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Comment Re:"In the wild" - slight exaggeration (Score 2) 167

To be fair, any pair of distinct inputs to SHA1 that hash to the same value are a new collision. In general, being given one collision for a hash function doesnt make it automatically easy to find another. Its only because SHA1 is an iterated hash function (merkle-damgard) that this becomes true. (admittedly, almost all practical cryptographic hash functions are iterated constructions.)

If SHA1(x0) = SHA1(x1) then for any z SHA1(x0¦¦z) = SHA1(x1¦¦z). I'm guessing the collision generated by the Google-CWI team is on a pair x0 and x1 where xb is the beginning of a pdf document that basically encodes "of the next two sections in this pdf file display section b". Given that its easy to extend them to any colliding pdf documents one wants.

Comment Re:If the EU is to be viable they need this (Score 1) 122

In my experience, within Europe it is a relatively widely held opinion that the EU (and its precursors) did indeed play a big role in supporting peace and prosperity on the continent. (Which does not at all negate the support of the US.)

But perhaps a clearer example than western European peace might be the Balkans. I believe that the prospect of entering the EU has played a non-trivial role in helping convince the Balkan states to finally bury the hatchet for real. (Similarly the prospect of entering the EU has been used to motivate modernizing the post-soviet European states to great effect.)

> The EU by contrast seems to be a source of constant turmoil.

I think the turmoil you speak of is generally on a completely different order of magnitude than violent conflict. (Of course one would be easily forgiven for miss-interpreting the severity of this turmoil given how Europeans do seem to so enjoy moaning and griping about their lots in life -- justified or not. In fact sometimes I feel like it is actually one of the more unifying traits in Europe cultures. Then again, maybe that's just humanity in general.)

Comment Making False Assumptions (Score 1) 409

You are making very strong assumptions about your AES256 implementation (or what ever other block cipher).

On a technical note you assume that whoever coded the implementation of AES did not chose to make it so that it only decrypts a ciphertext with a valid password and otherwise returns "fail". This is trivial to implement: to encrypt m as 0000...000|m. To decrypt, first decrypt then check if the result has 0000...000 as a prefix. If not output "fail" otherwise output m. This this could well be considered a "useful" feature of the implementation as it avoids higher level applications using AES from having to deal with bad passwords.

More formally, from a crypto stand point you also make un-realisable assumptions. A block cipher is essentially pseudo-random permutation. You are suggesting that selecting a random PRP p1 from the AES family (i.e. a random password), computing it in the forwards direction to get p1(m)=c, then selecting another (arbitrary!, not random) PRP p2 from the family and then inverting it to get p2^-1(c) = m' would give you a uniformly distributed m' that is independent of m and p1. No way. Formally you are assuming AES is a family of (invertible) random oracles! But it's trivial to see that random oracles can not be implemented by any poly-time algorithm. So regardless of how it is implemented this can not possibly be more then a heuristic.

Conclusion: don't assume decrypting with a bad password gives a random output independent of the message in the ciphertext. This is an extra (and formally a false) assumption on your implementation!

Comment google did something and is involved. (Score 4, Informative) 323

Dude... seriously?

At least they SOMETHING to help the people in egypt. What do you want? a full scale google invasion?

And by the way a google employ (exec) was kidnapped by plain clothed security forces in cairo and is missing since several days. The arrest was caught on video. See around 1:11

Not quite so cushy after all.

Comment Local solution (Score 1) 323

I was talking to a guy from telecomix on irc yesterday who was working on a pretty sweet project trying to get net and phones to people in egypt. Generally they seem to be organizing quite a few cool things. In this case the guy was gearing up to buy a bundle of phone lines (enough for about 2000) and hooking it up to a computer with SIP on the egypt side. The end goal was to setup what is essentially a new Dial-in ISP. But I didn't really have time/knowledge to understand the details. Anyway they're doing some pretty rad stuff so it's worth checking out.

Still, there really is only so much you can do given just a couple days notice and a country in the middest of an information lockdown (not to mention a general revolution).

Comment Re:Text to speech (Score 1) 323

I've been following the situation quite closely now on twitter for several days and a surprising number of tweets coming from inside egypt are actually in english. Search for hashtags #jan25 and #feb1 to see what i mean. Even now with all ISPs down people are still finding ways round the blockade and tweeting. (Of course many of those tweets are not actually from inside egypt especially now. But still over the last few days many were.)

Also from the google blog post announcing the new service: "People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to" So they do seem to provide a way to get information and not just give. Haven't tested it myself though.

Comment ALL asymmetric crypto rely on P != NP (Score 1) 700

Here's your evidence:

Given a public key for an asymetric cryptosystem (say a modulas n for RSA) it is easy to verify (i.e. in NP) that a candidate secret key (say primes p and q in the RSA case) match the public key. Paraphrasing heavily now: If P == NP then anything that is easy to verify if polytime is also easy to solve in polytime. In our case that means if i give you a public key you can now FIND a matching secret key in polytime. I.e. if i give you n which is an RSA public key you can factor it into primes p and q. But if you can find the secret key for any public key algorithm (including RSA) then no such algorithm can be a "secure" cryptosystem.

Heading off some misunderstanding: We do not know how to base security ONLY on P != NP. In fact that is considered one of the largest open problems in modern theory of crypto. While I just argued that P!=NP is a _necessary_ condition for all asymmetric (and most symmetric) crypto to be secure it is not known to be _sufficient_.

We're getting closer with some of the recent advances in Lattice based crypto but were are definitely not their yet. For the theory people out there: A fundamental problem here is that NP tells us something about worst case hardness but for crypto we need average case hardness (i.e. for a random secret key and random coins for the ciphertext). Bridging this gap is highly non-trivial. Recent work in lattices has shown such connections and how to use it for certain problems. However the choice of parameters we use for the resulting cryptosystems are not known to result in NP-hard underlying problems.

Comment Re:Not secure (Score 1) 164

Indeed that would be the case. The data is not actually encrypted as claimed by the group, but rather just encoded. In other words there is no secret password required for recovering the data. Instead all you need is to know the scheme used to encode/decode the data.

By the same token ASCII would be an "encryption" of Roman alphabet (amoungst other symbols). Clearly that's just BS.

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