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A meet-in-the-middle attack basically halves the number of bits of the total key size, rounding up. So 3 and 4 both have 2x security and 5 and 6 block cipher encrypts provide 3x security of the original cipher. I think that this is the main misunderstanding of meet-in-the-middle attacks. The DES cipher itself is protected against meet-in-the-middle attacks, ...

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