Re: Cracking preshared keys

From: Derek (
Date: 04/24/03

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    From: "Derek" <>
    To: <>
    Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 23:30:31 -0400

    > Mitigation of this risk is to use, as long as practical, strong
    > pre-shared keys, and to change them frequently. In Cisco IOS
    > the PSK can be up to 128 characters in length. According to
    > estimates, one character carries from 1.3 to up to 4 bits of
    > This means that the password can have, at maximum, anywhere
    from 166
    > to 512 bits of entropy. The length of the PSK should be
    > by your security policy.

    Just an interesting note about the above comment.

    By generating 93 bytes of "cryptographic calibre" randomness, and
    then base64 encoding it, you will have a password that has 744
    (93*8) bits of entropy, but is 128 bytes long. If a more
    efficient encoding mechanism is used (one that uses the full
    valid character set on a cisco, which I don't know personally) a
    larger key could potentially be generated.

    If a strong key such as the one described above is used,
    according to some estimates, this will take a _very_ long time to
    brute force.


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