In RSA private key generation

e*d ≡ 1 mod φ

e is public, also n is public. How to prove mathematically, generation of private key d is not possible using the same equation and public key e

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Obtaining the private key from the public key is not impossible, just computationally intractable. $\endgroup$
    – S.L. Barth
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 16:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ why do you need to prove this? Is this a homework question? $\endgroup$
    – schroeder
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ Now that I reread your question, I have no idea what you are asking. Are you asking how to prove that generation of $d$ given only $e$ and $N$ is not possible? Or are you asking how to prove that it is not possible to generate $d$ using the equation $ed\equiv 1\bmod{\phi}$ (where presumably you are given $\phi$ since it is part of the equation)? $\endgroup$
    – mikeazo
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ logically or mathematically want to prove it is impossible $\endgroup$
    – Bruce
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ Prove what is impossible? Are you given $e$ and $N$ or $e$ and $\phi$? $\endgroup$
    – mikeazo
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 21:44

2 Answers 2


It isn't impossible. Otherwise, we wouldn't have to keep increasing key sizes of our RSA keys, see this for the history.

As stated in a comment, it is believed to be computationally hard. Though, even that has never been proven.


To solve this equation you must know:

  • the factorisation of the public modulus $n=p \times q$,
  • either:
  • the value of the Euler totient $\phi(n)=(p-1)\times (q-1)=n-(p+q)+1$

There are no other alternatives to solve this equation. This is linked by the structure of the ring $\mathbb{Z}_n \equiv \mathbb{F}_p \times \mathbb{F}_q$, which represents the intractability of the factorization problem.


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