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bulk RC4 brute forcing
Some time ago, I wrote about testing multiple plain/cipher pairs against a
key as a possible speed up for brute forcing 40 bit RC4 key cracking.
I have finally done something about it, written some code, and run tests
which I believe gives a about 6-8 times improvement over single
key/plain/cipher testing against RC4-40 encryption.
A single RC4 master "key schedule" is generated.
This is copied to an master array of 126 RC4_keys (126 chosen due to segment
Then each of 126 plain/cipher (P/C) pairs are tested for a match. Acquiring
the plain/cipher pairs in real life is another question.
If a match is found, the pair is marked 'found', and testing continues on
the remaining unfound P/C pairs.
This loops until all 126 plain/cipher/keys have been tested and found.
8 plaintext, 8 cipher bytes are used. Keys are 8 bytes, the last 5 of which
are variable (40 bits).
Test results :
A test set of data was created by incrementing a key byte, and making a P/C
Then all keys bytes are set to 0, and testing commenced.
Typically, a 486/33 with the above in 'C' code running on DOS achieves about
15000 tests per second.
One extended test ran about 480 million tests in 7.5 hours and found 68% of
the keys - approx 17,700/sec, averaging 5.6 million tests per found key.
My reasoning follows thus:
For 126 plain/cipher pairs, with "randomly" generated keys, one valid
key/plain/cipher pairs 'should' be located in 2^33 key tries (126 is approx.
15000 tests/sec across 126 P/C pairs is about 119 keys/second tested.
at 119/second, 2^33 key tests will take 835 days. This should "guarantee"
a key match is found.
The "bruterc4.c" code used by this forum earlier showed approximately 2200
key tests per second on my machine. Testing 2^40 keys at 2200/sec will take
5784 days to guarantee a key match (using 2^39, 2892 days).
This is a 6.9(3.46) ratio, that finds a single key match.
Finding all 126 keyswould should take approximately 293 years in "bulk"
mode, or 1996 years in single mode (126x5784 days).
The code is available, and will be posted here is desired (it is messy).
Ideally, faster key/plain/cipher testing could be accomplished if a larger
array of keys could be used. The Intel segment problem has prevented me for
making larger arrays - I don't know how to turn these features in my
compiler (yes - I am a beginner at coding, but the "huge" directive in
Borland C did not seem to work, and I don't know why - yet).
Tests on 31, 63 and 126 P/C pairs showed results of 10689, 13326 and 15689
tests/sec, respectively. This indicates array size has a direct relationship
I invite others who can better manipulate statistics, or better exeprienced,
to comment, refute, or otherwise contribute to this.
All mistakes in this message belong to me - you should not use them!