NSA and PGP rabblerousing

Anonymous nowhere at bsu-cs.bsu.edu
Sun Mar 13 18:40:10 PST 1994

From: jtaylo3 at umbc.edu (Randy Taylor)
Newsgroups: alt.security,talk.politics.crypto
Subject: Re: What codes can NSA crack/not crack?
Followup-To: alt.security,talk.politics.crypto
Date: 13 Mar 1994 16:57:19 GMT
Organization: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
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Just my $0.02...

I recently took a course here at UMBC called Computer Systems Security
taught by a guy who works for NCSC/NSA.  A brief topic of discussion
was PGP.  The guy was really biased against PGP, calling it "illegal",
but he also hinted that it had been broken.  The hint was wrapped within
a "non-denial denial" (for fans of "All The President's Men") and there
was no *concrete* information given to support it.

One conclusion I drew was that:

1) NSA doesn't like PGP *at all*
2) If NSA hasn't broken PGP, they're working hard on breaking it.

One last bit - the guy did admit that PGP would be unbreakable for the
forseeable future if the the key length were increased from a max of 1,024
bits to a max of 2,048 bits.  Doubling key length doesn't double search
time, it's an exponential thing.

Oh yeah, this is really the last bit... living in the same area as NSA, one
hears all kinds of rumors - but one that I've heard numerous times (and
that I give some credence to) is that the NSA measures it's floorspace
dedicated to Crays and other supercomputers in *acres*.  Kind of frightening,
isn't it ?



Bill Stewart +1-510-484-6204 (wcs at anchor.ho.att.com) wrote:
: In article <JY1J-VU.keithdufour at delphi.com> keithdufour <keithdufour at delphi.com> writes:
:    Nsa can crack anything you got, big boys. You think they play cards
:    all day?

: When you've got mathematically-based crypto systems, you can analyze
: how much work it takes to crack them.  They're harder to use than
: wimpy cryptosystems, but personal computers take care of that problem.
: That's why the NSA's trying so hard to push things like Clipper on us,
: that work around their weaknesses; otherwise they're out of luck.
: Of course, it's still easy to invent cyphers they *can* break,
: and the large number of amateur cryptographers does give them some
: ongoing business :-)

:    We all must take this game more serious than trying to beat the Dallas
:    Cowboys with your high school team!! 

: My high school chess team could have easily beaten the Dallas Cowboys,
: unless you're talking about football or something......
: (My high school soccer team could probably have also beaten them at chess...)
: --
: # Bill Stewart       AT&T Global Information Solutions (new name for NCR!)
: # 6870 Koll Center Pkwy, Pleasanton CA 94566  1-510-484-6204 fax-6399
: # Email: bill.stewart at pleasantonca.ncr.com billstewart at attmail.com
: # ViaCrypt PGP Key IDs 384/C2AFCD 1024/9D6465

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