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Active Distributed Computing Projects - Cryptography

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Project Information Project % Complete Major Supported Platforms
distributed.net RC5 Help distributed.net's RC5 project crack data encryption schemes (legally). distributed.net, which began in 1997, was the first well-known public distributed computing project and the RC5 project (specifically the RC5-32/12/7 (56-bit) project) was its first project. The RC5 project uses a brute-force search technique to find an encryption key, testing each possible key until it finds one which successfully decrypts a test message.

The project completed its RC5-64 project on September 25, 2002 (it found the winning key on July 14, 2002, after 1,757 days). The key was found with the work of 331,252 volunteers (and after 15,268,315,356,922,380,288 keys (82.8% of the keyspace) were tested). The RC5-72 project began on December 3, 2002 and is still active.

See the project's download page for the latest version of the client, and the project's pre-release page for versions which are available for testing before they become official versions.

See a log of an IRC discussion forum with some of the project coordinators which took place on September 28, 2002. They discussed the results of the RC5-64 project and future directions for distributed.net.

Use the RC5 key-rate calculator to see approximately what RC5 key-rate your CPU will produce. The calculator was created by CalicoJak in January, 2003, and was last updated on February 22, 2006.

0.669% in 2,513 days


Windows 32

The M4 message breaking project is attempting to break 3 encrypted signals (messages) which were intercepted in the North Atlantic in 1942 and which are believed to be unbroken. These signals were presented by Ralph Erskine in a letter to the journal Cryptologia in December, 1995. The signals were presumably enciphered with the four rotor Enigma M4 cipher machine. The project broke one of the signals on February 20, 2006, and hopes to break the other two within one month with enough participation. The project expects to crack each cipher with 1 to 10 walks through the Enigma keyspace. See the project's latest results.

The project cracked its first message on February 20, 2006. It cracked its second message on March 7, 2006.

On May 27, 2008, the project attempted to decode the Scharnhorst message and succeeded the next day.

The project uses "a mixture of brute force and a hill climbing algorithm" to crack each cipher. The Enigma keyspace is too large for a brute force approach. The hill climbing algorithm tries to optimize the plugboard settings (which form a very large part of the keyspace) by changing the settings one step at a time and evaluating each step by determining how closely the deciphered plaintext matches the statistics of natural language. The scoring function uses Sinkov Statistics. The software client uses a Python script to download a workunit containing a range of 26^4 keys. It then uses a C program to test each key in the range, and then returns the best or most-fit result to the project server.

See the M4 wiki for notes on running the client interactively, for running it on Mac OSX and Solaris, for running the client behind a firewall, and for many other useful tips. Note that there is no way to specify a user ID or to see your individual statistics. The client supports checkpointing, so it will restart at the point you stopped it the next time you run it. The latest version of the client is available for all supported platforms as of March 29. This version "avoids duplicate scrambler testing and has the ability to download new dictionaries. It also uses different naval dictionaries. Participants are encouraged to upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible.

Join a mailing list about this project.

ongoing dialup-friendly

Windows 32

Free Rainbow Tables Free Rainbow Tables is generating Rainbow Tables to use for breaking hashes. The project's software client is based on Zhu Shuanglei's Project Rainbow Crack. Results from the project are compiled into complete tables, which are then submitted to freerainbowtables.com where they are available for free to anyone.

To participate in the project, download the DistrRTgen software client from the project website and run it. Free registration is required (only a username and password, no other information is collected). Version 3.26 of the GUI client is available for Windows as of June 9, 2008. Note that you need to have Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed to run the Windows client.

Join a discussion forum

189,120 cracked hashes;
234,008 uncracked hashes
Windows 32
SHA-1 Collision Search Graz is attempting to find collisions for the SHA-1 encryption algorithm, a popular algorithm which is used in many software applications such as email and secure web browsing." SHA-1 is a hashing algorithm which produces a string of letters and numbers (a "fingerprint") for a given text input. The project implements a dedicated attack, which "tries to exploit the inner working of the hash function" to find two different inputs which generate the same fingerprint. See about the project.

