Columbia crypto box

Trei, Peter ptrei at
Tue Feb 11 10:25:57 EST 2003

> Arnold G. Reinhold[SMTP:reinhold at] wrote:
> It's worth remembering that the original WEP used 40 bit keys. For 
> some time, RC4 with 40 bit keys was the only crypto system that could 
> be exported without a license.  It's hard for me to believe that 
> export concerns were not the primary factor in the initial choice of 
> RC4.
> Arnold Reinhold
If I recall correctly (dee3: Can you help?) WEP is actually derived
from the encryption system used in the Apple Mobile Messaging 
System, a PCMCIA paging card made for the Newton in the mid-90s.
This used 40 bit RC4.

Though only a few years have passed, it's difficult to remember now
what an encumberance the ITAR export regulations were. Essentially,
there was a (very short) list of ciphers and modes you could export.
40-bit RC4 was relatively easy to export. Anything better,or anything
which had not been already approved by the NSA, faced a bureaucratic
nightmare and huge delays if it was approved at all.

Peter Trei


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