[RC5] What If?

Robert Brooks robertb at geocities.com
Wed Mar 11 09:51:06 EST 1998


>On Tue, 10 Mar 1998 15:00:33 -0600, Jeff Hinrichs wrote:
>>Has anyone thought about the scenario where we find the RC5-64 key early?
>>Much earlier than anyone expected.

Then, At 09:26 PM 3/10/1998 -0500, Colin L. Hildinger wrote:
>Good point, Jeff.  I don't think going to RC5-72 (estimated time to
>completion 5000 years) would be hard to do if we found the RC5-64 key
>tomorrow, [...]

Perhaps we should consider making up our own challenge?  I've often
wondered what sort of strategic advantage the Allies (or the other guys)
would have had in World War II if they had been able to encrypt wartime
messages with even as simple a method as DES.  Besides, we haven't *really*
proven the worthlessness of DES until we are able to crack a message with
no known plaintext header.

The d.net management (perhaps in concert with RSA, or perhaps C|Net?) could
select a random WWII message, something now unclassified that would have
been transmitted with the tightest possible security in the '40s.  Encrypt
it with DES and see how quickly we crack the message.

There wouldn't be a monetary prize in this contest, but the historical
perspective gives us a "hook" that might spark the interest of another big
chunk of computer users with spare CPU time available.  And it also helps
us prove, with a real-world example, just how insecure DES technology is.
I'd think RSA would like to help us prove this point (again)!


--
Robert Brooks / robertb at geocities.com
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/4535/graph.html (Wallpaper Heaven!)
Part of the world's largest computer: http://www.distributed.net/
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