[RC5] DES Encryption

Greg Wooledge wooledge at kellnet.com
Fri Sep 25 22:44:10 EDT 1998

Etienne Demers-Martel (edm at chez.com) wrote:

> Would you send emails / data encrypted by a program that uses DES 1 or 2 ?

There's only one DES algorithm.  "DES II" and other terms with numbers
in them simply refer to the contests sponsored by RSA Labs.

As for whether I'd consider using it -- it depends on the secrecy of the
data being ecrypted.  For instance, the message I'm writing now won't be
encrypted at all.  There aren't any secrets in it that I believe should
be protected, so I don't feel a need for any privacy.  (Not to mention
the fact that the whole mailing list would have to somehow be given the
DES key, unless they all had DES-cracking hardware....)

In a situation where the information in the message requires privacy,
the value of the "secret" must be weighed against the knowledge that
an attacker could recover the data in a few days if they have several
thousand dollars to spend on a DES-cracking system.

In general, I'd use PGP, because it's both more secure and more widely
available for use within mail systems.  Also, DES is a single-key
encryption system, rather than a public-key system like PGP is.
Public-key systems are more suited to communications between groups of
people who never actually meet.

"Daddy, why do those people have to    |   Greg Wooledge
  use Microsoft Windows?"              |   wooledge at kellnet.com
"Don't stare, son; it's not polite."   |   http://www.kellnet.com/wooledge/

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