Re: Key size overkill - PGP

This is a discussion on Re: Key size overkill - PGP ; "Gamma3000" writes: >I've been doing some calculations (yes - I know I'm sad). >By my figuring, even if you were able to get hold of 100 Terahertz of >processing power, and each clock cycle was able to try a possibility ...

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Thread: Re: Key size overkill

  1. Re: Key size overkill

    "Gamma3000" writes:

    >I've been doing some calculations (yes - I know I'm sad).


    >By my figuring, even if you were able to get hold of 100 Terahertz of
    >processing power, and each clock cycle was able to try a possibility on PGP
    >encryption, 128 bits would hold out for over 10^16 years. Is it just me, or
    >is the 2048 bit key that PGP recommends a bit overkill?


    >Calculations:
    >2^128 = 3.423*10^38 - number of encryption possibilities for 128 bit
    >encryption


    Presumably the 128 bits is for symmetric keys, and the 2048 bits is
    for public/private keys. A direct comparison of key sizes is
    unreasonable, due to the differences in methodologies and
    constraints.

    While any random 128 bits can be used as a symmetric key, most 2048
    bit strings would not be usable as an rsa key (to take one example).


  2. Re: Key size overkill

    On Sat, 19 Jul 2003 18:33:12 +0100
    "Gamma3000" wrote:

    > "Neil W Rickert" wrote in message
    > news:bfbic2$jgu$2@husk.cso.niu.edu...
    > > "Gamma3000" writes:
    > >
    > > >I've been doing some calculations (yes - I know I'm sad).

    > >
    > > >By my figuring, even if you were able to get hold of 100 Terahertz
    > > >of processing power, and each clock cycle was able to try a
    > > >possibility on

    > PGP
    > > >encryption, 128 bits would hold out for over 10^16 years. Is it
    > > >just me,

    > or
    > > >is the 2048 bit key that PGP recommends a bit overkill?

    > >
    > > >Calculations:
    > > >2^128 = 3.423*10^38 - number of encryption possibilities for 128
    > > >bit encryption

    > >
    > > Presumably the 128 bits is for symmetric keys, and the 2048 bits is
    > > for public/private keys. A direct comparison of key sizes is
    > > unreasonable, due to the differences in methodologies and
    > > constraints.
    > >
    > > While any random 128 bits can be used as a symmetric key, most 2048
    > > bit strings would not be usable as an rsa key (to take one example).

    >
    > I figured that there was something in it like this, but I'm not sure
    > what the difference actually is.
    >
    > I think I'll go trawling the FAQs again...


    The difference is that factoring a public key lets you calculate the
    private key. It's easier to factor a key than to try all possible keys
    with the same length. Thus, the public/private pairs need to be larger
    than a symmetric key for the same security.

    --Alex

  3. Re: Key size overkill

    "Gamma3000" wrote in message
    news:3f198023@shknews01...
    > "Neil W Rickert" wrote in message
    > news:bfbic2$jgu$2@husk.cso.niu.edu...
    > > "Gamma3000" writes:
    > >
    > > >I've been doing some calculations (yes - I know I'm sad).

    > >
    > > >By my figuring, even if you were able to get hold of 100 Terahertz of
    > > >processing power, and each clock cycle was able to try a possibility on

    > PGP
    > > >encryption, 128 bits would hold out for over 10^16 years. Is it just

    me,
    > or
    > > >is the 2048 bit key that PGP recommends a bit overkill?

    > >
    > > >Calculations:
    > > >2^128 = 3.423*10^38 - number of encryption possibilities for 128 bit
    > > >encryption

    > >
    > > Presumably the 128 bits is for symmetric keys, and the 2048 bits is
    > > for public/private keys. A direct comparison of key sizes is
    > > unreasonable, due to the differences in methodologies and
    > > constraints.
    > >
    > > While any random 128 bits can be used as a symmetric key, most 2048
    > > bit strings would not be usable as an rsa key (to take one example).

    >
    > I figured that there was something in it like this, but I'm not sure what
    > the difference actually is.
    >
    > I think I'll go trawling the FAQs again...


    Got it. Symmetric and Asymmetric keys aren't equal. 128 bit symmetric
    encryption is about as easy to brute force as 2304 bit asymmetric
    encryption.

    - PGP Attack FAQ


    -----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
    Version 3.12
    GU d-(--) s+:- a--- C++(++++) !U W++(+++) N+(++) o K? w+(--) ?O
    M>++ V? PS+ PE-@ Y+(++) PGP++ t+(*) 5 X R(+) tv(-) b+(+++)
    DI++++ D G e(*) h!>--- r++ z+>+++
    ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------



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