back to article Diffie, Hellman scoop $1m Turing Award for key work on crypto keys

The Association for Computing Machinery used the RSA 2016 conference to announce the winners of its annual Turing Award: encryption wizards Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. "Naturally I'm thrilled by this by this award, but thrilled for cryptography," Diffie said. "It's the third time the Turing award has been given to …

  1. Paul Renault

    It's about freakin' time.

    Well deserved! Hear, hear.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    first public-key cryptography system

    I think you mean first public public-key cryptography system.

    Yes, well deserved.

  4. cbars Bronze badge


    How very apt, given the current climate.

    Well done boffins. Thank you for doing that, we're all better off.

    To science!

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    Er, what?

    Wasn't Diffie Hellman cracked?

    As an historic recognition, this is great and well deserved. As a current recognition, this is absurd.

    1. brainbone

      Re: Er, what?

      Weak use and poor implementations of Diffie Hellman can be cracked -- not Diffie Hellman in its entirety.

      Diffie Hellman is still in very wide use. Like every time you access an HTTPS resource.

    2. Adam 1

      Re: Er, what?

      Cracked is too strong a verb. It has a particular weakness where a lot of the effort that is needed to compute it can be shared across groups of keys. If you have TLA level resources you can precompute the common keys then attack the final stage in a practical timeframe. Use 2048 bit or higher or ECDH and you are safe (as far as we know of course), but it is reasonable to assume that the TLAs can get to things below 1024 bit.


    3. Naselus

      Re: Er, what?

      Diffie-Hellman refers to the technique used in PKI infrastructure; you can't really crack Diffie Hellman itself as such. You can crack a 4-bit key version of Diffie-Hellman easily... but having done so you wouldn't have cracked a 1024-bit key version.

      A current recognition is very much deserved, since I guarantee that a lot of the technologies involved in allowing you to write the post you just made are using Diffie-Hellman. Including, for example, the web certificate infrastructure that allows your PC to trust any other computer it wants to communicate with.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So he gets an award for inventing encryption but the people that implement the technology are supporting the terrorists... e.g. "Silicon Valley".

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  8. butigy
    Big Brother

    Erm... didn't GCHQ get there years earlier?

    1. Cynical Observer
      Big Brother

      As Francis Urquhart would say...

      You might well think so! I couldn't possibly comment

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Erm... didn't GCHQ get there years earlier?

      Apparently, but for some unfathomable reason they didn't publish.

    3. ricardian

      James Ellis was the chap with the first idea, see

  9. Mark 65

    Hellman said – adding that the pair owed a huge debt to Ralph Merkle, his former graduate student who played a huge, and mostly unrecognized, role in developing public key encryption

    So, are they giving him a cut of the money or not?

    1. ThreadGuy

      Nah, he'd only blow it all on freezing his brain

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Merkle received the 1996 ACM Award for the Invention of Public Key Cryptography, nice to see The Association for Computing Machinery is catching up.

    A very interesting guy.

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