[rc5] The unknown message is...

David McNett nugget at slacker.com
Wed Oct 22 17:14:52 EDT 1997

Hash: SHA1

It is a great privilege and we are excited to announce that at 13:25 
GMT on 19-Oct-1997, we found the correct solution for RSA Labs’ RC5-
32/12/7 56-bit secret-key challenge.  Confirmed by RSA Labs, the key 
0x532B744CC20999 presented us with the plaintext message for which we 
have been searching these past 250 days.

The unknown message is: It’s time to move to a longer key length

In undeniably the largest distributed-computing effort ever, the 
Bovine RC5 Cooperative (http://www.distributed.net/), under the 
leadership of distributed.net, managed to evaluate 47% of the 
keyspace, or 34 quadrillion keys, before finding the winning key.  At 
the close of this contest our 4000 active teams were processing over 
7 billion keys each second at an aggregate computing power equivalent 
to more than 26 thousand Pentium 200’s or over 11 thousand PowerPC 
604e/200’s.  Over the course of the project, we received block 
submissions from over 500 thousand unique IP addresses.

The winning key was found by Peter Stuer <peter at dinf.vub.ac.be> with 
an Intel Pentium Pro 200 running Windows NT Workstation, working for 
the STARLab Bovine Team coordinated by Jo Hermans 
<Jo.Hermans at vub.ac.be> and centered in the Computer Science 
Department (DINF) of the Vrije Universiteit (VUB) in Brussels, 
Belgium.  (http://dinf.vub.ac.be/bovine.html/).  Jo’s only comments 
were that "$1000 will buy a lot of beer" and that he wished that the 
solution had been found by a Macintosh, the platform that represented 
the largest portion of his team’s cracking power.  Congratulations 
Peter and Jo!

Of the US$10000 prize from RSA Labs, they will receive US$1000 and 
plan to host an unforgettable party in celebration of our collective 
victory.  If you’re anywhere near Brussels, you might want to find 
out when the party will be held.  US$8000, of course, is being 
donated to Project Gutenberg (http://www.promo.net/pg/) to assist 
them in their continuing efforts in converting literature into 
electronic format for the public use.  The remaining US$1000 is being 
retained by distributed.net to assist in funding future projects.

Equally important are the thanks, accolades, and congratulations due 
to all who participated and contributed to the Bovine RC5-56 Effort!  
The thousands of teams and tens of thousands of individuals who have 
diligently tested key after key are the reason we are so successful.

The thrill of finding the key more than compensates for the sleep, 
food, and free time that we’ve sacrificed!

Special thanks go to all the coders and developers, especially Tim 
Charron, who has graciously given his time and expertise since the 
earliest days of the Bovine effort.  Thanks to all the coordinators 
and keyserver operators: Chris Chiapusio, Paul Chvostek, Peter 
Denitto, Peter Doubt, Mishari Muqbil,  Steve Sether, and Chris 
Yarnell.  Thanks to Andrew Meggs, Roderick Mann, and Kevyn Shortell 
for showing us the true power of the Macintosh and the strength of 
its users.  We’d also like to thank Dave Avery for attempting to 
bridge the gap between Bovine and the other RC5 efforts.

Once again, a heartfelt clap on the back goes out to all of us who 
have run the client.  Celebrations are in order.  I’d like to invite 
any and all to join us on the EFNet IRC network channel #rc5 for 
celebrations as we regroup and set our sights on the next task.  Now 
that we’ve proven the limitations of a 56-bit key length, let’s go 
one further and demonstrate the power of distributed computing!  We 
are, all of us, the future of computing.  Join the excitement as the 
world is forced to take notice of the power we’ve harnessed.

Moo and a good hearty laugh.

Adam L. Beberg - Client design and overall visionary
Jeff Lawson - keymaster/server network design and morale booster
David McNett - stats development and general busybody

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