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When we speak about 4096- or 2048-bit RSA keys, what part of the key is this number of bits? The public key comprises both the modulus and the public exponent, and the strength of the key can also be seen as depending on the length of the prime factors. Which of these is the "4096-bit" part?


marked as duplicate by otus, Henrick Hellström, e-sushi Nov 19 '15 at 12:03

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  • $\begingroup$ The modulus.${}$ $\endgroup$ – yyyyyyy Nov 19 '15 at 0:36

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_%28cryptosystem%29

Under Key Generation:

Compute n = pq. n is used as the modulus for both the public and private keys. Its length, usually expressed in bits, is the key length.

  • $\begingroup$ More specifically, since in is the modulus, the system can represent no output larger than that modulus (this being the entire point of it's existence.) $\endgroup$ – P Holder Nov 19 '15 at 0:45

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