Skip to content

Ergo Sum

Personal tools
You are here: Home » Brute Force: Cracking the Data Encryption Standard

Brute Force: Cracking the Data Encryption Standard

Document Actions
Internet resources related to the crack of a message encrypted with the Data Encryption Standard.

Brute Force Brute Force: Cracking the Data Encryption Standard is the story of how the global standard for data encryption was broken by a group of hobbyists, cryptographers, and civil libertarians in 1997, even as Congress debated whether to relax or to increase restrictions on the use of cryptography by American companies and private citizens. Written by Matt Curtin, one of the project's coordinators, Brute Force tells what happened behind the scenes in the first-ever public break of a DES message, an event that changed the use of cryptography online forever.

...a compelling and wide-ranging narrative. You’ll go inside one of the world’s seminal distributed computing projects (both its technology and its “sociology”). You’ll revisit the frontiers of the Internet, at the unique historical moment when it was being transformed into a global phenomenon. You’ll travel into the realms of politics and national security. And, along the way, you’ll learn more than a little crypto (which has rarely been explained this painlessly).
--Bill Camarda, from the May 2005 Read Only
The book is worthy in showing some of the personalities involved in this struggle...It puts flesh on what are otherwise often just journal papers describing breakthroughs, but which often give little information about what it takes in people to discover or invent such things.
--W Boudville
An engaging read for anyone into technology.
--Rob Slade

New as of 20 September 2005!
John Gilmore has a recording of Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman arguing the need for a larger key in the data encryption standard and has made it available online. (The recording is a big MP3 file. We would like very much to get a transcript made. See John's page for details.)

The DESCHALL Project has a Web site, largely as it was when I ran the site as "DESCHALL at Megasoft" during the project in January-June 1997. We have a variety of publications available there, as well as the mailing list archives.

Errata for Brute Force will be collected and published here. If you see something, please feel free to email it to me or to post it as a response here. Thank you!

I would love to hear from others who participated in the DESCHALL project. Please feel free to post your thoughts and experience with DESCHALL here.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2005-09-20 09:59 PM
In Print

This site conforms to the following standards: