The Math Behind Credit Cards: Prime Numbers

Jun 02, 2020

Did you know that each time you make a purchase online, the power of the prime numbers keep your credit card safe? Yes, prime numbers let us shop online safely.

When you want to buy your favorite shoes, the company asks your credit card information. So you want to be sure that nobody can see your information except you and the company you're sending it to. After you type out your credit card numbers and hit enter, your information has to be encrypted before it's sent over the Internet. In other words, it has to be turned into a public key.

Cryptography is essentially the study of coding and sending secret messages. If there were no prime number, there would be no Cryptography. To crack the code, a hacker would have to figure out which primes divided that number. And that's a near-impossible task, even for a computer because it's challenging to factor a given large number into primes. For example, if you want to factor 232-digit-number, it will take more than two years even you use the most powerful computers.

So we need prime numbers to keep the technology that we are using secure.