard in all categories of wired and wireless applications and devices. RSA Security intends to continue to offer the world's premier implementation of the RSA algorithm and all other relevant encryption technologies in our RSA BSAFE software solutions and remains confident in our leadership in the encryption market.

That's why they made an FAQ. For Frequently Asked Questions.
-legolas

i've looked at love from both sides now. from win and lose, and still somehow...

Finally! (2)

Doppelgaenger (111374) | more than 13 years ago | (#801928)

Finally! Putty and Nifty-Telnet you are now mine! :)

Re:Public Domain? What's the angle here? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 13 years ago | (#801935)

Well, yes. Isn't it always?

Re:We need key escrow (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 13 years ago | (#801936)

using the techniques we learnt in forcing other countries to deal with the menace of drugs

Yeah, because that's worked so well! Should we send troops, as we did in Panama, or merely pump more munitions into the world, as we're doing in Columbia?

I can see us now, invading Finland to capture the notorious Linus Torvalds, code maker for the cartel.

Just an excuse (2)

mr.ska (208224) | more than 13 years ago | (#801937)

They probably just ordered way too many T-shirts, and needed a reason to give them away. Mine's in the mail!

Re:So how will this affect us? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#801938)

There's a point - I wonder if a patent could be contested on the basis that it is anti-competitive.

Patents are anti-competitive by definition, that's the whole point in them..

It's better (1)

sips (212702) | more than 13 years ago | (#801939)

Personally I havn't had that great deal of trust for EIGamal. Personally I want to be able to use RSA in gpg at 4096 bits or more without needing to download it outside the US.

Re:RSA and GPG (2)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#801940)

The primes don't actually need to be primes! Industrial strength pseudo-primes will do just as well.

http://www.utm.edu/research/primes/
has loads of info on primes and pseudo-primes.
I recommend "primeform" and its successor "pfgw" as a generator of strong pseudo-primes (SPRPs) as you can chose what form they have:
e.g. if I wawnted a 4000 bit key I could ask
For n=1 to 1000
For k=1 to 2^16-1 step 2
Is 2^4000 + 5614*n*n + k prime?

And just wait a few seconds.
You have pretty much absolute freedom over the expression you try, so you can even feed it a 1000bit random number and ask it top find the next SPRP after that number.

Primeform has its own forum on egroups:
http://www.egroups.com/group/primeform

FatPhil
(a top 20 producer of titanic primes)

Re:If only Fraunhaufer would do the same. (1)

mallie_mcg (161403) | more than 13 years ago | (#801941)

(OFFTOPIC)I know that this is offtopic and all, but, thanx for the response, but when i tried .ogg format for my music, lame would not encode a name into the track, winamp would not let me change this name, and when i used my machine, the .oggs appeared to get noticeably worse in quality, (i did a few tests). Whereas bladeenc did not have similar issues. I really should switch from win32 to Linux or BSD for my desktop, and leave the mac for word processing, but i really dont know which to use: BSD/Linux & which distro. Oh well i spose i could try both and go from there.(/OFFTOPIC)

Sorry that this has gone offtopic


.sig = .plan = NULL;

RSA is trying to minimize the celebrations (1)

perp (114928) | more than 13 years ago | (#801942)

The major reason for RSA's early patent release may be to prevent "RSA Day" from being a media event. Most people in the security community have it marked on their calendars (I do!), and a lot of people had parties or other events planned.

RSA did not want to see headlines like "Techies Celebrate Patent Expiration" or "'We're free!' Shout Drunken Computer Geeks".

Lets all party anyway.

Will there be products now ? (1)

oldzoot (60984) | more than 13 years ago | (#801943)

Will this release permit the development of everyman encryption devices ? One of the common rumors (facts?) of our time is the government intercepting all communication and computer-analysing it for evil words etc. Will someone now make nifty jeez-oh pocket encryptors cheap and easy enough for everyman to use - something to go between a telephone set and the public network, or perhaps between a microphone / speaker and a radio set ? Is the lack of these products in the real world (TM) proof of excessive government controls and insidious dark forces ? And what about Naomi ?

by being able to use RSA free silly (1)

sips (212702) | more than 13 years ago | (#801944)

That's basically the long and short of it. Without the need to have to ask and bey and plead to be able to use it now anyone can use it at any time.

Re:So many questions... (2)

David A. Madore (30444) | more than 13 years ago | (#801945)

GPG supports plugins and there has been one available for RSA for quite some time now. You can get it from here [ftp.guug.de] for example. Compilation instructions are included. Just ignore the legal shit at the beginning.

I've been using it already. I don't care about the patent: algorithms are not patentable in Europe, and RSA Security hasn't even tried to apply for it here.

Java implementation of RSA has existed for a while (1)

Geek Dash Boy (69299) | more than 13 years ago | (#801946)

This is good for me, for I was living in daily fear of gettiing a cease-and-desist from RSA Data Security, Inc. :)

Check it out, get a copy, and tell me what you think [geek-boy.com] .

