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Breaking DES Using a Molecular Computer

Report ID:
April 1995
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Recently Adleman has shown that a small traveling salesman problem can
be solved by molecular operations. In this paper we show how the same
principles can be applied to breaking the Data Encryption Standard
(DES). Our method is based on an encoding technique presented in
Lipton. We describe in detail a library of operations which are useful
when working with a molecular computer. We estimate that given one
arbitrary (plain-text, cipher-text) pair, one can recover the DES key
in about 4 months of work. Furthermore, if one is given cipher-text,
but the plain text is only known to be one of several candidates then
it is still possible to recover the key in about 4 months of
work. Finally, under chosen cipher-text attack it is possible to
recover the DES key in one day using some preprocessing.

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