I’m a bit disappointed that no one managed to solve my homebrew encryption challenge.
I’m now offering a modest prize of $50 to the first person to solve it, and deliver the plaintext. Contest rules are in the original post.
I’m also hoping that the winner will produce a write-up of how he figured it out, but that’s not mandatory in order to win the prize money.
Fine print: I maintain sole discretion to decide who is the legitimate winner, if any, and how to transfer the money. (Probably PayPal.)
(UPDATE: THE ENCRYPTION REMAINS UNBROKEN! I’m still waiting for the first hacker to figure out the algorithm and complete the challenge.)
There is a wide consensus among security experts that when choosing an encryption algorithm, it’s much better to choose a well-known public algorithm rather than a homebrew one. I completely agree with this approach.
However, I am curious about how easy it is to break a weak, homebrew encryption algorithm. When you’re faced with a seemingly-random piece of data, a bunch of ones and zeros that you have absolutely no context for, and you are only told that it is encrypted with no clue as to how the encryption algorithm works, how would you even know where to start at decrypting it?
To shed some light on this mystery, I’ve decided to do a little experiment here on my blog.
I’m challenging you to break a homebrew encryption algorithm that I’ve written.
It’ll suck even more.
Hi. To those of you who don’t know me, I’m Israeli. I was born in Israel and lived here for my entire life.
There are many great things about living in Israel. Having to take bible lessons for 11 years of your childhood, from second grade to the very last year of high-school, is most definitely not one of them.
Yes, every child in Israel is required to take bible lessons at school for 11 freaking years. They have to do that regardless of what their religion is, regardless of whether said child comes from a secular or a religious family and regardless of what kind of school they study in. Public school, private school, urban school, suburban school, it doesn’t matter. Bible studies are a required component of the Israeli education system. IT TAKES BIBLE LESSONS OR IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN.
When I was a few years younger, I would ride buses a lot when I wanted to get from one city to another. I would also hitchhike a lot, sometimes in order to save money and sometimes because I was travelling when the buses were no longer operating.
While waiting, bored and desperate, on the side of the road, I would sometimes try to mathematically evaluate how long I have to wait before my ride comes, whether it be a bus or that sweet, blessed car that would finally make me feel more like a human being who other people care about and less like I’m a homeless person who was going to die dirty, sweaty and hungry on the side of the road.
Through some modest mathematical thinking, I found that the results were quite surprising. Let me show them to you.
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