Brute Force

Cracking the Data Encryption Standard

  • Matt Curtin

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Pages 1-2
  3. Pages 3-10
  4. Pages 23-35
  5. Pages 37-40
  6. Pages 41-47
  7. Pages 49-55
  8. Pages 57-62
  9. Pages 63-73
  10. Pages 75-76
  11. Pages 77-84
  12. Pages 85-90
  13. Pages 91-96
  14. Pages 97-112
  15. Pages 113-119
  16. Pages 121-125
  17. Pages 127-134
  18. Pages 135-138
  19. Pages 139-140

About this book


In the 1960s, it became increasingly clear that more and more information was going to be stored on computers, not on pieces of paper. With these changes in technology and the ways it was used came a need to protect both the systems and the information. For the next ten years, encryption systems of varying strengths were developed, but none proved to be rigorous enough. In 1973, the NBS put out an open call for a new, stronger encryption system that would become the new federal standard. Several years later, IBM responded with a system called Lucifer that came to simply be known as DES (data encryption standard).

The strength of an encryption system is best measured by the attacks it is able to withstand, and because DES was the federal standard, many tried to test its limits. (It should also be noted that a number of cryptographers and computer scientists told the NSA that DES was not nearly strong enough and would be easily hacked.) Rogue hackers, usually out to steal as much information as possible, tried to break DES. A number of "white hat" hackers also tested the system and reported on their successes. Still others attacked DES because they believed it had outlived its effectiveness and was becoming increasingly vulnerable. The sum total of these efforts to use all of the possible keys to break DES over time made for a brute force attack.

In 1996, the supposedly uncrackable DES was broken. In this captivating and intriguing book, Matt Curtin charts DES’s rise and fall and chronicles the efforts of those who were determined to master it.


code cryptography data encryption encryption hacking information technology

Authors and affiliations

  • Matt Curtin
    • 1
  1. 1.Interhack CorporationUSA

Bibliographic information