An anonymous reader sends word of a paper presented a few days back by Adi Shamir, the S in RSA, that promises a new form of mathematical attack against a broad range of cryptographic ciphers
. The computerworld.com.au report leans heavily on Schneier's blog entry
from the Crypto 2008 conference and the attached comments. Shamir's paper has not been published yet. "[The new attack could affect] hash functions (such as MD5, SHA-256), stream ciphers (such as RC4), and block ciphers (such as DES, Triple-DES, AES) at the Crypto 2008 conference. The new method of cryptanalysis has been called a 'cube attack' and formed part of Shamir's invited presentation at Crypto 2008 — 'How to solve it: New Techniques in Algebraic Cryptanalysis.' The new attack method isn't necessarily going to work against the exact ciphers listed above, but it offers a new generic attack method that can target basically formed ciphers irrespective of the basic cipher method in use, provided that it can be described in a 'low-degree polynomial equation'... What may be the biggest outcome from this research is the range of devices in widespread use that use weaker cryptographic protection, due to power or size limitations, that are now vulnerable to a straightforward mathematical attack."