[Clips] US CODE: Title 50,1811. Authorization during time of war

coderman coderman at gmail.com
Thu Dec 22 12:33:36 PST 2005

On 12/22/05, John Young <jya at cryptome.net> wrote:
> ...
> The open competition for AES had a taint of that, and maybe
> a couple of hundred cryptographers knew WTF was going on
> and half of those were blinded by vanity and ignorance of
> "independence." The NDAs of participants sucked of "trust us."

this question has bothered me: why choose a cipher whose
implementation in most circumstances is subject to side channels when
there are others resistant to such attacks?

are side channels in flawed implementations the new backdoor of choice
(since insufficient key space and overt flaws are now unavailable)?

> Nearly all infosec standards for military use recommend and/or
> require the use of tokens or other mechanical gadgets to backup
> passwords and biometrics which are known to be vulnerable to
> human weaknesses for sex, drugs, boss hatred and venality.

i don't see how hardware tokens / crypto ignition keys prevent human
abuses.  passwords and passphrases are useless (unless coupled with
tokens and used only for liveness detection) and vascular biometrics
are excellent for "who you are" type authentication coupled with
physical key "what you have" based auth.

this doesn't preclude the use of a single cipher though; key
management has always been the bane of strong crypto.

> We finally shelled out a few bucks to buy the PGP version which
> provides a token as a backup for passphrases. Haven't used it
> yet but the regular alarms about crackability of passphrases
> suggests there should be more than your too smart by half,
> too lazy by whole, brain for protection.

indeed; passwords/passphrases as sole authenticators should die. they
should always be coupled with physical tokens IMHO...

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