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Unformatted text preview: tion. If you patch that hole but forget to securely erase a memory location that contains the key, a cryptanalyst will break your system via that route. If you do everything right and accidentally e-mail a copy of your secure files to The Wall Street Journal, you might as well not have bothered. It’s not fair. As the designer of a secure system, you have to think of every possible means of attack and protect against them all, but a cryptanalyst only has to find one hole in your security and exploit it. Cryptography is only a part of security, and often a very small part. It is the mathematics of making a system secure, which is different from actually making a system secure. Cryptography has its “size queens”: people who spend so much time arguing about how long a key should be that they forget about everything else. If the secret police want to know what is on your computer, it is far easier for them to break into your house and install a camera that can record what is on your computer screen than it is for them to cryptanalze your hard drive. Additionally, the traditional view of computer cryptography as “spy versus spy” technology is becoming increasingly inappropriate. Over 99 percent of the cryptography used in the world is not protecting military secrets; it’s in applications such as bank cards, pay-TV, road tolls, office building and computer access tokens, lottery terminals, and prepayment electricity meters [43,44]. In these applications, the role of cryptography is to make petty crime slightly more difficult; the paradigm of the well-funded adversary with a rabbit warren of cryptanalysts and roomsful of computers just doesn’t apply. Most of those applications have used lousy cryptography, but successful attacks against them had nothing to do with cryptanalysis. They involved crooked employees, clever sting operations, stupid implementations, integration blunders, and random idiocies. (I strongly recommend Ross Anderson’s paper, “Why Cryptosytems Fail” ; it should be required reading for anyone involved in this field.) Even the NSA...
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This note was uploaded on 10/18/2010 for the course MATH CS 301 taught by Professor Aliulger during the Fall '10 term at Koç University.
- Fall '10