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Ciphers Interview Questions

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RC2 is a variable key-size block cipher designed by Rivest for RSA Data Security. "RC" stands for "Ron's Code" or "Rivest's Cipher." It is faster than DES and is designed as a "drop-in" replacement for DES. It can be made more secure or less secure than DES against exhaustive key search by using appropriate key sizes. It has a block size of 64 bits and is about two to three times faster than DES in software. The algorithm is confidential and proprietary to RSA Data Security. RC2 can be used in the same modes as DES. 

RC5 is a fast block cipher designed by Rivest for RSA Data Security. It is a parameterized algorithm with a variable block size, a variable key size, and a variable number of rounds. The block size can be 32, 64, or 128 bits long. The number of rounds can range from 0 to 255. The key can range from 0 bits to 2048 bits in size. Such built-in variability provides flexibility in levels of security and efficiency.

There are three routines in RC5: key expansion, encryption , and decryption. In the key-expansion routine, the user-provided secret key is expanded to fill a key table whose size depends on the number of rounds. The key table is then used in both encryption and decryption. The encryption routine consists of three primitive operations: addition, bitwise exclusive-or, and rotation. The exceptional simplicity of RC5 makes it easy to implement and analyze. Indeed, like RSA, RC5 can be written on the "back of the envelope" (except for key expansion). 

IDEA (International Data Encryption Algorithm) is the second version of a block cipher designed and presented by Lai and Massey. It is a 64-bit iterative block cipher with a 128-bit key and eight rounds. While the cipher is not Feistel, decryption is carried out in the same manner as encryption once the decryption subkeys have been calculated from the encryption subkeys. The cipher structure was designed to be easily implemented in both software and hardware, and the security of IDEA relies on the use of three incompatible types of arithmetic operations on 16-bit words. The speed of IDEA in software is similar to that of DES. 

No, DES is not a group. This issue was settled only after many years of speculation and circumstantial evidence and this result seems to imply that techniques such as triple encryption do in fact increase the security of DES. 

The DES algorithm derives sixteen 48-bit subkeys, for use in each of the 16 rounds, from the 56-bit secret key supplied by the user. It is interesting to consider the effect of using a 768-bit key (divided into 16 48-bit subkeys) in place of the 16 related 48-bit keys that are generated by the key schedule in the DES algorithm. 

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