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Sunday, March 18, 2012

What code-cruncher breakthrough
sparked an NSA building frenzy?
As reported by Wired's Threat Level blog and NSA watcher James Bamford, the National Security Agency is building a massive data analysis site in Utah.

The agency's interest was sparked by a code-cracking "breakthrough," it was reported.

Exactly what the breakthrough is hasn't been disclosed, of course, though readers are told the obvious point that the larger the volume of traffic that can be analyzed, the better the chances for successful code-cracking (or, to be technical, cipher-cracking).

In 2002, an important breakthrough was made in prime-number checking that uses a non-probabilistic method. This method drastically reduces the time necessary to check on primality (polynomial time, is the technical expression).

Code-crackers can also avail themselves of probabilistic prime checking routines that also drastically cut search time. It works out that if 20 factors fail to divide a target number, the probability that the number is prime is above 99 percent when the correct algorithm is used.

And code-crackers customarily work with probabilities. So such a method might dovetail nicely with massive super-computation allied with super-data-interception.

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