As one of the great highlights of the RSA Conference is the cryptographer's panel with the great experts of modern public key cryptography: Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman of Diffie-Hellman fame (discrete log crypto) and Ron Rivest and Adi Shamir of RSA fame (crypto based on the integer factorization problem -- used in SSL).
This is a rough draft post that will be cleaned up later, but contains the last part of the discussion:
Question from Burt: Where would you put your research effort?
Diffie: I'd put research into genetics - We'll see the first child made from two women, showing that men are an expensive and unnecessary thing to have around.
Hellman: We need to become more rational in our approach to security
Diffie: I'm optimistic about this subject. People are going to get along just fine -- cyber security is very important. The most important thing in the 20th century is client server computing. By putting important information onto a single computer, it's possible to control access. -- Something's going to happen that we don't expect, from younger people
Hellman: Don't be afraid to tackle problems
Rivest: (countering Diffie): There is a lot of cryto still to be discovered. We're still at the early stages of tying worst-case complexity to best-case complexity -- how to run crypto protocols in parallel so that they don't interfere -- we need the secure platform -- next problem is user interfaces
Shamir: It's about subtlety behind the schenes --- multiple lines of defense -- most of the basic elements are there. But we haven't reached nirvana -- we need to develop tools and techniques -- a GPS for data, need the ability to located where your data is. Use 160-bit sha-1 summary to help locate this data. This could help the information management problem
Burt: 1024-bit RSA -- how much longer before the publicly announced factorization
Shamir - next year
Hellman - I was at Certicom -- Elliptic curves have been rock-solid since inception
Rivest - Use Moores law - There are low-probability algorithms that are hard to predict
Burt -2010 is the transition to 2048 bit keys
These guests will be in the crypto commons for more discussion.