Learn about a common method for encrypting electronic information in this video from NOVA: Rise of the Hackers. The RSA algorithm, named for the three mathematicians that first published it (Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman), capitalizes on the fact that it is very difficult to factor very large numbers. It is easy to multiply two prime numbers; however, it is very difficult for a computer to deduce the prime factors when given a large number. Many websites secure information, such as credit card details, using large numbers as public keys because it requires an extraordinary amount of computer processing time to figure out the factors.
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