Encryption 08-21-2014

Cracking SSL Encryption is Beyond Human Capacity


SSL Certificate encryption is strong, really strong. But just how strong is the encryption used in your DigiCert SSL Certificate?

SSL encryption is based on exchanging a set of totally unique keys that will be used by two entities to share secure information. In order to crack SSL encryption, you would need to guess the key being used and then use that key to reveal the coded information being shared.

Is it Really Possible to Crack SSL

Even assuming that you had the spare computing power to test the possible combinations needed to crack SSL encryption, the short answer is no.

Today's 256-bit encryption from an SSL Certificate is so secure that cracking it is totally out of reach of Mankind.

Even if you were using a fictional, Star Trek Galaxy-class isolinear computing system processing in kiloquads with a holographic storage format using nanoprocessors and quaditronic optical subprocessors linked together in an optical data network in a multi-massively multi-processing system, the energy costs of running such a system today would make cracking SSL encryption impossible.

In all seriousness, with today’s computing capacity you would need 1.84 ∗ 1055 linked machines in order to do it.

The bottom line: encryption works.

How Much Would it Cost to Crack 256-bit Encryption?

The StackExchange community took the challenge of figuring out how much it would cost to try and crack today's 256-bit SSL encryption in a year.

We'll assume that your average server uses 3741 kWh per year in electricity. The average cost of electricity in the US is roughly $0.12 per kWh ($0.08 / kWh for us here in Utah). Given the computing power available today and the massive number of computers needed for 256-bit key lengths, the costs quickly add up.

The Cost of Cracking 256-bit Encryption is Astronomical

Energy consumption from the number of machines needed would total $8 octodecillion dollars (that's 1 followed by 57 zeros). And that's just the energy costs of running the machines.

We haven't even added the costs of the machines themselves or housing all of that equipment. Putting it in global terms, the energy costs alone equal roughly 1044 (one quattuordecillion—1 followed by 45 zeros) times the GDP of the world.

SSL Encryption Is the Backbone of Internet Security

DigiCert continues to encourage administrators to make SSL encryption a top priority across their internal enterprise network. Unable to attack SSL, hackers and cyber criminals are turning instead to finding security gaps in the technology used in enterprises. The most common server vulnerabilities like Heartbleed, BEAST, BREACH, and weak ciphers allow them to bypass the strength of an SSL Certificate.

To improve online trust, organizations should always follow best practice recommendations from security industry groups such as the CA Security Council, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and the CA/Browser Forum.

Security initiatives like Always-On SSL (AOSSL) and Certificate Transparency (CT), combined with a robust SSL management system, ensures secure communications.

Secure SSL Management in the Cloud

SSL Certificate Lifecycle Management services like Certificate Inspector allow administrators to identify all certificates used in their environment along with the security configuration on servers and devices across their network.

Powerful certificate scanning features and automated SSL deployment capabilities from services like Certificate Inspector simplify managing secure communications.

SSL done right is more than just providing a certificate. DigiCert is helping build, manage, and maintain secure SSL/TLS connections in order to keep your critical information in safe hands.


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