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Privacy Communications Encryption United States Technology

NSA Releases Secret Pre-History of Computers 167

An anonymous reader writes "The National Security Agency has declassified an eye-opening pre-history of computers used for code-breaking between the 1930s and 1960s. The 344 page report, entitled It Wasn't All Magic: The Early Struggle to Automate Cryptanalysis (pdf), it is available on the Government Attic web site. Government Attic has also just posted a somewhat less declassified NSA compendium from 1993: A Collection of Writings on Traffic Analysis. (pdf)"
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NSA Releases Secret Pre-History of Computers

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  • wrong topic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:55AM (#44091907)

    Dear NSA, I think you're confused. The current topic of discussion is your ongoing violation of the 4th Amendment of the U.S. constitution.

    Compared to that, I truly doing give a fuck about your history of codebreaking.

  • Re:wrong topic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:04AM (#44091987) Homepage Journal

    I do care about the history of codebreaking, but it doesn't mean i'm going to trust the NSA to tell me the truth about it. Which is why I'm focusing more on their fourth amendment violations instead. And, of course, the potential repercussions the same violations are liable to have on our rights to free association, since apparently we can now be surveiled on the grounds of where a friend of a friend of a friend ordered pizza from that may have had a foreign national working there.

  • Re:First pwned! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:04AM (#44091993) Journal

    Not particularly implausible if it has pictures(especially highish-quality and/or appallingly malcompressed ones). The actual exploit code is probably a pretty small percentage of the total.

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:08AM (#44092045)
    All part of damage control - got to raise public opinion quick smart. You have no idea how many talking points have been written in the last week or so for the media employees (talk show and news anchors etc) to sprout off over in the next few days/months. Muddy, confuse, distract... ahh, propaganda...
  • by ibwolf ( 126465 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:19AM (#44092179)

    Pay no attention to the man in the Russian airport.

    No, they want you to pay attention to him, to this, to ANYTHING except for what they (the US government and the NSA in particular) are actually doing with regards to you personal liberties. That is what they are trying to distract you from thinking about.

  • Re:PDFS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:26AM (#44092237) Homepage Journal

    I'm not too worried about exploits from Adobe or Microsoft affecting evince...

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@nOsPAm.carpanet.net> on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:32AM (#44092329) Homepage

    That is exactly what I was thinking. Since their secret program just blew up like semtex in a times square car bomb, they need to do some quick spin control. Look how we move tech forward people! Don't look at what we are doing now....look at new stuff we want to tell you about the past!

    Don't pay any mind to the way we spread our own brand of terror like anthrax spores through the sears tower ventilation system. Just pay attention to the muslamic terror groups that we want you to be afraid of, thats the terror that we are trying to create here for our purposes.

  • Re:PDFS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:37AM (#44092397) Homepage Journal

    Hey you guys who are talking about Snowden, download this PDF with some cool additional code! Don't worry about it. I promise we didn't buy exploits from Adobe or Microsoft!

    Why buy what you can get for free?

    If you don't use up the budget you don't get more next year. Especially if your working at an agency that can't be measured for efficiency in any way.

  • by EuclideanSilence ( 1968630 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @01:16PM (#44093915)

    Well I for one am convinced. Thank god these files were classified, or else terrorists would know all about how to break WW2 codes. What if Snowden had leaked this? People could have died. People would have died.

    What other things besides obsolete WW2 cryptanalysis could the NSA be keeping from terrorists? That's why it's so important for us to trust them.

After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.