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Re: 80 bit security from 40 bit exportable products

baldwin writes:
>         Long ago vendors should have put encryption into network layer
> products, but for a variety of reasons that effort was delayed or
> discouraged.  One effect of this lack is that almost every layer of
> the network stack is adding its own encryption.  For example, the
> HTTP session layer added S-HTTP and the TCP transport layer added
> SSL.  Soon we will have network layer encryption with IPsec.
>         The vendors for each layer can export a product that uses
> ciphers with 40 bit keys.  A user can then combine multiple
> products to get more than 40 bits worth of security.  For example,
> a web client might fetch an S-HTTP page over an SSL protected link
> via a firewall that supports IPsec tunnels.  That's three 40 bit
> keys protecting the data over the internet link (of course, this
> may not be equivalent to a 120 bit cipher, that depends on the
> details of the cipher systems and independence of the key setups).
> Interesting possibilities.
>                 --Bob Baldwin

Even if you assume complete independence of key setup, if a successful
decryption at each layer can be independently detected and verified
(which seems likely in your example), there're only about 3 * (2 ^ 40)
total operations in the worst case, NOT 2 ^ (3 * 40) operations needed
to expose the plaintext.  This is an effective 41.5 bits, not 120.

-- Jeff