[RC5] After what time period does information loss its sensitivity?

Tom Goulet tomg at iaw.on.ca
Fri Jun 4 15:37:50 EDT 1999


This has come up from time to time...

Firstly, there are many things that never lose it's sensitivity.

Example:  Coca-Cola's secret recipe.

Example:  Secret, private letters to your significant other.

Example:  Messages sent to or from your attorney that could possibly be
          incriminating.

And even if your information does lose its sensitivity, what's the
harm in using encryption that keeps it safely tucked away practically
forever?  (other than a few seconds lost in CPU time)

Another point is, that codes don't have a fixed lifespan.  Like a
trialware program or a credit card.  It's a lot like atomic half-lifes.
You can't say a code will stand up to 8 days of attempted cracking.  But
you could say a code has a 50% chance of being cracked after 8 days of
trying.  So saying a cipher like RC5-64 has a lifespan of a few years is
innacurate.  It gives the impression that it WILL last a few years, when
it's completely possible, though unlikely, that it might not last a
day...

Anyways, the point I want to make is, one shouldn't trust weaker
encryption as 'good enough' when 'great!' is available.

Cheers to all!

TomG

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