Great! (1)

The-Pheon (65392) | more than 13 years ago | (#801947)

Releasing the RSA to the public domain is great, but what i really care about is the free tshirt [rsasecurity.com] !

That simple? Did I miss something? (1)

sips (212702) | more than 13 years ago | (#801948)

Why then does it look so darn comlplex and have symbols that I don't even know the operation to?

Re:Great! (2)

The-Pheon (65392) | more than 13 years ago | (#801949)

"The RSA Algorithm Patent Expired, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt"

Re:New Linux virus (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 13 years ago | (#801950)

Wow! It's amazing how Slashdot ignores stuff like new Linux virii, isn't it?

Except its a trojan - which requires root priviledges to install - that is only interesting because it can be controlled via IRC channels.

And Slashdot is covering it here [slashdot.org] .


Steve
---

woohoohooowhohowhowhooo!! (1)

waldoj (8229) | more than 13 years ago | (#801951)

I'll post a 1, the lowest that I can. I'm just incredibly psyched by this, and I've got to express it _*somehow*_!

Whoo-hoo! I'll go get me some little party hats now. (You think I'm kidding.)

-------------------

Wait! (4)

Refried Beans (70083) | more than 13 years ago | (#801953)

That's not fair! I had this huge RSA party planned. What am I going to do with all of these crackers and fish?

Symbolism and significance. (5)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 13 years ago | (#801957)

It might be relatively insignificant from a practical standpoint (it's what, two weeks), but I respect the symbolism of releasing RSA to the public domain just ever so slightly early.

This means that I can now legally use a little SSH program I found for Windows, and I needn't have any qualms about infringement. While I may not have been too concerned for myself at home, I haven't used the program at work (a public school system), since companies love finding licensing problems in public institutions.

Anyway, to me, releasing RSA early is like getting one of those little gold stars on the poster in grade school. It may not have any significant impact on anything at all, but it does make you feel like there's just a little good in there.

Thanks, RSA Security :-) (1)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 13 years ago | (#801959)

('nuff said)

Oooh i'll finally be able to look at the algorithm (2)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 13 years ago | (#801960)

Despite the fact that we were given it to analyse and devise methods of breaking when we were in high school maths.

Second year univeristy maths touched on it and it came into my computing course as well.

It's not like they are releasing the worlds best kept secret.

On the other hand they should be applauded for not behaving like complete twats with their algorithm, ala MPAA :)

Re:Change party dates (1)

12dec0de (26853) | more than 13 years ago | (#801963)

You might want to hold the parties!
RSA recently got an exclusive license to Compaqs Multi-Prime Algorithm, which is IIRC patented. So nothing is lost for RSA.

They will continue to put a stranglehold on America as far as encryption software goes, as servers will grow more and more unable to support the workload that is generated by verifying the signature on connections. The multi-prime helps solve that problem technically.

Re:WoooHoooo! (1)

ZanshinWedge (193324) | more than 13 years ago | (#801967)

Well, for one, Equifax [equifaxsecure.com] offerse $45 server certificates.

There are tons of places like that, you just have to look, the problem though is that you pretty much have to bend over for the RSA/Verisign anal raping service if you want the corresponding CA-root certificate to be installed in everyone's browser client.

Thawte is pretty much the cheapest (it's been bought by Verisign but they're certificates don't cost 300 clams yet).

If you go with a 3rd party "unknown" for your certificate, the first time people connect securily to your site they will be prompted (depending on your server software and their client) to download and install the corresponding browser root certificate for that company (well, probably anyway, if they've connected securely to another site that uses certs from the same company they won't have to install it again, but this is unlikely). It's a fairly painless process actually, I suppose you have to weight the pros and cons for yourself.

Re:WoooHoooo! (1)

jbarnett (127033) | more than 13 years ago | (#801968)


I guess I told you wrong. I got mine from Thawte last year some, I guess it was probably around $125. I was probably thinking of internic.

sorry my bad.

Re:RSA and GPG (2)

Mr T (21709) | more than 13 years ago | (#801970)

To generate large random primes (or actually pseudoprimes since they don't fully test them) look up Miller's algorithm or the Miller-Rabin algorithm. It works like this:

if p is prime them for some a You can prove that the reverse is usually true, if a**(p-1) mod p = 1 then p is prime "most, but not all of the time"

So you pick out 100 or 200 values for a. And if the second part is only 50% true (ie: if it equals one then there is a 50% chance the p is prime) then after doing this 100 or 200 times for a bunch of different values of a you end up with a pretty good odds that p is prime. 50% ** 100 (or 200) is your error and that's pretty small.

