[RC5] Theme Cow for rc5 (HERD!!!!)

Dan Retzlaff dan at wcug.wwu.edu
Sat Nov 22 17:11:39 EST 1997


Can't we prove the ineptness of the current encryption standards through
statistics? Practically speaking, when would 10,000 computer users band
together to crack an RC5 encrypted message? A few days ago somebody
suggested a sci-fi story requiring that everybody band together like
that to ward off alien invasion. Barring the $10,000 check, testing the
feasibility of such an escape from alien invasion seems to me about the
most practical application of this specific distributed computing effort
(RC5-64).

Simply put, in the real world, useful codes wouldn't be broken by
coalitions of thousands of hackers. Either they're broken by an
individual learning how to exploit a weakness, or they're broken by
corporations / governments with the money to spend on
brute-force-specific code breaking technologies. Consequently, I'd
assert that the best message about the inadequecy of current encryption
standards is found in statistics like those provided at this location
which somebody previously posted:

    http://www.bsa.org/policy/encryption/cryptographers.html

Not that it wouldn't be badass to also be able to say, "Plus, this
encrption method was broken using idle time on a bunch of computers,"
but the relevence of this fact isn't nearly as substantial as the
relevence of the aforementioned statistics.

It's the greater scheme of distributed computing technology to which my
interest is directed, and I encourage others to share my focus. While
these ingenious hacks of distributed computing may to some simply appear
to be a means to an end in the case of encryption standards, I see them
as harbingers of a new *set* of tools, whose applications are as
innumerable as the applications of the wheel. Both were no doubt
originally invented with a single purpose in mind (say, moving some big
frickin' sand block for a pyramid), but their applications later become
so numerous that they are integrated into the fundamental fabric of
applied technology.

I do apologize if that sounded like it was delivered from atop a
soapbox. The focus of RC5-64 is undeniably one of personal opinion. But
as is the case with personal opinions, some opinions just feel more
justified than others. :)


Seth Dillingham wrote:
>
> The truest definition of the reason for this effort MUST include the RC5
> challenge itself. This was started as a way to prove that stronger
> encryption is necessary. It's ballooned (only begun to, really) beyond
> that, of course, and will someday soon be more than we imagined.
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