Stupid Encryption question

Hi,
   Not specifically a win98 question, more one from the cryptologically baffled...
   If your using one of the popular encryption programs found on the web, such as pgp, the docs usually mention that you can have a certain password length. For instance, suppose you had the pgp passphrase, "cat", is that a passphrase length of three?, or because each character consists of 8 bits, a passphrase of (8 x 3 =24)
24?
   Usually in these crypto programs docs they say how many
"bits" they support. Are they literally talking about bits, or just about how many characters (like I'm typing now) the password/passphrase can contain?
   
thunder44Asked:
Who is Participating?
 
pbessmanCommented:
For more information please go to this site.  You should find your answers there.  I will show you the door, you must open it............ http://www.stack.nl/~galactus/remailers/passphrase-faq.html

In case you don't get there befoer someone else copies the info from the site I will paste it here.

The rule of thumb is that you use one character per bit of key needed. You really get about 1.2 bits per English text character [1c] for key usage. Modifying the key size means 128 / 1.2 = 106.667 or 107 letters of text are needed. This assumes normal English structure, only lower case letters and spaces for the passphrase and for the calculation purposes, all spaces are ignored in the passphrase [1a]. Few of us are willing to type out a line and a half of text every time we use PGP though. This is where security fails and we use weak passphrases.
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NavidCommented:
Are you talking about "Encryption passwords" or "Encryption docs and E-mails"?
Usually if it is about passwords, they talk about only how many characters.
But in docs and E-mails, they will inform you about how many "bites" encrypt text you can send or save.
You said:
"......each character consists of 8 bits......"
Not always true. Depends on which encrypt program you use and what language you have.
If we assume that each character is 8 bites, then you can count like:
(8 x 3 =24) right..
Do not forget to add spaces and other used characters.
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SysExpertCommented:
Actually most programs are discussing how many bits of encryption they do.

If your password is shorter than the encryption length, they simply repeat it, until the proper length is achieved.

I hope this helps !
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thunder44Author Commented:
  Thanks to pbessman, for refering me to a source that seems to make sense "one character for bit of key needed". Thanks to Navid, but I appreciate a reference. Thanks to SysExpert as well.
   Post an answer pbessman and collect your points.
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dluediCommented:
you just have to click on "Accept comment as answer" just above pbessman's comment! Then he'll get the points!!
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thunder44Author Commented:
Thanks dluedi !
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gonzal13RetiredCommented:
Microsoft has a n ecryption program that attaches to MSWord and is "forbidded to be exported out of the US" which is kind of impossible to do.
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Computer101Commented:
Hello all,
I am Computer101, a moderator from Experts-Exchange and also an expert within this topic area. This question has been open a long time.  What I am going to do is allow feedback from the questioner and experts.  If it is not resolved, I will delete or accept an answer based on the info I have been given, Experts, feel free to offer input.  I will monitor these questions for a period of 5-7 days and come back and evaluate.  I will have another moderator (who is also an expert in this topic area) look at the question also to ensure we do the right thing for this question.

Thank you
Computer101
Community Support Moderator
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pbessmanCommented:
Looks like they never came back.

From: thunder44  Date: 06/08/2001 10:20PM PST  
  Thanks to pbessman, for refering me to a source that seems to make sense "one character for bit of
key needed". Thanks to Navid, but I appreciate a reference. Thanks to SysExpert as well.
  Post an answer pbessman and collect your points.  
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Computer101Commented:
Question awarded to pbessman.

Thank you
Computer101
Community Support Moderator
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