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Ok, impossible might not be the right word. But "exceedingly unlikely" doesn't do it justice either...

This is a little tidbit from a paper I read a while back (its a pdf - don't know where I got it from so I can't link to it)...

If you assume:

Every person on the planet owns 10 computers.

There are 7 billion people on the planet.

Each of these computers can test 1 billion key

combinations per second.

On average, you can crack the key after testing

50 percent of the possibilities.

THEN

The earthâ€™s population can crack one

encryption key in 77,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

That is a bit more than "exceedingly unlikely"

You know there are those Bitcoin folks with buildings brimmed with graphics cards.

Think about quantum physics. It is also possible to just walk through a wall or slip through the earth, which in fact mots of us are "trying" 24/7. I know, it is a lot more likely to find a key, but the problem is people's (meaning at least mine) usually have a problem comprehending how (un)likely an event is. Just think about lotteries. People play because there is a chance, even though most of them know it is very unlikely. Walking through a wall is even free, still you be called insane if you tried, while nobody does when you take part in a lottery.

The assumption is that the computing power stays constant.

If computer speed doubles every 18 months then the problem can be solved in 0.01 seconds 300 years from now, given the same amount of processing power, relatively. This is not taking into account algorithmic improvements.

Just like today we find historic ciphers like the Caesar cipher laughably easy to crack, the future will find AES256 easy to crack.

Member since:

2005-07-12

I'm a stickler for details, especially on anything relating to numbers. A brute force attack is not

impossible, however, it is exceedingly unlikely.