The RSA Theorem

Let p and q be distinct primes, and let e, d satisfy ed=1\pmod{(p-1)(q-1)}. Then for any m<n=pq, m^{ed}=m\pmod{n}.

For some reason, even in published works, this important cryptographic result is often only half proved. Here is a full proof.

Proof: We consider two cases: (i) m is relatively prime to both p and q (and hence relatively prime to n=pq), and (ii) m is a multiple of one of the primes, say p. We note that m can’t be a product of both primes, for then it would be greater than their product, thus violating the statement of the theorem.

(i) By definition, ed=k(p-1)(q-1)+1 for some integer k. Since (p-1)(q-1)=\phi(n), then by Euler’s theorem


(ii) Clearly

(1) m^{ed}=m\pmod{p}

since both sides are equal to 0\pmod{p}. We can also write m^{ed}=m^{k(p-1)(q-1)+1}=m.(m^{q-1})^{k(p-1)}, and since m is relatively prime to q, then by Euler’s theorem again m^{q-1}=1\pmod{q} and so

(2) m^{ed}=m\pmod{q}

By the Chinese remainder theorem, (1) and (2) together prove m^{ed}=m\pmod{n} as required. \Box

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