Blog on Math Blogs

Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"A Game of Chance," by Dana Mackenzie. New Scientist, 7 June 2003, pages36-39

This article discusses the vulnerability of cryptographic systems that are nowused for everything from sensitive military communications to ATM transfers.In the late 1990s, the National Institute of Standards and Technology conducteda competition for a new cryptographic algorithm that would be stronger thanexisting ones. In 2000, it chose a winner, Rijndael, which was developed bytwo Belgian cryptographers. Since then, another pair of cryptographers haveshown that Rijndael has certain vulnerabilities that could eventually beexploited to crack it. Right now, computers are not fast enough to takeadvantage of these vulnerabilities. But the initial hope that Rijndael couldsafely be used for the rest of this century may be illusory.

--- Allyn Jackson