Where did Trust_ go?

Tony L. Svanstrom tony at moon.pp.se
Thu Apr 8 07:39:57 CEST 1999

Peole often get confused about this "longer keys are better, but not if
they're too long"-argument. The fact is that longer keys are harder to
crack but at the same time a shorter uncrackable key is just as secure as a
longer one.

If you are using software that "only" handles 1024 bit RSA then you might
feel as if it isn't safe simply because you see people using 2048 bit keys
(or even 4096 bit long keys) but your key would be much stronger than what
anyone can crack today. It is true that it might be possible to crack such
keys in 10 years or, let's become paranoid for a sec, in as few years as 5;
but you have to ask yourself if the data that you're trying to hide is so
sensitive that people will hand on to your encrypted messages just to crack
them when and if they ever can.
When I say that it might be possible to crack such keys in 10 years then I
don't mean that any kid with the lastest PPC/Pentium will be able to do
it, it'd take very expensive hardware specially designed for such tasks.

AND... if you really were to get paranoid then you might think that the
"problem" on which most cryptography is based might not be a problem for
secret agencyies and such, or that that knowledge will be publicly
available not too far into the future.

I know that I for one would feel very safe using a 1024 bit key.

	/Tony L. Svanstrom.com

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