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Programming your own DES is usually a bad idea (unless as an exercise to understand the algorithm better), but OK. By definition the algorithm works with blocks of data that consist of 8 bytes (i.e. integers in the range 0..255), and the key is 7 of those bytes (or 8 with unused parity bits). What the data means (text or binary files like Office documents ...


DES is an old (by itself insecure) block cipher. Block ciphers work on blocks of bits. Due to the nature of modern computer the input and output of the cipher is however normally limited to 8-bit bytes or octets. The time that a byte could have 7 or 9 bits is long gone. Again, due to the nature of computing, everything inside a computer is encoded in bits ...

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