Re: What does this all mean?

C. Mason (lmason@istar.ca)
Sat, 17 May 1997 16:26:43 -0400


At 02:34 PM 5/17/97 -0500, Louis C. LaCour, Jr. wrote:

...

>5. Finally, not to be a cynic, since I support the effort, but one could
>argue that an encryption key which requires an effort of this scale to
>crack is, by definition, pretty damn secure; i.e. hope the project isn't in
>itself self-defeating.
>

This is a large effort, which is taking a fair amount of time, but a couple
things should be considered.

First of all, the cpu power being used consists mostly of spare cpu cycles
donated by people's home or work pc's. This could be easily matched by
a special dedicated machine worth a couple mil.

Also, when you consider the current rate of key-checking (about a
percentage point every 3 days!), and how fast it is increasing, it is
likely that a second key could be cracked in a fraction of the time were
people to continue after the first. In fact the time frame may even be
reduced to under a month.

Keep in mind that the 48-bit crack took 2 weeks. After a month they would
only have cracked 49 not 56.

And of course, if we can do it in a month, don't tell me there aren't
corporations and governments out there that could do it in under an
hour.

Chris