2

I'm often playing around with prime numbers, just for fun. Imagine, I found an algorithm by accident that factorizes numbers into their prime parts exactly as fast as multiplicating them in the first place. I know this is extremly unlikely. But imagine I did. Imagine also, that it's easy to proof having some new kind of "mathematical paradigm" I found that's valid.

Now, as far as I understand that, that would have many consequences in cryptography.

So, what to do then? Just release the information in a mathematical journal and risks many many businesses worldwide who are suddenly open to attack? Or contact the NSA?

Who would be responsible for any action? And if anyone at all, which actions will they do?

closed as off-topic by Steffen Ullrich, Tom K., forest, Teun Vink, Josef Aug 29 '18 at 8:52

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about Information security within the scope defined in the help center." – Steffen Ullrich, Tom K., Teun Vink
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    "I'm often playing around with prime numbers, just for fun. Imagine, I found an algorithm by accident that factorizes numbers into their prime parts..." - this is about as likely as finding a working cancer therapy when just playing with a chemistry kit. If you really have the knowledge to find such thing then you very likely know at least one living math expert who can verify your findings and who know more experts and who will very likely know crypto experts who then know what to do. Could we please move to real-world questions again and close this one? – Steffen Ullrich Aug 27 '18 at 4:36
  • ...risks many many businesses worldwide who are suddenly open to attack? Or contact the NSA? that seems like a false dichotomy. Publishing the information would at least give the businesses a chance to see what has happened. – J.A.K. Aug 27 '18 at 6:29
  • 2
    Without going into the probability of one finding such an alghorithm by chance.... The NSA would likely be the last organisation I would contact. – architekt Aug 27 '18 at 10:19
1

First Steps

If you're worried about your work being stolen, I'd recommend publishing the hash of your findings in a few public places to ensure that you can prove that you were the original finder of the issue. If you're just worried about the impact of your findings, you should be able to proceed with the advice below.

Then what?

I would start by contacting a mathematician to verify my findings. Obviously you'd want one you trust, such as one that teaches at a university near you. Alternatively, reach out to a well-known mathematics institute such as The Clay Mathematics Institute [1], or a well known cryptographer who may be able to ensure that your findings are legitimate.

I would then work with whoever you pick, possibly in conjunction with the IETF to figure out a repair and disclosure timeline.

[1] - no affiliation, I just know them from the Millennium Problems

  • 1
    I wouldn't start with contacting a mathematician. I would start with proving the algorithm works by factoring some of the unsolved RSA primes. The upshot would be A) proving your algorithm works without disclosing how it works and B) cashing in on some reward money. – Mr. Llama Aug 27 '18 at 15:27
  • I didn't know about those, thanks! (EDIT: Though it looks like the challenge has ended...) – JonRB Aug 27 '18 at 21:47
  • 1
    The challenges have indeed ended. However, there are a lot of ways you can get a lot of money if you find an efficient classical prime factorization algorithm. – forest Aug 29 '18 at 1:58

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.