I guess that many of you are familiar with the RC5-64 project. After quite some time (about 4 years) the race was won by some Asian guy… I happened a couple of months ago, but it was just recently discovered. Read the entire story below…
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.
So… now you all are finished with supporting the CD Freaks RC5 team (for more info, look
here) it’s time to devote your CPU power to another nice project: the THINK project. Some of you might not now that we do have a team called “United burners against cancer”. If you like to join, or just want more info, please visit this thread and help us fighting cancer!