[rc5] Some thoughts on finding the key

James Mastros root at jennifer-unix.dyn.ml.org
Thu Oct 23 17:09:59 EDT 1997

On Wed, 22 Oct 1997, David McNett wrote:
> 19-Oct-1997 13:25 - Key 0x0x532B744CC20999 is submitted to the distributed
>                     net servers as a possible solution.  This packet is
>                     automatically loged to a SUCCESSES log file on the
>                     stats server as a part of the stats processing
> 20-Oct-1997 13:00 - I notice the success report in the logfile and track
>                     down Tim Charron to test it fully.  Note: at this point,
>                     we still do not know if the solution will test out, nor
>                     is this the first possible solution to appear.
I notice that there is a full day's delay here.  Why not have it mail you a
message "We Got Da Key!" when a possible success is logged?  

> 20-Oct-1997 14:15 - I email the key address to Tim and cross my
> fingers.
> 20-Oct-1997 18:14 - Tim is the first person in the world to read the
>                     unencrypted plaintext.  He emails me the solution
>                     text.

BTW - Except for the couple of people at RSA who wrote the cryptotext and
encrpted it, lo these many moons ago.

Moreover, why not forward it to a few machines to test (a few so that if you
get a bad NPU then you don't get a false positive (or worse, false

> I'll be the first to admit that the mailing list has traditionally been
> the least-effective way of communicating with the distributed.net
> organizers.  This has certainly been a weakness of ours.  The sheer
> volume of mail that most of us receive means that mailing list traffic
> is typically the first thing to be ignored when the work to time ratio
> goes critical.  Perhaps we need to find someone to be official list
> moderator (much as we now have an official "help line" volunteer) to
> maintain a constant presence on the mailing lists.  (volunteers
> anyone?)

Perhaps a representitive of the d.n/bovine officials, but certianly not a
moderator.  I don't like moderated discussions, as tangents are oft the most
interesting thing on this list. <G>  Then somthing amasing like this comes

> Although the lag was at the request of RSA Labs, the "false alarm" was the
> result of an RSA Labs employee jumping the gun and posting the
> announcment to their website.  As I understand it, the announcement was
> only there for a matter of minutes and yet at least two observant
> distributed.net participants spotted it and alerted the list (I, for
> one, am quite impressed!  We certainly were NOT going to miss the key
> with people like this on our team!)

Bad RSA, BAD!  BTW - Dosn't the client notify the user when it finds the
key?  I would certainly want it to.  (I'm burning my CPU for bovine, I want
to be the very first to know when MY machine is going to get $1k mailed to it.

> As for whether or not distributed.net should get your future cycles, I
> am probably not the best one to speak on that.  Suffice to say that if
> your future plans involve either SETI or GIMPS (Mersenne Primes) then
> there is no conflict of loyalties.  Both of those are slated to be
> official distributed.net projects in the very near future.  All of
> which, of course, depends on Duncan and the V3 protocol spec, which he
> will be explaining very soon (posibly this evening)
Very cool.  Very cool indeed.

> Hopefully this will dispell any suspicions you may have about the
> sequence of events surrounding our incredible victory.  There was most
> certainly no under-handedness involved.
> -David McNett
>  nugget at slacker.com

		   Current Bovine Rate: ~5894.11 mkeys/sec
	       If Keys were dollars, we could pay off the U.S.
		       National Debt in 14.70 minutes.
     -=- http://rc5stats.distributed.net/statbar.html (Tue Oct 21 1997)

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