**don@allegra.UUCP (D. Mitchell)** (02/10/84)

The fellow trying to sell one-time pad systems stated that RSA has been broken. It is the general consensus that Mr. Arnold Arnold did not actually solve the factoring problem. I wouldn't go so far as to say he is a crackpot, but certainly there are hundreds of people who claim to have proven Fermat's theorem or to have trisected the angle. Of course, one must be careful. When Abel proved that there was no closed form solution to the quintic equation, many famous mathematicians refused to look at his work because so many erroneous proofs had been generated by careless amateurs. Another point I would like to make is: beware of small companies selling cryptosystems. Most of them don't seem to know what they are doing. I have seen several companies selling RSA boxes that use numbers that are much too small to be secure (one was based on a modified hand-held calculator and used only 15 digits!!!). Also, there is a history of fraud. A company in Geneva claimed to have broken DES. They refused to show how and even refused to decrypt samples of text, BUT they would sell you a "better" system.