applied cryptography - protocols, algorithms, and source code in c

Time and cost estimates for brute force attack

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Unformatted text preview: | About Us | Privacy | Ad Info | Home Use of this site is subject to certain Terms & Conditions, Copyright © 1996-2000 EarthWeb Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of EarthWeb is prohibited. Read EarthWeb's privacy statement. To access the contents, click the chapter and section titles. Applied Cryptography, Second Edition: Protocols, Algorthms, and Source Code in C (cloth) Go! Keyword Brief Full Advanced Search Search Tips (Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) Author(s): Bruce Schneier ISBN: 0471128457 Publication Date: 01/01/96 Search this book: Go! Previous Table of Contents Next ----------- Part II Cryptographic Techniques Chapter 7 Key Length 7.1 Symmetric Key Length The security of a symmetric cryptosystem is a function of two things: the strength of the algorithm and the length of the key. The former is more important, but the latter is easier to demonstrate. Assume that the strength of the algorithm is perfect. This is extremely difficult to achieve in practice, but easy enough for this example. By perfect, I mean that there is no better way to break the cryptosystem other than trying every possible key in a brute-force attack. To launch this attack, a cryptanalyst needs a small amount of ciphertext and the corresponding plaintext; a brute-force attack is a known-plaintext attack. For a block cipher, the cryptanalyst would need a block of ciphertext and corresponding plaintext: generally 64 bits. Getting this plaintext and ciphertext is easier than you might imagine. A cryptanalyst might get a copy of a plaintext message by some means and intercept the corresponding ciphertext. He may know something about the format of the ciphertext: For example, it is a WordPerfect file, it has a standard electronic-mail message header, it is a UNIX directory file, it is a TIFF image, or it is a standard record in a customer database. All of these formats have some predefined bytes. The cryp...
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