Researchers Identify Serious RSA Certificate Vulnerability

Keyfactor today announced research findings identifying a vulnerability across active RSA certificates. RSA certificates and the RSA algorithm are commonly used to securely transmit data to a remote source. Using minimal computing resources, researchers were able to collect and analyze 175 million RSA certificates and keys used to protect real-world Internet traffic.

The active and publicly available RSA keys (which consist of the product of two large, randomly chosen primes) were mined to identity common factors. Any keys sharing one of their prime factors with another key are compromised by this technique. The analysis found over 435,000 certificates with a shared factor, with researchers able to rederive the private key.

When these devices include medical implants and cars, the impact of the malfunction can be devastating. The research stresses the importance of security best practices, random number generation for connected systems and use of cryptography to securely install firmware and software updates through the lifecycle of the device.

Researchers built a database of 75 million active RSA keys using Keyfactor’s proprietary SSL/TLS certificate discovery capabilities. The dataset was augmented using 100 million certificates available through certificate transparency logs and analyzed on a single virtual machine in Microsoft Azure, using Keyfactor’s scalable GCD algorithm to find shared factors. The findings were released at the First IEEE Conference on Trust, Privacy and Security in Intelligent Systems and Applications.

To download a copy of the research paper, please click here.

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