RSA : התרומה הישראלית לעולם ההצפנה
המוצר: שיטה להצפנת מידע ולפענוחו
המפתחים: רון ריווסט, עדי שמיר וליאונרד אדלמן
תחילת הפיתוח: 1977
Product: Data Encryption and Decryption Method
Developers: Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, Leonard Adleman
Start of Development: 1977
In 2002, Prof. Adi Shamir became the third Israeli winner of the Turing Award, generally recognized as “The Nobel Prize of Computing”. The Israeli scientist and his two colleagues, Ron Rivest and Leonard Adleman, gained the distinction for their joint development of an algorithm that is used in a public key encryption method. The breakthrough was made in 1977 while the three were engaged in research at MIT and the algorithm’s name consists of their initials.
The RSA method is based on the multiplication of two large prime numbers and enables transmission of encrypted and signed messages between different parties, and their subsequent decryption. The security of encryption using this method stems from the long time period – estimated at thousands of years – required for an unauthorized person to decrypt the code. The method led to a revolution in global computer communications and enabled a form of previously unknown data security.
In 1983, RSA was patented as a communications system and an encryption method in the United States. Among others, this method is implemented today in “smart cards” that are installed in home television sets and that enable only authorized consumers to receive and decode the commercial communications satellite’s broadcast signal. Furthermore, the “smart cards” allow the company operating the satellite to charge each customer for the specific programs and films that he watched.
RSA is similarly used in internet data encryption and enables transfer of confidential data – for example, credit cards – between vendor and buyer during e-commerce. This encryption and decryption method is also implemented in the fields of economy, banking and state communications. The RSA algorithm also enables the digital signing of messages.
In 2008, Prof. Shamir was awarded the Israel Prize for Computer Science. The judges’ citation stated among other things, that Shamir’s “decisive contribution to the reinforcement and strengthening of Israel as a global center of excellence in the field of encryption and decryption.”