NEWS FROM THE LAB - Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pretty Good Key Posted by Mikko @ 22:35 GMT

I've been using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) since version 2.1.

I generated my first public/secret keypair in March 1993. Here's a screenshot of it:


As you can see, I underestimated the need for sufficient keylengths; my first key was a 384-bit RSA key.

Keylengths actually mattered in 1993 — we were running 486 processors at the time, and using long keys was slow.

However, I quite quickly realized that 384 bits wasn't going to be enough and my key would eventually became crackable as factoring technology would get better and computers would get more powerful.

So I took the plunge and created a new keypair — this time with a whopping 1024-bit keylength!

I actually spent the shortest night of the summer 1993 to do that — the midsummer night.

And the new key was long enough.

It was slow, yes — but it was long enough.

In fact, I still use it today, almost daily.

I've never needed to generate a new keypair.

Around 1994 I got Dr. Vesselin Bontchev to sign my key. Which was cool, because Vesselin's key was signed by Phil Zimmerman — the guy behind PGP.

And the midsummer night in 1993… it was the 21st of June.

Which means my key is 15 years old today.

Happy Birthday, key 0F265709. You've served well.