des-iii: in review
On December 12, 1998 RSA officially announced that they would sponsor the DES-III contest, which would start January 18, 1999 at 9am PST. To meet this challenge, distributed.net again planned on using the idle processing time of computers all over the world to test the at most 256 keys to determine the correct one.
Additionally, RSA placed strict time limits on the challenge.
- up to 24 hours to win $10,000
- up to 48 hours to win $5,000
- up to 56 hours to win $1,000
- more than 56 hours - nothing
Accomplishing this great computational task required thousands of people around the Internet to help out by running a special client program on their computers, allowing it to connect to one of our coordinating servers. When the client program ran, computers were assigned a block of work to test and determine if a solution was found. With this system, the more computers we had working together, the faster the combined effort would be. Any machine with a reliable connection to the Internet was usable for our purposes.
To make things even more interesting, distributed.net worked to allow the EFF hardware Deep Crack to participate cooperatively within the distributed.net effort. This enabled it to join its computational power with the thousands of deployed distributed.net clients that were participating via the Internet. Despite the immense power of the EFF Deep Crack, distributed.net's thousands of deployed clients still surpassed the EFF hardware by more than a factor of 2 in speed.
As it turned out, distributed.net was entirely successful in this endeavor, and DES-III ended with success on January 19, 1999 at 7am PST, yielding a solution in less than 24 hours!
If you want to find out more about this past DES contest, you may want to check out these sites:
other past des contests
The original DES-I contest was completed on 17-Jun-1997 by Rocke Verser's collaborated effort. Although distributed.net was not making any effort to work on this contest, we were busy working through the RC5-56 contest at the time.
In the second contest, the RSA DES Challenge II-1 contest, distributed.net participated officially in a coordinated effort and completed it on 23-Feb-1998! Read our winning announcements from Nugget and Duncan about the last DES-II-1 contest. Or take a look at the List Announcement of the DES-II-1 project completion.
The RSA DES-II-2 contest was won by the EFF DES Hardware Cracker on 17-Jul-1998, although distributed.net raced closely behind them in terms of actual keyrate. You can view a number of news articles relating to the EFF project completion.
The DES-III contest started January 18, 1999 at 9am PST, and was completed on January 19, 1999 at 7am PST by distributed.net in less than 24 hours. During this contest, distributed.net cooperated with the EFF DES Hardware Cracker so that its computational power could be combined with the thousands of independent computers that were also running our clients.