[ISN] Distributed.net completes RC5-64 project - September 25, 2002

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Sep 27 2002 - 00:09:34 PDT

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    On 14-Jul-2002, a relatively characterless PIII-450 in Tokyo returned
    the winning key to the distributed.net keyservers. The key
    0x63DE7DC154F4D03 produces the plaintext output:
    The unknown message is: some things are better left unread
    Unfortunately, due to breakage in scripts (dbaker's fault, naturally)  
    on the keymaster, this successful submission was not automatically
    detected. It sat undiscovered until 12-Aug-2002. The key was
    immediately submitted to RSA Labs and was verified as the winning key.
    So, after 1,757 days and 58,747,597,657 work units tested the winning
    key was found! While it's debatable that the duration of this project
    does much to devalue the security of a 64-bit RC5 key by much, we can
    say with confidence that RC5-64 is not an appropriate algorithm to use
    for data that will still be sensitive in more than several years'
    time. On the distributed computing front, however, the RC5-64 project
    clearly demonstrates the viability of long-term, volunteer-driven,
    internet-based collaborative efforts. The next time someone bemoans
    the public's short attention span or need for instant gratification
    you should remind them what 331,252 people were able to accomplish by
    joining together and working for nearly five years. distributed.net's
    RC5-64 project clearly shows that even the most ambitious projects can
    be completed by volunteers thanks to the combined power of the
    internet and distributed computing.
    Ignoring artificially high numbers resulting from network
    difficulties, we completed 86,950,894 workunits on our best day. This
    is 0.12% of the total keyspace meaning that at our peak rate we could
    expect to exhaust the keyspace in 790 days. Our peak rate of
    270,147,024 kkeys/sec is equivalent to 32,504 800MHz Apple PowerBook
    G4 laptops or 45,998 2GHz AMD Athlon XP machines or (to use some
    rc5-56 numbers) nearly a half million Pentium Pro 200s.
    Over the course of the RC5-64 project, 331,252 individuals
    participated. We tested 15,769,938,165,961,326,592 keys.
    We apologize for the latency in the announcement, but scheduling
    conflicts with RSA Laboratories and difficulties in reaching the
    winning participant (who has asked to remain anonymous) introduced the
    additional delay to the process.
    Also, please consider joining us on SlashNET IRC on Saturday
    28-Sep-2002 @ 21:00 UTC (5:00PM EDT) for an online Q+A session on the
    RC5-64 project and the future plans for the distributed.net network.  
    Not only are we looking forward to moving on to RC5-72 but we're
    currently reshaping the framework of the dnetc architecture to better
    accommodate additional projects. We're hoping to attract some new and
    motivated partners with good ideas and a need for cycles.
    Thanks to RSA Labs for continuing to offer challenges that reward
    distributed efforts!
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