I hear all the time how many hours it would take to break a certain type of encryption. I think this may be the wrong metric to look at ever since scaling became an easy to implement solution.
Sure you can measure the hours it would take to break AES encryption with the fastest GPU on the market and that metric generally puts us in comfort towards feeling like there is no chance our crypto could be cracked anytime within our grandchildrens' lifetimes.
The thing is though, governments aren't limited by computational power, they're limited by their budgets and the United States defense budget for example landed somewhere around $600 billion this year.
It would have to be a simple metric like how much would it cost with the best hardware on the market to crack X type of crypto within one week. or, how many keys under Y encryption could be brute forced with $10 billion of computational power within a year.
While this might seem a little out of proportion, if DirectTv can be bought for $48 billion why is it so crazy to think that a government power wouldn't throw in even a small chunk of their budget to exceed anyone's expectations for crypto cracking strength?
Sure it would be a few extra variables and make the math a little harder to figure out. Even if we just kept it simple like what is the best hardware on the market per dollar and crossed those abilities at the scale of say even 1% of a government's total budget and corssed that with the strength of different crypto algorithms, I feel like we would have a more realistic view for how strong cryptography actually is in this constantly evolving industry.