Pico Computing recently announced a single hardware accelerated server that can process 280 billion DES decryptions per second, permitting the full 56-bit key space to be searched in 3 days. This is apparently a new record, and the announcement is a prelude to a presentation at the upcoming Black Hat DC 2010 conference in Virginia.
The effort was lead by David Hulton, Pico Computing Staff Engineer, who was previously involved in an abandoned effort to create rainbow tables to break GSM encryption. The latest effort focuses on understanding how FPGAs can be used to produce computations that are power efficient and scalable. In a companion Pico white paper, the impact of scalable FPGA clusters on password breaking is considered. A dedicated FPGA cluster with 77 nodes can recover an WPA key in 11 seconds, representing an improvement of almost a factor of a thousand over the same time required by a standard dual core processor.