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New crypto technique beats current standard

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A new cryptographic technique developed by NEC is set to be unveiled during the Encryption and Information Security Symposium in Japan this week. Called Cipherunicorn-A, the technique creates a number of false keys in addition to the true encryption key, making it more difficult for potential intruders to crack. The approach should increase security while remaining compliant with the Data Encryption Standard (DES) introduced by the US Department of Commerce, a company spokesperson told The Register. The technique is based on a dynamic encryption code capable of using key lengths of 128 bits, 192 bits and 256 bits, making it more difficult to discover both the encryption key and the target data. A potential intruder might spend a couple of frustrating days cracking the wrong key, and then have to begin again. The current DES standard uses an encryption key which could be cracked within a day, the company notes. Cipherunicorn-A conforms to the DES standard, but increases it's effectiveness by adding layers of complexity to frustrate potential crackers. The technology is aimed at corporate users and numerous devices, and the company expects to satisfy the new US crypto export regulations without difficulty. Future applications will include modem, fax, and mobile phone encryption. NEC has no immediate plans to use the technique for retail crypto applications such as PGP, the company said. ®

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