Bovine RC5 Challenge -- A group of Macintosh users is participating in the 56-bit key RC5 version of the RSA Data Security Secret-Key Contests, an effort to break 56-bit RC5 encryption. Among other cracking efforts is the Bovine RC5 Project, a volunteer effort that uses spare CPU cycles to test all possible keys. To participate, Mac users can download the free client program and leave it running on Internet-connected Power Macs (it's way too slow on 68K Macs); to join as part of Guy Kawasaki's EvangeList team, enter <firstname.lastname@example.org> as the required email address. The EvangeList team has hit the top spot for number of keys checked in the last few 24-hour periods, but with only six percent of the possible keys checked, there could be much more work to do.
The $10,000 prize money will be split between the Bovine organizers ($1,000), the team ($1,000), and Project Gutenberg ($8,000), the long-standing project to make literature freely available on the Internet. Without addressing the complexity surrounding the encryption issue, if a Mac ends up being the machine to find the secret key, and if Macs check more keys than any other type of computer, it can only result in positive press for Apple and the Macintosh. It's an easy and positive way to participate in the Macintosh community. [ACE]