Keeping data safe means staying current with the latest in cryptography, and researchers say it may be time to look beyond the RC4 algorithm to secure connections based on transport layer security (TLS).
As SecurityWeek pointed out, RC4 dates back to the late 1980s, but it’s still used by an estimated 30 percent of TLS connections today. While there have been previous experiments that showed the algorithm may be susceptible to cybercriminals, in some cases they took thousands of hours to work. In contrast, the NOMORE man-in-the-middle attacks outlined by the University of Leuven researchers is not only fast, but works on real devices and could potentially be extended to other forms of data that are encrypted on a regular basis.
Although the research may sound the death knell for RC4, getting rid of it won’t happen overnight. ZDNet looked at how Mozilla, Microsoft and others have slowly been moving on to more sophisticated algorithms, but telemetry applications and simple inertia may keep thousands of websites and users hanging on despite the risks. Fortunately, there are many other — and probably better — ways to encrypt data, and hopefully news of NOMORE will prompt firms to give them a closer look.