[rc5] Re: Aren't we missing the point. WAS: Getting a few more keys/se

Colin L. Hildinger colin at ionet.net
Thu Jul 24 12:58:34 EDT 1997


On Thu, 24 Jul 1997 12:43:56 -0400, Paul Leskinen wrote:

>Speaking of missing the point (and I know I'm gonna' get flamed for this
>one...),  I thought the point of the whole effort was to "prove" that
>56-bit encryption is not strong enough to be an international standard. It
>seems to me that we're kind of proving the opposite--here we have a fairly
>well-organized effort to crack the key, and it still takes 10,000 computers
>over a year (roughly) to check all the keys.  Once we have the key, what
>would we do with it?  Most systems that use encryption use a dynamic key
>exchange fairly often (no less than once a day).  If that's true, then what
>good is finding a key in a year, or even a month, if it can't be used for
>anything?

However, if you went for a hardware solution and spent a million
dollars or so you could crack keys in a short period of time.  Notice
that PPC's and X86 machines do OK at this, but they have lots of extra
junk, too.  A machine with just the necessary instructions to crack RC5
would be cheap.

>Another point worth considering is that our method works great (albeit
>slowly) if you know what you're looking for (i.e. the encrypted message),
>but what about the case where the encrypted data is just random binary
>data?  How would you know that you've found the correct key?

Most data has patterns that you can look for.  For instance, you could
search for the word "the" in text.  You could search for headers in
most types of data.  It's not that unrealistic.

>A secondary goal of this effort was to demonstrate how well
>widely-distributed processing can work for large problems like this one. As
>for that goal, I think we've already demonstrated that it's not only
>feasible, but incredibly powerful. Anyone want to invest in a CPU-time
>brokering business?

OK, doing what?  That's the problem, isn't it?  The only thing I've
thought about is a render farm or a CFD program.  Now, if someone wants
to go in on the CFD thing, we could probably make a lot of money from
Boeing/Lockheed/NASA.  <G>  I could probably do the project for a LOT
of grad credits in Aero Engineering.


Colin L. Hildinger
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