What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate

Originally published by The Kernel/The Daily Dot:

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5 thoughts on “What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate

  1. Spying on citizens used to be expensive when they had to send a man out to do the job. And the government didn’t want to be caught looking like the rights-violating creeps they are, so wiretaps and steaming open letters had to be done discreetly.

    Until Snowden, few knew just how intrusive the spy agencies could be. It became easier for them to suck up all the data, instead of doing the work that being selective entails.

    My dad used to say you can’t make anything theft-proof, but you can make the thief take longer, make it cost more, and make him easier to catch in the act.

    So maybe the spies and other crooks are going to have to be smarter and rely less on brute force when dealing with encryption.

    • Any back door the ‘good’ guys can exploit is just as easy for the ‘bad’ guys to exploit.

      With all the horsepower they’ve got in the NSA, y’d think someone would have pointed that out by now…

      • I distrust any claim that the spy agencies are blind. And any claim of security by the corpos is likely to be marketing, puffing their own product to sell more. The corpos have already demonstrated their willingness to sell out to the g-men.

        That’s why they want to kill Snowden.

        The spies need people to believe they are secure so they get sloppy and stop taking precautions.

  2. I’m a mathematician. It’s very interesting what’s going on, and even more interesting how it’s covered. First, unless there is a serious breakthrough, the RSA encryption on the web is unbreakable (if you use a big enough key). That said, the NSA has tried to put back doors in, which make it possibly breakable. They’ve done this using the fact that a lot of the code is public domain paradigms, and they’ve tried to sneak in their own code. In particular, the random number generator was compromised. They install their own hardware on things, so they can break in. Anything they can do to get around the actual math, which even they can’t get around. Factoring very large numbers takes a very very long time. All of this assuming they don’t get quantum computers working. Quantum computers are very very good at factoring. Not so great at lots of other stuff. If someone actually gets one to work, RSA goes out the door, and someone has to have another clever idea.

    Until then you can keep your stuff from anyone, if you and your friends are willing, use PGP, get a certificate, and as long as no one proves that P=NP you’re good.

    • True – theoretically at least – but Moore’s Law marches on. Every time we say, “It’d take a hundred computers a hundred years to beat X by brute force” we wind up revising the statement the next year.

      so we move to 64 bit keys … oops 128, no … better make that 4096.

      NSA’s got some of the biggest iron & brightest boys working on the problem. I figure it’s best to assume that the gubbmint is reading my mail, hell, I’ve been on their list for years.