Breaking DES using a molecular computer

Authors: D. Boneh, C. Dunworth, and R. Lipton

Adleman showed that a small traveling salesman problem can be solved by molecular operations. In this paper we show how the same principles can be applied to breaking the Data Encryption Standard (DES). We describe in detail a library of operations which are useful when working with a DNA computer. We estimate that given one arbitrary (plain-text, cipher-text) pair, one can recover the DES key in about 4 months of work. Furthermore, we show that under chosen plain-text attack it is possible to recover the DES key in one day using some preprocessing. Our method can be generalized to break any cryptosystem which uses keys of length less than 64 bits.

In Proceedings of DIMACS workshop on DNA computing, 1995. published by the AMS

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