question re practical use of secret sharing

James A. Donald jamesd at
Fri Jun 22 19:47:02 EDT 2007

James A. Donald:
 > > Is anyone aware of a commercial product that
 > > implements secret sharing? If so, can I get a
 > > pointer to some product literature?

Peter Gutmann
 > It's available as part of other products (e.g. nCipher
 > do it for keying their HSMs), but I don't know of any
 > product that just does... secret sharing.  What would
 > be the user interface for such an application?  What
 > would be the target audience?  (I mean a real target
 > audience, not some hypothesised scenario).
 > (This is actually a serious question.  I talked with
 > some crypto guys a few years ago about doing a
 > standard for secret sharing, but to do that we had to
 > come up with some general usage model for it rather
 > than just one particular application-specific
 > solution, and couldn't).
 > Besides that, user demand for it was practically
 > nonexistent... no, it was completely nonexistent,
 > apart from a few highly specialised custom uses we
 > couldn't even find someone to use as a guinea pig for
 > testing, and the existing specialised users already
 > had specialised solutions of their own for handling
 > it.

There is no market, zero, for stand alone crypto of any
kind.  Cryptographic solutions should be embedded
invisibly in products that do tasks for the user.

The purpose of cryptography is to stop such products
from invisibly doing tasks for an adversary.  Since the
attack is generally invisible, one cannot expect the
user to use a visible addon product to protect against
the attack.

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