As for RSA being more secure than El Gamal, I believe is has been shown that ElGamal is at least as secure as RSA and a lot of people believe it to be more secure. DSA on the other hand is really just a way of applying ElGamal and so it has some key size restraints to comply with a standard. Don't use DSA if you're not happy with the key length, sign with ElGamal and pick as big a modulus as you want.

That's overexagerating (1)

sips (212702) | more than 13 years ago | (#801973)

What prevents a big news item from going down today? Why would a company actually fear a party or a news item. Only about 1% of the people in the world probably know what RSA actually is. I know it wouldn't make it into the 11:00 news.

you left something out ... (3)

Hollins (83264) | more than 13 years ago | (#801977)

Hey, Teach?

Refresh my memory, how do you factor n into p and q again?

:)

Re:Wow, that's so very big of them... (1)

jimhill (7277) | more than 13 years ago | (#801978)

Normally I don't really get too worked up about how my posts are moderated; I'm here to express opinions, not rack up some kind of score.

But "Flamebait"?

Sneering contempt is what I was going for. To put it in a more-easily digestible form for the sarcasm-impaired person or persons who considered my original post "Flamebait":

It is obvious from the press release that RSA expects this to be a good PR move. I hope that people are not taken in by that, because releasing a patented algorithm into the public domain 16 years, 50 weeks into its 17-year patent is far from an act of generosity.

On another note, a re-read makes my original post look like I'd rather roll my own algorithms than use RSA -- no way, now how. I don't have anywhere near the crypto skills to produce anything more secure than ROT-13. What I meant was that since RSA has been so uptight about enforcing their patent, I (and the rest of the crypto-using folks out there) have had to find alternate methods (el-Gamal, etc.) of performing the tasks that RSA is used for. I see no reason to abandon those algorithms now that RSA has so generously released theirs.

Re:So how will this affect us? (1)

krady (2201) | more than 13 years ago | (#801979)


There was no patent outside the US. The company I work for produced its products in US and rest-of-world flavours only.

Public domain is better than expired (4)

kren2000 (33120) | more than 13 years ago | (#801980)

My guess is that RSA did this to avoid someone else re-patenting a twist on the RSA algorithm. It's much safer in the public-domain than it is as an expired patent.

In any case, my guess is that RSA has patented *around* the original patent, covering such twists as public key encryption over e-mail, etc. and those patents will most likely extend for the next couple of years.

Karen

Re:Brilliant news! (2)

streetlawyer (169828) | more than 13 years ago | (#801981)

long may they reap the rewards from it.

How?

So many questions... (2)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 13 years ago | (#801982)

but my main one is: does the expiration of the patent mean that RSA will be retroactively included in systems such as GnuPG?

The central advantage of GnuPG and SSH protocol version 2 (as far as I can tell) is simply that they don't use patent-encumbered algorithms, and RSA is "the big one" in that category. Of necessity, the free world has moved on to DSA and ElGamal, but do they have any technical (non-political) advantage?

I'm particularly intrigued by the fact that if you're using ElGamal and for whatever dumb reason (bad RNG or just wild luck) you choose the same k twice, you give away your private key. Do any of the popular cryptosystems keep track of used ks to make sure they don't repeat, or do they just rely on probability? Does RSA have any comparable weakness?

So how will this affect us? (4)

The Dodger (10689) | more than 13 years ago | (#801984)


As I understand it, this only has a direct effect in the US - the various products that we in the rest of the world have been using for ages haven't been subject to this patent because it's a US-only patent.

I'm not going to open the can of worms that would result from me flaming the US Patent Office...

So, what this means is that it will now be possible for non-US companies like Baltimore (Irish company) to sell RSA-based products in the US without having to worry about having to licence the PSA algorithm from the RSA company.

There's a point - I wonder if a patent could be contested on the basis that it is anti-competitive.

Anyway, getting back to the point, the other advantage will be that open source products which use the RSA algorithm and which, until now could not be used for commercial purposes in the U.S., can now be deployed by companies.

Considering that a large percentage of open source developers and projects are based in the United States, is this likely to lead to more widespread and better integration of cryptography with open source software packages?


D.
..is for Downloading PGP from a US host instead of being forced to put up with the International version...

Stronghold (2)

Threed (886) | more than 13 years ago | (#801986)

I never was too clear on the RSA licensing thing. My company paid for Stronghold for the sole purpose of avoiding such difficulties. Does this mean that I can scrap that and use Apache/OpenSSL for my B2B site? It looks to me like I can, but I'd like to keep the company 100% in the clear.

The real Threed's /. ID is lower than the real Bruce Perens'.

--Threed

Public relations (2)

blakestah (91866) | more than 13 years ago | (#801987)

RSA is just securing a little good PR on the back end of their patent.

What they hope to do is further establish their namebrand as the standard in encryption technology.

Of course, now openssh/openssl will get wrapped in so many open source projects it will get silly fast. For example, I bet it takes about 1 day for Mozilla to incorporate openssl in its default build.

This move marks a large step forward for open source secure products.

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