Irish teen develops Fast Encryption

A 16-year-old Irish student has developed an encryption algorithm that she claims is much faster than the widely used RSA cryptography system from RSA Data Security.

As the grand-prize winner of Ireland's 1999 Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition -- a program started in 1965 aimed at supporting young people's interest in science -- Sarah Flannery said her new protocol is as secure and as robust as RSA. The 16-year old's winning project was entitled "Cryptography - A New Algorithm Versus the RSA".

Flannery compared and contrasted her method of coding messages and information with RSA's method, she said on a Web site about the project. Using mathematical analysis, her conclusion is that both her system and RSA's are equally secure, but hers is up to 10 times faster than RSA.

Since winning the contest, the teenager from Blarney, Cork County, has been inundated with calls from companies interested in offering her jobs and universities promising scholarships, according to several reports. "We haven't been able to peel two potatoes in this household," her mother Elaine told TV network CNN.

While Flannery's work was lauded by the judges at the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition as patentable, she prefers to work further on the project and possibly to publish it for free on the Internet, she told CNN.

Flannery was not available for comment but more information about her and the Young Scientist program can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.clearinfo.ie/ys/.

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