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I should not be distributing a 128-bit AES keys with a 56-bit DES key. Why? If you think about this, it is trivially obvious: anyone can obtain the 128 bit key by brute forcing the 56 bit key that you distribute it under. The performance of your security is defined by the weakest point in the system.


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I would try a meet-in-the-middle attack. Given a public key (N,e) and the ciphertext c and knowing it's textbook RSA on a 128-bit key, you can recover the original message (the secret key) a good fraction of the time in time O(268). Basically, you assume the plaintext message is factorable into two values that are less than 268 -- that is (m = a*b), where ...


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The main benefit of separate keys is what happens in the worst-case scenario: someone gets your private key. SAME key on all hosts: The bad guys now have access to everything. DIFFERENT key on each host: The bad guys only have access to one thing. So--most secure? Unique keys for each host.



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