Is there any higher level of encryption other than 3-DES?
How much time and resources will be required for an hacker to crack into a 3-DES encrypted packet?
DES is a secret key crypto algorithm created to use 56-bit keys. 3-DES uses
DES three times with one, two or three keys, effectively giving you a larger key size,
while not changing the algorithm. DES works only with 56-bit keys. (What
about 40-bit DES, you ask? It is 56-bit DES but the key is padded
effectively giving you only 40 bits... really weak.) With crypto -- assuming
the algorithm is a good algorithm -- we are concerned with the effectiveness
of a "brute force attack" -- how long would it take for someone to guess the
key. For comparison shopping, consider a really, really fast computer -- as
yet non-existent as far as we know -- that could guess a 56-bit key in 3.5
hours. That same computer would take 2 million million million years to
guess a 128-bit key, such as IDEA and AES use.
For more information read:
Foundations: Cryptography 101
Smith, Richard, Internet Cryptography, Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 0201924803
Schneier, Bruce, Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms and Source
Code in C, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471117099.
This was first published in November 2001