The project uses a BOINC-based client. See the BOINC platform information for the latest version of the BOINC client. The project runs the "SHA-1 Collision Search Graz" application within BOINC. Version 5.27 of the application is available for Windows and Linux as of August 8, 2007.

Join a discussion forum about this project.

301,144,737 credits dialup-friendly

Windows 32

Enigma@Home is a BOINC-based wrapper for the M4 message breaking project.

The project decrypted KEJNQ on May 6, 2010. The message is one of 22 previously unbroken German Army messages.

The project uses a BOINC-based client. See the BOINC platform information for the latest version of the BOINC client. Version 5.17 of the project's Enigma 0.76 application is available for Windows as of September 11, 2007. Version 5.20 of the application is available for Linux as of September 25, 2007. Version 5.22 of the project's Enigma 0.76b application is available for Windows and Linux as of August 24, 2008.

Join a discussion forum about this project.

170,274,729 credits dialup-friendly

Windows 32

RSA Lattice Siever (2.0) is cracking encrypted 512-bit Operating System signing keys for Texas Instruments' programmable calculators. Discovering these keys allows owners of these calculators to have complete control over the calculators and to install new operating systems on them. This project was created after an individual cracked the OS key for the TI-83+, mentioned here and here. The project is sieving TI-68k keys (keyti89, keyti89t, keyti92p, keyv200), TI-Z80 keys ("01", "02", "03", "08", "0A", "0101" and "0102") and k0A keys in order to discover keys for Texas Instruments' other programmable calculators. 11 keys remain to be discovered as of August 16, 2009.

The project uses a BOINC-based client. See the BOINC platform information for the latest version of the BOINC client. Version 1.07 of the project's GNFS Lattice Siever application is available for Windows and Linux as of August 13, 2009.

Join a discussion forum about this project.

unknown credits dialup-friendly

Windows 32

A5/1 Security Project is decrypting the A5/1 algorithm used in GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) to demonstrate the insecurity of the algorithm. Over 80% of the world's mobile phone market, used by 3 billion people in 200 countries, uses this encryption algorithm. If the project is successful, its results "will allow anyone with some RF equipment, patience, and a $500 laptop, the ability to decode GSM-based conversations and data transmissions." This project is a variation of one started by The Hackers Choice in early 2008. This project uses "more common hardware to generate the tables, namely graphics cards with GPGPU capability and attempt to build a distributed infrastructure of nodes where each node donates both a small portion of diskspace for a part of the table and some kind of fast hardware for the generation of and lookup in its own table."

To participate in the project, follow the instruction on the project's main page to download and compile the client application's source code and to get unique table parameters to process.

Subscribe to the project's mailing list.

ongoing Windows 32
gi john is "grid implemented john the ripper," a platform-independent, open source distributed password cracker. It cracks DES, MD5, Blowfish, and MySQL passwords. Project members can submit password hashes for the project to crack, and other project members earn points for cracking partial keyspaces for hashes. Members who earn enough points can use their points to "buy" a higher priority for hashes they want cracked faster. See more information about the project in its FAQ.

To participate in the project, download the pre-compiled Windows client or the source code and compile a client for your platform, then run the client according the instructions on the project website.

ongoing Windows 32
DNETC@HOME RC5 DNETC@HOME RC5 is a BOINC-based wrapper for distributed.net's RC5 project for computers with GPUs (i.e. graphics cards) supported by the distributed.net RC5 client application. Note that you must have one of the supported GPUs or you will not receive any work units through this project.

The project uses a BOINC-based client. See the BOINC platform information for the latest version of the BOINC client. See the project's applications page for the latest versions of its client applications.

Join a discussion forum about DNETC@HOME.

2,104,950,881 credits for all DNETC@HOME projects as of May 6, 2010 dialup-friendly

Windows 32

The following icons may appear in the Supported Platforms section of the table:
dialup-friendlythis project is good for users with dialup Internet access
paid projectthis is a for-pay project
Windows 32this project runs on the Windows 32-bit platform
Linuxthis project runs on the Linux platform
MacOSthis project runs on the Mac OS platform
Solaristhis project runs on the Solaris platform