RSA Laboratories

3.1.9 Is the RSA cryptosystem currently in use?

The RSA system is currently used in a wide variety of products, platforms, and industries around the world. It is found in many commercial software products and is planned to be in many more. The RSA algorithm is built into current operating systems by Microsoft, Apple, Sun, and Novell. In hardware, the RSA algorithm can be found in secure telephones, on Ethernet network cards, and on smart cards. In addition, the algorithm is incorporated into all of the major protocols for secure Internet communications, including S/MIME (see Question 5.1.1), SSL (see Question 5.1.2), and S/WAN (see Question 5.1.3). It is also used internally in many institutions, including branches of the U.S. government, major corporations, national laboratories, and universities.

At the time of this publication, technology using the RSA algorithm is licensed by over 700 companies. The estimated installed base of RSA BSAFE encryption technologies is around 500 million. The majority of these implementations include use of the RSA algorithm, making it by far the most widely used public-key cryptosystem in the world.

This figure is expected to grow rapidly as the Internet and the World Wide Web expand. For a list of RSA algorithm licensees, see

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