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3DES vs. AES-256

Posted on 2004-04-16
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Last Modified: 2008-03-04
Through a firmware upgrade I now have the option of using AES-256 on my VPNs instead of 3DES with essentially the same throughput. To take advatage of this upgrade, I need to shuffle around a few firewalls. Is the security increase worth the effort? I know we're talk'n 160 billion years to crack vs. 150 trillion (or something like that) but does anyone in the know have an opinion?
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Question by:mrpez1
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5 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:lrmoore
ID: 10850341
The only underlying issues are
1) the patent on the DES encryption algorithm expired and is now free to use. It won't be too much longer before there are cracking engines
2) the US Govt has decreed AES to be the new encryption standard for use on Gov't networks

No encryption medthod will protect you any more than another unless you have the proper policies, meet proper regulations, and deploy it using industry standard best practices.

I can't think of any good value or return on investment if the change costs you any money (staff time=money), and is not mandated by some policy or regulation that your company has to abide by.


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Assisted Solution

by:Tim Holman
Tim Holman earned 300 total points
ID: 10868663
1)  There already are cracking engines...

http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Crypto/Crypto_misc/DESCracker/

2)  The record for cracking 3DES stands at 22 hours

3)  AES is designed for software encryption, whereas DES was based around hardware encryption chips (VPN accelerator boards).  So AES will work a lot faster on all boxes, rather than just those with VPN accelerator cards in.
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Author Comment

by:mrpez1
ID: 10868913
Are you sure that's not DES? 22 hours to crack 168 bits without a shortcut is pretty impressive even for the NSA.
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Accepted Solution

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lrmoore earned 450 total points
ID: 10869283
Single DES has been cracked, but according to this article, 3DES still has not:
http://kingkong.me.berkeley.edu/~kenneth/courses/sims250/des.html

Also shows some good pros/cons of 3DES vs AES
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Expert Comment

by:Tim Holman
ID: 10869734
Yup.. .make that DES, not 3DES... sorry !
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