you can't argue with economics (Re: On how the NSA can be generations ahead)

Adam Back adam at
Mon Aug 2 02:36:26 PDT 2004

But most cryptanalysis types of things are economic defenses.  (ie you
can spend $lots you can break; or you don't have enough $ to build
because the $ at current tech is an astronomical multiple of the US
national debt).

So if the NSA are being stupid, and uneconomical with the black budget
(and it's not that hard for large organizations even with competition
to be stupid), then they will be even less likely to break things that
they could break than if they outsourced the whole thing.

Probably to their advantage, I presume they do in fact outsource many
things and of course buy large expensive bits of machinery and
components, as anyone must do.

So anyway, doing uneconomical things with the black budge they would
lessen their chance of breaking various things, not increase it.

Now the sheer scale of the black budget allows some things, but no
doubt their best strategy will be to do economical things wrt their
objectives and priorities and put as much as they can out for
commercial tender, and/or try to create internal competition or


On Sat, Jul 31, 2004 at 05:50:36PM -0700, Major Variola (ret) wrote:
> Tyler D asked about how the NSA could be so far ahead.
> Besides their ability to make 2" sq. chips at 10% yield (not
> something a commercial entity could get away with)
> they can also *thin and glue* those chips into say stacks
> of 5 thinned die.
> 2" sq = 4 x performance
> 5 thinned die with GHz vias = 20 x performance.
> Both are uneconomical but feasible.  Get it?
> Any questions?
> -----
> all your burst-mode wall-chair-molding-bugs in the state dept are belong
> to us...

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