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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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