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Encryption

Colossus Cracks Again 88

BOfH writes "The BBC is reporting that following a 14-year rebuild project, the Colossus computer is once again cracking codes at Bletchley Park." They will crack WWII-era encrypted messages, and compete against modern PCs. Fun stuff for crypto nerds and history buffs.
Math

Submission + - Possible backdoor found in RNG standardizedby NSA (schneier.com) 1

kfz versicherung writes: "Defining algorithm for random numbers is one of the hardest fields in mathematics. We all know Microsoft failed miserably, even Linux (pdf) and SSL had their fair share of troubles. But now Bruce Schneier tells us the Strange Story of Dual_EC_DRBG, one of four random number generation algorithms standardized by the NSA (pdf). While on first look just slower than the other three, Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson showed at Crypto 2007 that the algorithm contains a weakness that can only be described a backdoor. Their presentation showed that the constants used have a relationship with a second, secret set of numbers that can act as a kind of skeleton key. If you know the secret numbers, you can predict the output of the random-number generator after collecting just 32 bytes of its output."
Communications

Submission + - Colossus cracks codes once more

Sunil Sood writes: Colossus is widely recognised as being one of the first recognisably modern digital computers and was developed to read messages sent by the German commanders during the closing years of WWII. It was one of the first ever programmable computers and featured more than 2,000 valves and was the size of a small lorry. For the first time in more than 60 years a Colossus computer will be cracking codes at Bletchley Park. The machine is being put through its paces to mark the end of a project to rebuild the pioneering computer. It will be used to crack messages enciphered using the same system employed by the German high command during World War II. The Colossus will be pitted against modern PC technology which will also try to read the scrambled messages.
Education

How Much is Your Right to Vote Worth? 857

Attila Dimedici writes "Two thirds of the students at NYU would give up their right to vote in the next election for a full scholarship. Some would be satisfied with an ipod. A few would be willing to give up the right for the rest of their lives for one million dollars."
Announcements

Submission + - Japanese high tech toilet makers aim for USA (japanesecustomer.com)

Peter Hanami writes: "Japanese high tech toilet makers are now aiming for the USA. The washlet may be soon become a household word in the USA. Japanese high tech toilets are a luxury item that once tried are hard to resist. A heated seat, a bidet, air freshner and some models even dry, meaning the user doesn't need to use toilet paper. A must have item in Asia, will Japanese high tech toilets find a place in the USA market?"

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