[RC5] FW: More on the DES II contest. (fwd)

David McNett nugget at slacker.com
Tue Jan 13 09:22:11 EST 1998


Petr Trei wrote:
> I too would like to see a serious effort made at a 512 bit
> RSA key. However, the infrastructure for this is quite a 
> bit more complex than a simple bruteforce against a 
> symmetric key, and the organizers of d.n don't seem to be
> ready for it.

This is a fair statement.  Any projects whose formats signifigantly
deviate from the RC5/DES model will basically have to wait until V3
is a reality.

> My greatest fear with DES II is that if d.n finds the key
> early in the search, they may decide to sit on it until 
> just before the 540 hour deadline. If they are the only
> group with a credible chance of finding the key (as far as
> I know, this is the case), then their payback is maximized
> by by this tactic, since the time limits for the June
> contest are determined by the speed with which the key is
> found in January.
> 
> My personal impression is that d.n seems more motivated
> by the money, which they want to further their research
> on distributed computing, than they are by ideology.

Now, Peter, this isn't fair.
First and foremost, it's always been a given that a bulk of
the DES-II monies will be given to charity, just as we did for
RC5-56.  This reduces, somewhat, its effect as a motivating factor
for us.  Secondly, you and I spoke on the telephone last week and
I expressed my sincere hope that DES-II would fall before you were
to speak this Friday at the RSA conference.  I think we both understand
the impact that would have and the positive spin you'd be able to use
in your presentation.  Not a single person within the distributed.net
DES key once it's identified.  The sooner DES-II falls, the better.
If we find the key today, you'll know about it today, guaranteed.

Our sights are aimed at a number of targets, one of which is the RSA-155.
There is no chance that we would intentionally sabotage our performance
in the DES-II challenge for a minor gain in subsequent DES challenges when
there are so many other opportunities for us outside of the DES Challenge
Series.  

-David McNett
 nugget at slacker.com
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