December 31st, 2008, 08:35 PM
Uh oh, SSL! 200 PS3s gunning for you
Ah, the Playstation 3... Might be outsold by the Wii and Xbox 360, but it has been leading to some interesting IT diversions.
MD5 considered harmful today: Creating a rogue CA certificate
Our attack takes advantage of a weakness in the MD5 cryptographic hash function that allows the construction of different messages with the same MD5 hash. This is known as an MD5 "collision". Previous work on MD5 collisions between 2004 and 2007 showed that the use of this hash function in digital signatures can lead to theoretical attack scenarios. Our current work proves that at least one attack scenario can be exploited in practice, thus exposing the security infrastructure of the web to realistic threats.
...A single attempt for constructing a chosen-prefix collision costs about a little more than a day. The first stage consisting of the birthday search is computationally the most expensive. Luckily it is also very suited for the special SPU cores of the Cell Processor that the Sony PlayStation 3 uses. We had about 200 PS3s at our disposal, located at the "PlayStation Lab" of Arjen Lenstra at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland (see the picture). The birthdaying takes about 18 hours on the 200 PS3s using 30GB of memory that was equally divided over the PS3s.
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