[cryptography] [liberationtech] Heml.is - "The Beautiful & Secure Messenger"

Ethan Heilman eth3rs at gmail.com
Fri Jul 12 17:00:23 EDT 2013


>
> I would hope that talented folks at the NSA would be averse to embedding
> backdoors in hardware (and firmware, and software) that they could lose
> control of, especially in light of recent developments.


Unfortunately it appears that for security reasons at least some chips are
being backdoored. For instance see "Breakthrough silicon scanning discovers
backdoor in military chip". The chip designers have admitted in that case
that the backdoor was designed as part of the security scheme. Actel
inserted the backdoor, I would assume with NSA permission since backdooring
sensitive chips without NSA permission would be extremely risky.

>
> The NSA that once worked to strengthen DES against differential
> cryptanalysis clearly thought so (or, rather, the people who made that
> happen did) -- is today's NSA no longer interested in the nation's
> civilian and military security?!


But remember that the NSA weakened DES by reducing the key size from 128
bits to 54 bits. It appears that the preferred the ability to break DES to
issues of civil security even back then.
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