Re: Just an interesting cost estimate

Marc Briceno (
Wed, 28 May 1997 13:06:37 -0700

At 02:31 PM 5/28/97 -0400, wrote:
>Let's assume the average computer is able to test say
>10^6 keys/sec and burns 100 watts while running (make the
>naive assumption that the computer would be off if it wasn't
>working on this problem - the most unrealistic of my assumptions).
>Finally assume the average electrical cost is 5 cents/kilowatt*hr
>(is that anywhere near reasonable?).

>So it will cost the world $100,000 of electricity to solve
>this problem.

As you mention above, many machines would be on anyway. So the number is

I believe it is crucial that once DES is cracked, we present a united front
to those that will claim that is cost $50+ million to crack a single key.
Because this will be claimed, accounting for depreciation, electricity, if
not outright purchase of the "hundreds of thousand workstations" the
government and some media will claim it took to break this key.

It took exactly $10,000 to break this key. Which is what RSA had to put up
to get a distributed crack, which had been discussed on the Net for years,

Let us focus on this mantra "$10,000 broke DES. Do not protect anything
worth over $10,000 with DES."

As any ad agency will tell you, the best campaign gets only a short
sentence in the mind of the customer. We have a choice what this sentence
will be. Will it be "n thousand workstations took m months to break DES" or
will it be "DES broken for $10k"?

-- Marc Briceno <> Voice: 510-986-8770
SafePassage Sales Manager FAX: 510-986-8777