Columbia crypto box

Eric Rescorla ekr at
Mon Feb 10 09:28:56 EST 2003

Pete Chown <Pete.Chown at> writes:

> Bill Stewart wrote:
> > These days nobody *has* a better cryptosystem than you do They might
> > have a cheaper one or a faster one, but for ten years the public's
> > been able to get free planet-sized-computer-proof crypto ...
> I seem to remember that the Nazis said the same thing about Enigma.
> Even when evidence began to filter back that it had been broken, they
> ignored it because they were so confident that a break was impossible.
> It's true that protocol and programming problems account for the huge
> majority of security holes.  The WEP break, though, was one notable
> exception.  They were using an established cryptosystem (RC4) with a
> planet sized key (128 bits).  However, a weakness in RC4 itself let them
> down.
This isn't 100% true.

There were known (less practical but still better than just theoretical)
attacks on RC4 as used in WEP even before the RC4 weak key work.
WEP was a bad design through and through.


[Eric Rescorla                                   ekr at]

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