*Interim Report-Team 085-AiS Super Computer Challenge-Encrypting Messages*
"Protecting Messages from Meddlers"AiS
Team Number: 085
School Name: Socorro High School
Area of Science: Data Communications Security
Project Title: Protecting Messages from Meddlers
Whenever we send an e-mail or text an instant message to someone, we take it for granted that it will arrive unexposed and unaccessed until it reaches its designated destination. We tolerate or ignore the fact that there are thousands of hackers sitting at computers just like ours, if not better, waiting to intercept any precious information they can lay fingers on. Now that we are in the Information Age, sending any form of data via a computer (using private or public networks) is very crucial to many things, including the economy, national security, and businesses. Computer security is an extremely big industry today, technically keeping the country running smoothly. Without it, anyone with a computer could easily crash the stock market and recreate the Great Depression. In attempting this project, our group is going to investigate the workings and concepts that generate encryption programs.
The goal of this project is to create a simple, efficient encryption program using C, that will allow messages to go un deciphered over a public network. It will include the private and public keys.It also will allow the cipher to be changed periodically and allow the message to stay undecripted if intercepted.
The language for this program would be C, compiled by the program SegWin on a Window's operating system. It would be able to accept data and text and cipher it. It would also accept its own ciphered message and decipher it.The ciphering technique would be a base of substitution ciphering and the cipher for that would then be shift ciphered. The public key would be in synchronization with the private one and both could be changed by just changing one.
Progress to Date:
Presently, 2 encryption programs have been created, 1 that shift ciphers and 1 that substitutes. A shift cipher takes a recorded value and adds it to the letter. When the message you are sending is 'I am here' and the recorded value is 3, then the program would add 3 to each letter in the message, making the message 'L dp khuh'. Through mathematical calculations, we found out that it takes less than 1 second to hack and decode the shift cipher, because there is only 26 possibilities to go through. The shift cipher has much more possibilities. The value the letters are changed to are chosen randomly by the sender. The total possibilities of what each letter stands for is 26n!, which is 403291461126605635584000000. Each possibility is 1 Hz, so at the rate of processing of a fairly new computer, it would take 12 billion years (rounded down) to get all the possibilities. We are currently in the process of combining the two ciphers and making a synchronization program and are planning to adapt them so they can run on a supercomputer.
After programming, testing, and refining of the encryption system being created in this project, we expect to have a very powerfull, yet very simple and efficient encryption program. Since most programs like this that are used today are very complicated and require special programs and trained personal to run and operate, this program has the potential and capability to supersede them and become the most widely used to help people lead safer and more secure lives.
Team Members: Omar Soliman, Thor Johnson, Justin Green, and Antonio Carrejo
Sponsoring Teacher: Peggy Mitchusson
"Computer Security." Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft Corporation, 2001.
Soliman, Hamdy. Personal Interview. 10 Dec. 2004.
Omarri, Mohammed. Personal Interview. 11 Dec. 2004.
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Feather, C.D.W. Introduction to C 12 Dec. 2004 <http://www.lysator.liu.se/c/schildt.html>