- Paperback: 266 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (July 11, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565925203
- ISBN-13: 978-1565925205
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,656,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cracking DES: Secrets of Encryption Research, Wiretap Politics & Chip Design 1st Edition
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About the Author
The Electronic Frontier Foundation was founded in July of 1990 to ensure that the principles embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are protected as new communications technologies emerge. To this end, the EFF: Sponsors cases such as the CDA, Steve Jackson Games, and Bernstein v. Department of State and NSA cases, in which users' online civil liberties have been violated. Additionally, EFF submits amicus briefs and finds pro bono counsel when possible for important legal cases. We continue to monitor the online community for legal actions that merit EFF support. Works to ensure that communications carriers do not deny service to network users solely on the basis of the content of their messages and that carriers do not bear undue liability for harm stemming from the content of messages where that harm is actually caused by users. Produces legal white papers informing BBS operators, telephone companies, and public utility commissions about the civil liberties implications of their actions. We monitor legislation and agency actions affecting the online community. We also work with EFF members and groups of members on state and local levels to affect change in local legislation. Provides a free telephone hotline for members of the online community who have questions regarding their legal rights. Speaks to law enforcement organizations, state attorney bar associations, conferences and summits, and university classes on the work that we do and how these groups can get involved.
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(this is a generic rough recollection...) The other book told the tale of how DES was weak and computer scientists everywhere wanted the government to enhance the encryption standard since most sensitive personal data was using a key they believed was too easy to crack. Sure enough, individuals, universities, and silicon valley companies banded together to crack the DES encryption standard, not a small feat and resulted in enhanced encryption standards.
SO.... this book has pages and pages of CODE that one can copy and run to turn your machine into a code breaker. It includes a section about the history of DES encryption, but is really more for the graduate student looking into the history of code breaking.
This is something that had been suspected for some time. The original Lucifer encrypt that it had been based on had been designed by IBM with a 64-bit keyspace (quite large for the late 70s), but had been reduced to 56 bits, reducing the number of possible keys by two orders of magnitude. It was widely suspected that this was due to the NSA's desire that there not be a standard in the public domain that they couldn't crack; indeed, DES was slowly obsoleted over the years by ciphers like RSA and PGP. In 1997, it was announced that the EFF had created, using an array of custom chips, a relatively inexpensive system that was capable of a brute-force attack on DES, and came to the conclusion that such systems were probably already in the posession of not only the NSA (the largest purchaser of computing power in the world) but also numerous corporate and governmental entities that could afford to pay substantially less than the EFF paid for a technology that was likely not only available on the QT but quite mature.
This book comes with everything needed to build a DES cracker -- operational notes, history, and even the VHDL code needed to build the custom chips and C code to control the chip array. This makes it of interest not only to cryptography researchers (who probably consider this book old news after seven years) but to those learning about hardware and embedded systems development; the extensive listings make for good study material.
It's a worthwhile book to buy for anyone interested in privacy and cryptography concerns, though for the layperson Simon Singh's Code Book is probably a more general introduction to the issues involved.
The authors have done a tremendous service to the entire population of the World by exposing the vulnerability of the DES algorithm. The DES algorithm is the formula for encrypting your bank account and keeping other secrets safe.
DES has become unless and the authors have taken more than a little risk to inform you including absolute, undeniable proof in the form of "showing you how", down to the last detail.
The books not only gives detailed plans and references but also the correct current political motivation behind the desire to retain the DES and how it affects you.
Details of how government "politicking" of your civil rights and how those rights are being "watered down" for the benefit of the intelligence community is explained, too.
I don't personally plan on spending $200,000 or so to build a "engine for cracking DES", but I do believe that the money spent for this book was one of the better investments I have made. The books contents have been placed into the public domain by the authors. Tell a friend.