FPGAs in cryptanalysis: Conclusion
20 Oct 2003

From the analyses presented in Chapter 4, we can see that:

From these conclusions, we can see that in the right situations FPGAs are very useful cryptanalytic tools. Their low price and high performance allows key search attacks to be conducted at very low cost. If physical space devices is a concern, they can achieve much higher search rates per device than CPUs, even for ciphers that are designed for CPUs.

The EFF DES cracker can be reproduced now using FPGAs at a cost of about $34,000. At a price this low, DES should not be used for anything remotely secure. Government concessions to allow the export of 56 bit cryptography completely destroy the purpose of using cryptography.

FPGAs will play an increasing role in future cryptanalysis as the gap between CPU and FPGA performance for a given price widens.

Future work

Possible extensions to this work include:


[2] M. Blaze, W. Diffie, R. L. Rivest, B. Schneier, T. Shimomura, E. Thompson, and M. Wiener, “Minimal key lengths for symmetric ciphers to provide adequate commercial security,” A Report by an Ad Hoc Group of Cryptographers and Computer Scientists, January 1996. [Online]. Available: http://www.schneier.com/paper-keylength.pdf

[10] Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cracking DES. O’Reilly, 1998.

[16] I. Goldberg and D. Wagner, “Architectural considerations for cryptanalytic hardware,” CS252 Report, 1996. [Online]. Available: http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~iang/isaac/hardware/paper.ps

[66] Actel Corporation. Actel: Products & Services: Antifuse Devices: Axcelerator. [Online]. Available: http://www.actel.com/products/axcelerator/index.html

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