Old-School SSL/TLS Using the RSA Cipher

Video Notes

Crypto security between clients and servers on the Internet often rely on Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols. Today’s protocols evolved from Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Many people still use the acronym SSL when referring to TLS.

Martin Gardner, a celebrated editor of mathematical games for Scientific American in the later 20th century, wrote a column about the RSA cipher (also available paywalled). Gardner’s column included a challenge from Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman to crack a sample ciphertext encoded using RSA, for a $100 prize. This was eventually called the RSA-129 Challenge, since the public key contained 129 decimal digits. A team of researchers claimed the prize in 1994 after brute-force cracking the RSA public key using over 1,600 cooperating computers.

Steven Levy’s book Crypto provides an entertaining history of public-key cryptography and SSL through 2001.

Vimeo Description

Describes how the RSA cipher is used to share a secret in the TLS protocol.

Video notes: cys.me/vid/c10

Video #11 describes web server authentication using certificates vimeo.com/208069671

The previous video describes the crypto used to publish a DVD vimeo.com/200426387

See the entire Cryptosmith series in its album vimeo.com/album/4229550

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