Minimal Key Lengths for Symmetric Ciphers to Provide Adequate Commercial Security

Minimal Key Lengths for Symmetric Ciphers to Provide Adequate Commercial Security

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The use of encryption is as old as the art of communication. In times of war encryption was called 'code,' and could be employed to keep the enemy from obtaining the contents of transmissions. Simple ciphers include the substitution of letters for numbers, the rotation of letters in the alphabet, and the 'scrambling' of voice signals more complex ciphers work according to sophisticated computer readings that rearrange the data bits in digital signals. In order to easily recover the contents of an encrypted signal, the correct decryption key is required. The key undoes the work of the encryption. Alternatively, a computer can be used in an attempt to 'break' the cipher. The more complex the encryption, the more difficult it becomes to eavesdrop on the communications. Hacker's part in breaking encryption can be either simple or devastatingly advanced. With tools called hex editors (Rootshell), Hackers are able to 'decode' the encryption. The tedious task includes decompiling the executable file, thus coding the transmission. Since there are currently 72 quadrillion possible encryption keys, for each given message, the key is chosen at random from its enormous database of keys, and these servers as a problem. Hackers have to tend with the newest standard 56-bit key coding, which servers as a tedious task (that's why they call them 'hackers') since encryption is the toughest to crack, it seems to be of larger standard. Internet companies, businesses, groups, and other miscellaneous programs have turned to its protection. It serves as a safe house for critical information. Together, firewalls and encryption of files can be counted as one of the most secure ways of protecting information. Although, Hackers can and will find ways to elu...


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... Commonly used, trustworthy symmetric algorithms include the following: Data Encryption Standard (DES), which uses a key of 64 bits (actually, only 56 bits are effectively used) International Data Encryption Algorithm (IDEA), which uses a key of 128 bits Rivest Cipher 4 (RC4), which uses variable-sized keys Rivest Cipher 5 (RC5), which is actually a family of algorithms using keys up to 2,048 bits. The term "strong" in the protocol security context often has a specific meaning that is not immediately apparent, but which skirts the issue you raise. "Strong authentication" means crypto-based authentication, irrespective of the algorithm or key length employed. the reason is that crypto-based authentication protocols have the capability to be strong, e.g., by selection of appropriate algorithms and key lengths, whereas password-based protocols typically do not.

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