August 17th, 2009, 06:23 AM
What happens if P=NP?
Did you know there is a remote possibility that all codes are weaker than your expect and there is nothing you can do about it? Believe it or not, there is an unsolved math problem that says this is possible.
Few of us realize how much mathematics lie behind our ciphers. The P vs. NP Problem has been out there so long that few cryptologists have plans should P=NP. The P vs. NP Problem basically asks how quickly can you solve a problem. Should P=NP be the answer, then all codes are weaker than one would expect.
This article is a contingency plan for information security experts should they ever have to deal with P=NP. First, do no panic. Only if a faster integer factorization algorithm is found will you have to worry immediately. The solution was not found in a day, nor will it be the end of the universe. It will be a long-term threat.
You can reassure everyone that there is a major threat on the horizon, no one can exploit it for now, so they are safe. You are aware of the issue and are taking all precautions.
Next, do your home work. Just because P=NP says our ciphers are weaker, it does not show us how to use this information to attack codes. This is because we know that if any NP or EXPONENTIAL time problem can be reduced to P, P=NP. Chances are it will not have any immediate cryptologic usefulness save P=NP.
Given the number of encryption algorithms available, you have some wiggle room because codes will most likely be attacked in groups, so some codes will become weaker as new math research becomes available. This means math research is no longer option in being ignored.
Also, lawyers will have a field day. Since there are secure data laws, they will have to tell you what your legal risks are. Although the courts will most likely allow a grace period since it would jeopardize many companies to get back into compliance.
This plan is sufficient to satisfy your needs should you have to react to P=NP. Given the nature and numbers of those who have big stakes on the P vs. NP Problem, should P=NP happen everyone will have to respond to the same news. Since this is a low probability event, P=NP would force all who have a stake to get the same news causing a denial of service attack on all relevant information. This plan will help you avoid that and be prepared should P=NP happen.
By Overlord_77520 in forum Cryptography, Steganography, etc.
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