[ISN] RSA conducts crypto-cracking contest

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue Dec 22 1998 - 18:09:07 PST

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    RSA conducts crypto-cracking contest
    By Tim Clark
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    December 22, 1998, 11:30 a.m. PT
    Crypto firm RSA Data Security next month will launch its third annual
    crypto-busting contest, designed to illustrate that U.S. encryption export
    rules are ridiculous. 
    As usual, this year's RSA contest will pay cash to the first person to
    crack a message encrypted with a Data Encryption Standard (DES) 56-bit
    key. But unless the 1999 winner beats a 56-hour record set in July,
    there's no cash prize. The faster the code is broken, the bigger the
    prize, up to $10,000. 
    "It's a reminder to developers that are using DES that they need to
    switch," said Burt Kaliski, chief scientist at RSA Laboratories, RSA's
    research arm. "It's not something that happened last summer and then goes
    away. The contest can keep it on the forefront of people's planning." 
    NSA, a subsidiary of Security Dynamics sells stronger algorithms. 
    DES is a 20-year-old protocol created for the U.S.  government that has
    emerged as a standard for single-key encryption, widely used in government
    and the financial services industry. It uses a single mathematical formula
    to encrypt and decrypt data. A related standard, Triple DES, uses three
    DES cryptographic keys, providing far stronger encryption. 
    RSA's patented public-key, private-key cryptographic algorithms are
    different and much stronger, requiring one key to scramble data and
    another unscramble it. RSA President Jim Bidzos has been an outspoken
    critic of U.S. export controls. 
    The original DES Challenge was held January 1997, the secret key was
    discovered in 96 days. In February 1998, the challenge took 41 days, but
    in July a DES message was cracked in 56 hours by the Electronic Frontier
    Foundation (EFF), using a network of standard PCs that cost around
    The DES Challenge III will be launched at 9 a.m. PT January 18 on RSA's
    home page, coinciding with the annual RSA conference in San Jose. RSA is
    offering $10,000 to the first entrant to break the code within 24 hours,
    $5,000 if recovering the key takes
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