[Cryptography] NSA and cryptanalysis

ianG iang at iang.org
Fri Sep 6 06:13:40 EDT 2013

On 6/09/13 04:44 AM, Peter Gutmann wrote:
> John Kelsey <crypto.jmk at gmail.com> writes:
>> If I had to bet, I'd bet on bad rngs as the most likely source of a
>> breakthrough in decrypting lots of encrypted traffic from different sources.
> If I had to bet, I'd bet on anything but the crypto.  Why attack when you can
> bypass [1].
> Peter.
> [1] From Shamir's Law [2], "crypto is bypassed, not penetrated".
> [2] Well I'm going to call it a law, because it deserves to be.
> [3] This is a recursive footnote [3].

It looks like it is "all of the above."  These are the specific 
interventions I have seen mention of so far:

* weakened algorithms/protocols for big players (e.g., GSM, Cisco)
* weakening of RNGs
* inside access by 'covert agents' to hand over secrets (e.g., big 4)
* corruption of the standards process (NIST 2006?)
* corruption of certification process (CSC)
* crunching of poor passwords
* black ops to steal keys
* black ops to pervert systems

Which makes sense.  Why would the biggest player just do "one thing" ? 
No, they are going to do everything within their power.  They'll try all 
the tricks.  Why not, they've got the money...

What is perhaps more interesting is how these tricks interplay with each 
other.  That's something that we'll have trouble seeing and imagining.


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