Amiga Format 104 (on sale Oct 29th 1997)

Crack Amiga RC5 team moves up

Thomas Tavoly's effort to get the Amiga really well-known in cryptography circles is progressing apace. You may remember that last month we detailed the effort to crack the 56-bit encryption scheme that the US government believes is sufficient for secure commercial internet traffic. Well, the Amiga team, directed by Thomas has jumped from its position at number 149 in the list of teams competing in last month's news to ninth place as I write this.

The best thing is anyone with an internet connection, or even anyone who knows someone with an internet connection, can take part. It really doesn't matter how fast or slow your machine is, every key cracked counts. I know that some of you are scratching your heads and wondering about the legality of the effort (especially when you hear words like 'cracking' or 'breaking encryption'), but the whole thing is a completely legit competition. It has been set up by RSA Laboratories - the US government sponsored company responsible for the competition which consists of a block of text which has been encrypted and preceded with the 24-character phrase "The unknown message is: ". The idea is that using spare CPU cycles on computers around the world, the encrypted text can be subjected to decryption by brute force, by trying every one of the 72 quadrillion (to be precise, 2^56 or 72,057,594,037,927,936) combinations until the text is resolved.

The Amiga client takes very little CPU time or memory and will happily run in the background while you get on with your normal everyday work. You can find it and more details about the competition and the Amiga's part in it at the Amiga RC5 teams homepage at:

Join now and help put the Amiga in the forefront of computing again.

Ben Vost           T: (+44) 01225 732337
Deputy Editor      F: (+44) 01225 732341
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