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Author Topic: No point in demanding back doors on encryption SW  (Read 3394 times)
WA2ISE
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« on: February 01, 2016, 12:59:51 PM »

Any good programmer who knows modern encryption methods can, at home, write encryption software without mandated back doors.  And post it to the 'net.  It's not like only big corporations are able to create software.  Not like making semiconductors. 
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K7EXJ
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2016, 02:21:03 PM »

It isn't the programming that is the trick; it's finding an encryption key that is either random enough or long enough to not be worked out by brute force.

When I was doing all this back in the day the rumors were that NSA would drive around with cars and find places to record sounds that could be used to base the encryption keys on.

They were good enough that the Soviets had to get the N. Koreans to hijack the USS Pueblo, steal the KW26  encryption machines and then transport them to Moscow.

Then they used the old encryption cards from the KW26 machines at the Naval Communications Center in Norfolk that were stolen by CWO John Walker who had volunteered to do the messy job of burning all the encryption cards (that looked like IBM punch cards but were cut in half in the process of putting them into the KW26s and then burned 24 hours later). Walker did not burn the cards; he traded them for cash from the USSR case officer who was his control. The Soviets had already recorded all the encrypted broadcasts from Norfolk and simply synched a USS Pueblo KW26 with those recordings, and voila! Plain text traffic in all its glory. Years of happy birthday wishes to submarine crew members plus all their encrypted orders.

I have often wondered if other Navy guys were not burning the cards. It would have been worth a nice house somewhere.

But, anyway, it is the complexity of the keys not the encryption method that makes a system difficult to break.

One of the simplest of all encryption systems is the One-Time-Pad on which you write your message under a series of characters that are well and truly "random", then "beat" one character against another and send the result in the open. At the other end is the single copy of the one-time-pad and the op there beats the characters he copies against the characters on the pad and comes up with the plain text message.

As long as you do not do something stupid (like reuse the pages of a one-time-pad) it is virtually impossible to break into.

Neat but not gaudy. But again, the trick is to have random characters on that pad. Use a book and the patterns will make it breakable. Just not fast. It took me weeks to learn that system of beating one character against another. And while I got pretty good at it, I was still not up to the speed of at eletype circuit.

And the Achilles' heel of that system, too, is that someone has to burn the pages once they've been used. And who do you trust to do that?
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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
KD8MJR
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Posts: 5557




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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2016, 03:18:12 PM »

Any good programmer who knows modern encryption methods can, at home, write encryption software without mandated back doors.  And post it to the 'net.  It's not like only big corporations are able to create software.  Not like making semiconductors.  

It takes about 60 lines of code to write a basic RSA program that can encrypt data.  If one was to use even a lowly 128k bit encryption it would take more years than the Universe has been around for a single Quad core PC to brute force decrypt it.
Even with a bank of super computers it would take so long that by time you got it cracked the sender would probably have died of old age.  This assumes that a Plain Text Hack is not available to the persons trying to find the private key.

The G-Mint knows this, but what they want is to have the private keys for all the popular software that is out there.
Jihad Jane or John does not use public software, they have written their own so I also wonder what the point of all of this is.

Interesting note is that a Quantum processor should be able to decrypt any length of public key instantly, the problem is that
this is a decade or more  from being practical , but actual processors have been built and they do work on small numbers in the Lab.  Of course you also have Quantum detection Huh, which would let the person know that someone decrypted the data.  So it looks like even 30-50 years from now the back and forth will continue.

All this Quantum physics based processor stuff gives me a headache, it reminds me of my University days when we learned to use imaginary numbers, now we have Quantum processors that see all possible combinations at the same time.  Tongue

73s
Rob


« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 01:05:38 AM by KD8MJR » Logged

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
KB3VWG
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Posts: 141




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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 06:49:24 AM »

without mandated back doors

Mandated???
What kind of software...what kind of encryption???
How does encryption relate to Amateur Radio (in general) BTW???


73,

KB3VWG
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OZ8AGB
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Posts: 584




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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 07:32:22 AM »

When I was doing all this back in the day the rumors were that NSA would drive around with cars and find places to record sounds that could be used to base the encryption keys on.

Today they just tune in to the VP8 pileup...
 Grin
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KX4OM
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Posts: 371




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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 04:00:21 PM »

Any good programmer who knows modern encryption methods can, at home, write encryption software without mandated back doors.  And post it to the 'net.  It's not like only big corporations are able to create software.  Not like making semiconductors.  

It takes about 60 lines of code to write a basic RSA program that can encrypt data.  If one was to use even a lowly 128 bit encryption it would take more years than the Universe has been around for as single Quad core PC to brute force decrypt it.
Even with a bank of super computers it would take so long that by time you got cracked it the sender would probably have died of old age.  This assumes that a Plain Text Hack is not available to the persons trying to find the private key.


From my studies for my MSIS in 1998-2000, the energy requirement simply to flip each bit from 0 to 1 to brute-force crack a 512-bit one way encryption would require more energy than the sun puts out over its lifetime. The source for that info was from a book I studied, "Applied Cryptography" by Bruce Schneier. Something like that, anyway. I used it in a paper and presentation. I think the bits in the calculation were actually a bit less.

Ted, KX4OM
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