CookieSession Encryption

I understand that the new CookieSessions use encryption to secure the
data inside the cookie. The +secret+ that is default defined in
config.action_controller.session in the environment.rb appears to be a
hexidemical key. A few questions regarding this:

1) Is the +secret+ converted from a hex string to a binary key?
2) Can I use any characters in the key
3) What key lengths can I use?

Also, a couple questions about the encryption algorithm:

1) What encryption algorithm is used.
2) What mode is the encryption algorithm operating in (eg. CBC,
stream, etc.)

One final question: Is the CookieSession attached to the user's IP
address in any way within the ActionController, or is this left to the
developer? (To prevent against a replay attack)

Travis,

This list is for discussion of development of Rails itself. Questions about using Rails should go to the rubyonrails-talk list. I can't tell if you are proposing changing any of those things - if you are, this is the right place. If you are just trying to get information on how this works, the -talk list is the place to go.

Josh,

My apologies. I have posted to the Talk list.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.