Unformatted text preview: it key. By the time the DES became a standard, that was reduced to a 56-bit key. Many cryptographers argued for the longer key. Their arguments centered on the possibility of a brute-force attack (see Section 7.1). In 1976 and 1977, Diffie and Hellman argued that a special-purpose DES-cracking parallel computer could recover the key in a day and cost $20 million. In 1981, Diffie upped this to a two-day search time and a cost of $50 million . Diffie and Hellman argued then that this was out of reach for everybody except organizations like the NSA, but that by 1990 DES would be totally insecure . Hellman  presented another argument against the small key size: By trading memory space for time, it would be possible to speed up the searching process. He suggested the possibility of computing and storing 256 possible results of encrypting a single plaintext block under every possible key. Then, to break an unknown key, all that would be required would be for the cryptanalyst to insert the plaintext block into the encryption stream, recover the resulting ciphertext, and look the key up. Hellman pegged the cost of this cracking machine at $5 million. Arguments for and against the existence of a DES-cracker lurking in some government basement somewhere have continued. Several people pointed out that the mean time between failures for the DES chips would never be high enough to ensure that the machine would work. This objection was shown to be superfluous in . Others suggested ways to speed the process even further and to reduce the effects of chip failures. Meanwhile, hardware implementations of DES slowly approached the million-encryptions-per-second requirement of Diffie and Hellman’s special-purpose machine. In 1984 DES chips capable of performing 256,000 encryptions per second had been produced [533,534]. By 1987 chips performing 512,000 encryptions per second were being developed, and a version capable of checking over a million keys per second was feasible...
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- Fall '10
- Cryptography, Bruce Schneier, Applied Cryptography, EarthWeb, Search Search Tips