DES Cracked

EncryptionJune 17, 1997

A group of users organized over the Internet cracked the Data Encryption Standard — the strongest legally exportable encryption software in the United States to that point — after only five months of work. The United States at the time banned the export of stronger encryption software out of fear that it would be used by terrorists, but companies designing the software claimed such restrictions were worthless because foreign countries offer much stronger programs. The US eventually relaxed certain restrictions but to this day still claims to exert authority over encryption technologies under the commerce clause.