Washington, November 1 : Dutch researchers have shown that the so-called McEliece encryption system, a candidate for the security of Internet traffic in the age of the quantum computer in future, is not devoid of vulnerabilities.
Computer scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in The Netherlands said that they had managed to crack the system.
Tanja Lange, a professor at the university, revealed that the attack succeeded this month by means of a large number of linked computers throughout the world.
Prior to this work, she and her PhD student Christiane Peters had announced the discovery of a way to speed up attacks against the 30-year-old McEliece cryptosystem earlier this year.
Along with visiting professor Daniel Bernstein, from the University of Illinois, Chicago, they wrote software that would decrypt a McEliece ciphertext in just one week on a cluster of 200 computers.
The researchers revealed that the software was run on several dozen computers in Eindhoven, Amsterdam, France, Ireland, Taiwan, and the U.S. recently.
According to them, a computer in Ireland found the ciphertext.
The team announced the successful attack at a conference in Cincinnati (US) on Post-Quantum Cryptography.
They said that the McEliece cryptosystem could be scaled to larger key sizes to avoid their attacks, and remained a leading candidate for post-quantum cryptography.