RSA was among the first public-key cryptography developed. It was first described in 1978, and is named after its creators, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Len Adleman.1 Although “textbook” RSA by itself is not a secure encryption scheme, it is a fundamental ingredient for public-key cryptography
1Clifford Cocks developed an equivalent scheme in 1973, but it was classified since he was working for British intelligence.
- 1: Modular Arithmetic & Number Theory
- In general, public-key cryptography relies on computational problems from abstract algebra. Of the techniques currently known for public-key crypto, RSA uses some of the simplest mathematical ideas, so it’s an ideal place to start. We will be working with modular arithmetic, so please review the section on modular arithmetic.