Founded by Anand almost two years ago, the Distributed.net RC5-64 project is Team AnandTech's first and biggest Distributed Computing project. In RC5-64, the idea is simple: use a brute-force method of checking every possible RC5-64 key on an encrypted message from RSA Labs. The task is daunting because of the staggering number of possible keys... 2^64 possibilities!
In the end, the RC5-64 Challenge will prove two things.
· First, it'll prove that RC5-64 is very secure. Because it has already defied the efforts of thousands of computers for over three years, it's obviously unlikely that any single person , or group of people, will be able to crack RC5-64 encryption using brute force, meaning that data encrypted with RC6-64 is well-protected from that type of attack.
· Second, and more important, is that it shows that public distributed computing works. With Distributed.net's RC5 being the first truly major Distributed Computing task for the Internet, its current and future success is a model for future, more-complex distributed-computing projects.
Because of RC5-64's size, it's far from done, and Team Anandtech needs your help. You help in the RC5-64 Challenge by simply having the Distributed.net client program running as a screensaver or a Taskbar icon. Using these clients, computers are assigned a certain set of keys to check. The computer compares the results of each key to the known beginning words of the message, which are, "The unknown message is:", and informs Distributed.net if you do indeed find a key that gives the known words. Then, assuming it wasn't just a partial solution, you get glory, and $1000US, and Team Anandtech will have earned $1000US to be given to a charitable organization, such as the Anand Cancer Society Group, Inc.
Currently, Team Anandtech's RC5-64 group is in a battle for first place with their arch-rivals, the Dutch Power Cows. Team Anandtech has taken first place overall in the RC5-64 Challenge, but the Dutch Power Cows are quickly overtaking Team Anandtech, and are threatening to steal the hard-won first-place position! If you would like to see Anandtech stay #1 in the RC5-64 Challenge, now is the time to get involved!