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From: "David G. Koontz"
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:0.9.9) Gecko/20020408
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Subject: Re: the FBI and 1 time pads
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <3F4C55C1.114C@despam.autobahn.mb.ca>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 19:40:49 +1200
NNTP-Posting-Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 19:43:37 NZST
Alex Flanagan wrote:
>>There is a couple of catches though. Delivery of the keys is a big
>>because you must _never_ use a key again and the key must always be at
>>as long as the message. Quality of the keys may also a problem - they must
>>be _truly_ random. You've heard of nice programs which produce "random"
>>numbers? Randomness is a lot more difficult subject than one might think.
> Hey all,
> The short story is: computers cannot produce random numbers. One time pads
> require (OTPs) complete randomness in order to be as strong as they can be,
> and because computers can't give us perfect randomness, encryption done by
> them won't be as strong as a good OTP.
> The long story follows:
Referring to "Bombshell: The Secret Story of Ameria's Unknown Atomic Spy
Conspiracy" http://www.bombshell-1.com/archive.htm , the one time pads were
reused. Net control (Moscow station) would have one time pads that could
be used for transmitting to more than one station at a time. If you use
these one time pads to transmit two different messages, where one can be
guessed or is revealed, and the message indicators can reveal what happened,
differential analysis allows you to get the other message.
This is a failure to follow procedure, reminescent of reusing a keycard for
a KW-26 by thumping the reader and bouncing contacts. (Some of the -26s
coming back from 'Nam had really scarred card reader doors).
Think of it as a human failure to adhere to a crypto system, resulting in
security compromise by some serious analysis. Lots of cases of this in
World II and later. For instance counting on the operator to select
intial rotor positions on an Engima by looking up a random setting in a
book full of random values. Turns out the operators noticed they could
go around that part of the bothersome procedure. Unfortunately, they
tended to use the same 'random' value over and over again, giving cribs
for Bletchly Hall to use.
The one time pads targetted by Venona were reported to have been created
by large secretarial pools using various random methods of selecting
The computers used to break venona were used to search for cribs in the
volumes of messages delivered to the NSA by various telegraph carriers,
(in violation at the time of the Radio Act of 1934). The actual breaking
of messages could generally be attributed to language specialists and
[Mind you my copy of Bombshell is off in a storage locker, and memory
isn't what it used to be.]
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