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Some news from last fall that I found interesting...
Global Effort Solves Elliptic Curve Crypto Challenge
Confirms 97-bit Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm is harder than factoring 512-bit RSA


PARIS -- 28 September 1999 -- Irish mathematician Robert Harley announced today the solution to the seventh and most difficult Certicom ECC Challenge problem so far. The solution was arrived at by 195 volunteers in 20 countries after 40 days of calculation distributed on 740 computers.

This computation, coordinated from INRIA (the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), has confirmed theoretical predictions that a 97-bit code based on elliptic curves is harder to break than a 512-bit code based on factorization such as RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman). "Our results increase confidence in the difficulty of breaking elliptic curve codes, and should be taken into account in standards for Internet security," said Mr. Harley.

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