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The Mathematics of the RSA Public-Key Cryptosystem

Excerpt: Number theory may be one of the “purest” branches of mathematics, but it has turned out
to be one of the most useful when it comes to computer security. For instance, number
theory helps to protect sensitive data such as credit card numbers when you shop online.
This is the result of some remarkable mathematics research from the 1970s that is now
being applied worldwide.
Sensitive data exchanged between a user and a Web site needs to be encrypted to prevent
it from being disclosed to or modified by unauthorized parties. The encryption must be
done in such a way that decryption is only possible with knowledge of a secret decryption
key. The decryption key should only be known by authorized parties.
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