Friday, January 10, 2003

Xbox Challenge On Again

A couple of days ago, Mike Curry and the NEO Project stated they were no longer participating in the challenge to crack the Xbox due to "legal reasons" - but today their web site says they have a new client and the challenge is back on.

Via CNet: "The Neo Project is a group of computing enthusiasts devoted to cracking security challenges using distributed computing techniques, in which heavy-duty computing tasks are divvied up among a number of PCs. The group's initial software release focused on a $10,000 challenge from computer security firm RSA Security to crack a 576-bit encryption code."

But the Xbox uses a 2048-bit encryption key - and that will be really hard to crack, even if it is theoretically possible to derive the private key from the public key. Via New Scientist: "Brian Gladman, an independent cryptography expert based in the UK, says the length of the key means there is an incredibly slim chance of finding it via brute force computing. According to RSA company, it would take a million Pentium 500MHz computers 100 billion years to run through all the possible solutions of a 1640-bit key. A 2048 bit key would be exponentially harder to crack. Andrew Huang, a computer consultant who carried out a detailed analysis of Xbox security while studying at MIT in June 2002, agrees that the odds of succeeding would be extremely small. "It's highly unlikely a 2048-bit RSA key will be guessed," he said. "I seem to remember factors greater than the age of the Universe, even taking into account Moore's law."

Go get 'em guys!

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