It took only 148 days, not hundreds of thousands of years, for security researchers in Japan to crack the 923-bit key to a next-generation encryption protocol.
Not that it was easy. The team from Fujitsu, Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and Kyushu University ran advanced cryptanalysis techniques running on 21 PCs running a total of 252 processing cores
in parallel to crack a document encrypted using pairing-based cryptography (PBC).
Unlike public-key cryptography, on which most current cryptographic schemes are based, pairing based cryptography doesn't rely on a single string of numbers or key-issuance authority for its encryption.
Instead it uses two groups of numbers that generate a third set when run through any of a series of formulae.
The encryption "key" comes from running values from each of the first two groups though a formula that delivers a result found in the third group
, then removing one of the two original groups of numbers.