[Cryptography] NSA versus DES etc....

Dave Horsfall dave at horsfall.org
Fri Oct 3 01:14:41 EDT 2014

On Thu, 2 Oct 2014, Jerry Leichter wrote:

> A friend (Martin Minow, in case anyone here remembers him) years ago 
> told me a story he heard in Sweden.  The rivers and bays along the 
> Swedish coast are extremely tricky to navigate, being full of underwater 
> canyons and ridges.  For many years, the maps of some of the major ports 
> were considered to be essential state secrets, a means of defense 
> against (mainly Soviet) naval attack.  If you wanted to sail into one of 
> these harbors, you had best get a Swedish pilot, who had access to the 
> maps but would ban you from watching while he used them.

And didn't the Swedes find a Russian sub in their waters some years back?

> One day, a number of Soviet vessels arrived for some kind of political 
> port visit.  The Soviets had always asked for Swedish pilots in the past 
> - but for some reason this time they went ahead and sailed up river at 
> speed, easily navigating around the not-quite-so-secret underwater 
> obstacles.

I'm guessing that the Russians had been mapping the waters for years with 
their sonar; see above about a sub being caught.

> This was certainly a decision made at a high level in the Soviet Navy, 
> if not at political levels, though as far as I know, exactly *why* they 
> chose to do it has never been explained.

To show that they could?  The old aphorism about locking a flimsy front 
door springs to mind.

-- Dave

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