[an error occurred while processing this directive] Ready, Set, Crack!
This applet is designed to give you a rough idea of how your computer stacks up to the feat of codebreaking. Eventually, the output you get should contain a percentile and a box of times for cracking.
The way this works is quite crude, but for the most part the results are relatively accurate. Basically, the Java applet performs one million comparisons of large integers. It times how long that takes. Then based on your computer's computational speed, it computes how long it would take you to crack encryption keys of various length. (Cracking is decrypted data without the "password" used to encrypt it)
That's not to say you should use these values for any scientific purpose. There are a lot of factors affecting the results, such as the version of Netscape or Internet Explorer you are using, how busy your computer is, etc. Use the results relatively, not absolutely.
A key's (or password's) strength is determined by how long it is. A two-bit key has 4 possible combinations. A five-bit key has 32 possible combinations. Thus, the amount of time required to crack goes up exponentially with the number of bits. You can observe this by noticing how quickly the cracking times go up as the key size doubles.
To put things into comparison, 40-bit keys are what are used in the insecure versions of Netscape and IE4. 128-bit keys are used in the secure versions. By looking at the times, you should realize just how much more secure "secure" is. A PGP key, used to sign mail, is often 1024 bits. It is virtually impossible to guess the right one.
For reference, one "google" is one followed by 100 zeros.
Applet created by Team 28005 for exclusive use on this site.