Other Spy Agencies

Matthew Gream mgream at acacia.itd.uts.edu.au
Fri Mar 11 20:45:39 PST 1994

Earlier, Greg - Kucharo wrote:

>  We have talked plenty on the list about the NSA.What about the spy 
> agencies of other nations?What do they have to offer in the way of 
> crypto roadblocks.

In Australia, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) is on par with the
NSA in terms of responsibilities. The DSD is relatively unknown to 
most of the population, and indeed their charter was only made public
in 1985 as a result of recommendations in the Hope Royal Commission
on Australia's Security and Intelligence Agencies (the DSD report, 
along with another, was not published on "security grounds"). It's
rather funny to read advertisements in the Cweath Gazette for DSD
positions with duties involving ".. collection, analysis and reporting
of foreign radar emissions and .." :-). Read Ball/Richardsons "The 
Ties that Bind" for a DSD history, but this 10-15 year old publication 
is out of date wrt. recent changes in DSD operation/etc.

Anyway, cutting to the chase. I was having a chat with a local producer
of crypto IDE/SCSI/IEEE802.3 cards just last week at our PC94 show. This
place had tried to get these products approved for use by Government
Departments (the Evaluated Products List) which means the DSD has to 
actually test and approve the product, but in his words "they wanted 
the product and a way to crack it in order to evaluate it, we said it 
couldn't be cracked, and they said 'well we can't evaluate it'". I was 
going to question him more on this, but I had no time to spare. I'd 
already waited 15 mins while he babbled with someone with an American 
accent and when this guy turned around, his nametag said "Department 
of State" (this was seriously amusing to my friends :-).

Apart from that, they're going to Cebit'94 to market this stuff, so
there seems to be no export problem. Digging a bit deeper, one finds
that their product uses an "ENIGMA varient" for it's security, but
DES (and soon IDEA) PLD tables are available. No prizes to those who
want to guess which they are going to export :-)

Matthew Gream
Consent Technologies
M.Gream at uts.edu.au
(02) 821 2043
PGPMail accepted

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