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Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2014 09:39:20 -0400
From: Daniel Franke <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] EARWORM (ROM hard is not enough)

Steve Thomas <> writes:

> The problem I have with EARWORM is that it's only good if the ROM is too
> big to fit in GPU memory. Currently we have high-end GPUs starting at 4 GiB
> with 12 GiB being the max (right?). You only need one copy of the ROM in
> GPU memory and since the state per each password guess is small (64 bytes)
> you can have several passwords being checked at the same time.

Yes, but only up the limit of available memory bandwidth, which on CPUs
you hit very quickly because EARWORM's inner loop is so fast. Defenders
can compute multiple workunits in parallel if one thread isn't enough to
saturate their memory bandwidth.

GPUs typically have more memory bandwidth available, but they're pretty
bad at AES because the table lookups are slow. If you want to cause
EARWORM some grief, figure out how to make a bitsliced implementation
of it that's able to saturate GPU memory bandwidth.

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