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This FAQ text is copyright dslreports.com
Reproduction of all or part only with our permission..
This FAQ is edited by:
It was last modified on 2007-07-10 12:08:28

1 General Questions

What is it?

Distributed.net is a community effort to prove that idle time on a network of non-specialized computers can crack government sanctioned encryption standards.

The Nitty Gritty Details

The DSLR / BBR RC5 Team is participating in a Secret Key Challenge that is sponsored by RSA Laboratories ( The inventors of RC5 encryption ). Distributed.net is one of the participants in this challenge and the DSLR / BBR RC5 Team participates in the challenge through Distributed.net as the BroadBandReports.com team.

Full Details on the Secret Key Challenge can be found here.

Distributed.net's website here.

How do I join?

For an updated, detailed description of how to join this team and get crunching, see this.

That's it!

It's asking me for a user name and password, where do I get those?

Your user name is the Email address you use to submit keys.

You must request a password by going to the distrubuted.net stats page (»stats.distributed.net/projects.p···ect_id=8) and looking up your address in the 'Participant Stats' field.

I can't see my stats!

Stats start running shortly after midnight UTC. Personal stats take 3-4 hours to run, then another 3-4 for the team stats. If you just joined, you may not see your stats the right away. If you submitted your first block before midnight UTC, you should be able to look them up the following day.

What happens to my blocks if I join a team or change teams?

If you are not on a team, your new team will get all your unallocated blocks. If you switch teams, your old blocks DO NOT TRANSFER.

What good are my 50 a day?

I see people on the team crunching 1000's per day ...

It's great that some people can crunch 1000's per day for their team, but the top teams are made of thousands of people making small contributions.

What's a personal proxy? Do I need one?

The only people who need a personal proxy, are those with multiple machines cracking keys. You can configure your clients to fetch from your proxy, rather than going to the main keyservers. You proxy will then manage the blocks to make sure your clients always have keys to crunch.

1248 Days??? What's the point?

.... You lost; if it takes that long to crack what's the point?

That's very common these days. First let's note that the project is running on non-specialized machines, using idle time. If you look at the DES-III contest (n0cgi.distributed.net/statistics/des3/..) you will notice that DeepCrack, a machine built by EFF on a limited budget, was the largest contributor. What resources does a funded effort have to launch a brute force attack?

Of all of distributed.net's projects, how do I dedicate my PC to RC5?

From the Start menu, choose:
Programs -> distributed.net -> Quick Commands -> Client Configuration

Type 2 and press Enter (Buffer and Buffer Update Options)

Type 9 and press Enter (Load-work precedence)

In the New Setting--> field, Enter OGR=0,RC5-72

This will configure your client to ONLY check for RC5 keys (as opposed to OGR, DES, etc.). Once the RC5 contest is complete, you will need to reset this value in order to contribute to the next contest.

Is it legal?


This is NOT the same as cracking software for illegal use.

It is sponsored by the inventors of RC5 for the sole purpose of testing the strength of the algorithm.

Here is a snippet from the RSA Laboratories website:

The goal of the contests described here is to quantify the security offered by the government-endorsed data encryption standard (DES) and other secret-key ciphers with keys of various sizes. The information obtained from these contests is anticipated to be of value to researchers and developers alike as they estimate the strength of an algorithm or application against exhaustive key-search.

How do I get the best performance for RC5?

If you're not sure if you're getting the best performance from your RC5 client, take a few minutes to benchmark all the cores to see which one gives you the best keyrate.

If you're in the "Core Throughput" view, go to View -> Console
Right click on the Console and go to Benchmark -> RC5-72 All Cores

This will start the benchmarking process for all the cores. Look at which of the cores will give you the highest keyrate.

Then, right click on the console again, go to "Configure"
Here choose "3" for Performance Related Options
Choose "1" for Core Selection
Set RC5=-1 to the core that performed the best.

Make sure you save your settings.

What about the prizes?

RSA will distribute the following prizes

* $1000 to the winner
* $1000 to the winner's team (or to the winner if not on a team)
* $6000 to a non-profit organization chosen by all participants
* $2000 to distributed.net for building the network and supplying the code

When I first started the team, I my intent was (and still is) to donate all the prize money that is won on behalf of the team to Justin for providing us with the community. This guarantees at least 1000$ for BroadBandReports.com. In addition, I hope that if the key is found by a member of our team, that additional 1000$ is also donated to Justin. The contribution of 6000$ would be determined by a poll amongst the team members.

As of May, 2007 RSA has chosen to discontinue their support and prices for RC-5. The prizes have also been pulled. If there are any additional announcements regarding this project, I will update as necessary.

2 Download Install and Setup

Complete Guide to Getting Set UP

Here's what ya do... download the client from here

It's recommended that you choose x86/Zipped version for windows rigs, as it's not that hard to setup manually. Unzip it into a directory and run dnetc.exe. The first time you run it, it will automatically use the config switch and you'll be in the config menu. There are a few options you need to setup/change. [Mac OS X? see this]

  • First is plugging in an email address, which is under "1) General Client Options" and "1) Your email address (distributed.net ID)"
    This is how dnetc will identify you for the time being so use the same email address on each machine you install RC5 on.

  • Next step is making the client run quietly which is under "1) General Client Options" and "9) Run detached/disable all screen output? (quiet mode)" change this to "yes".

  • Then setting the client to run just RC5 which is under "2) Buffer and Buffer Update Options" and "9) Load-work precedence ==>". Change this setting to "RC5-72,OGR=0".

  • Now you can cache some blocks if you don't trust your internet connection, "2) Buffer and Buffer Update Options" and "13) Fetch time threshold (in hours)" set it to "RC5-72=72" or so, this will download enough blocks for that particular cpu to last 72 hours (or however many hours you choose).

  • Next turn logging on so you can watch how your rig is doing with "4) Logging Options" and "1) Log file type ==>" (change to a different number - try 3 (fifo). [FIFO = first in, first out]

  • Then change "4) Logging Options" and "2) File to log to ==>" to a filename (Some use rc5.log but whatever works for you) then change "4) Logging Options" and "3) Log file limit/interval ==>" to however many kilobytes you want the log to be if you are using fifo logging. Use whatever logging method you want ... just make sure you use one so you can watch how it goes.

  • Next "0) Save settings and exit" which will write the settings you've changed to dnetc.ini. Now just run the client with the install switch "dnetc -install" (if under windows) and it will set the client up as a service. Then run the client with no switches and it will start doing it's thing.

View the log file you selected to see how it's doing. If you do this soon on a fairly decent rig and let it finish one packet (about 10-15 minutes on a XP1700), view the log file to see when it's finished one packet. Then type in "dnetc -update" (to send up all finished packets and replace them with fresh ones) or "dnetc -flush" (to just send up all finished packets). Try to have one packet sent up before 8pm eastern time so that when the stats update (starts once a day, everyday at midnight UTC which is 8pm eastern) you will show up in the stats. Otherwise you'll have to wait another day.

Then after about 9pm eastern go here and type in your email address in the text box under "Participant Stats".
Click the search button and it will find you. Go to the bottom of that page and click the "email me my password" button, check the email address you used to get your password (and write it down somewhere!)

Then go to the Team's stats page and click the "I want to join this team!" link and enter your email address and password. You'll show up on the team stats after the next daily update.
Composed and posted by Liontaur