Crack The Government's Encryption
(Don't worry, it's legal)
What are you talking about Mike?
|From the RSA webpage:
"It is widely agreed that 56-bit keys, such as those offered by the government's DES standard, offer marginal protection against a committed adversary. By inertia as much as anything else, however, DES is still used for many applications. Theoretical studies have been performed showing that it is possible to build for a modest sum a specialized computer "DES cracker" that could crack keys in mere hours by exhaustive search. However, no one is known to have built such a machine in the private sector, and it is generally unknown whether or not one has been built by any government, either.
"The successful factorizations achieved as part of the RSA Factoring Challenge (launched by RSA Data Security, Inc. in 1991) show that for some types of problems, it is possible to recruit spare cycles on a large number of machines distributed around the Internet. Therefore, by offering a suitable incentive, it might well be possible to recruit sufficient computational power across the Internet to exhaustively search the DES keyspace (or the keyspace of a cipher with a comparable keysize) in a matter of weeks."
What does that have to do with me?
|A non-profit organization, Distributed.Net, has devised a system to organize computers
attached to the internet to assist in cracking the encryption code (you do not
have to be permanently attached). The system works by sequentially
assigning blocks of keys to check to each participant. They already have thousands
of computers world-wide working on the same problem!
So what can I do?
|You download a "cracking" client that knows how to talk to the
coordinating server and your client runs on your machine all the time (unless you turn it
off). The "cracking" client is very nice and runs at a very low priority
on your computer, so you should never notice a slowdown. Basically,
when you aren't doing anything on your computer, it is working at cracking the encryption.
The clients are set up to work on many different operating systems. You could also use your computer(s) at work if it is connected to the internet. Note: You may need to know information about your firewall.
A prize is given for crackng the encryption!
|Suffice it to say that team Skydive! around the world
will receive $2000 if we get the key! This money will be donated to the USPA Airport
Activity Defense fund (sorry to our friends across the sea). If you have suggestions
for another charity, then I will be very glad to entertain any suggestions. A
skydiving charity would be best, I think.
More information about the prize money allocation is here. All told, $10,000 is given away.
OK, I want to sign up!
|That's great! You will need to take several steps
in order to join team Skydive! around the world.
You have just joined the largest computer in the world! And hopefully Skydivers will win!