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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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  • More Secret History (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:46AM (#44091795)

    How about Bush's blackmail scheme where he used the NSA to try to obtain material to blackmail UN ambassadors into voting for invading Iraq. Most of the media treated that like it was secret...

  • It is a good read... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Monday June 24, 2013 @10:21AM (#44092203)

    For something in the time periods mentioned, it is a good read, especially with the issues at the time.

    I would say that crypto advances and computers go hand in hand, from the mechanical rotor devices to more advanced algorithms like DES, then to ones that have a larger bitsize and block size (AES.)

    What will be the next big crypto advance is a next generation public key algorithm. RSA has been good, but it, DSA, and ECC can fall if a quantum computer of a decent size can be built. What is needed is a next generation public key algorithm, but those are a lot harder to come by than symmetric algos. What would be nice is an algorithm with a small key size like ECC (which since in theory a 256 bit ECC key is as secure as a 128 bit AES key), compared to 16384 bit keys for RSA.

    Of course, the applied crypto part is important as well.

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

    by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Monday June 24, 2013 @12:30PM (#44093401) Homepage

    If you're worried about a NSA attack, a VM isn't going to save you. There have been several known exploits to break out of VM's. That will get them access to any harddrive if there's one connected at all. And if there isn't, there have been occasional exploits to flash a rootkit into BIOS. They could also activate Wifi or Bluetooth to infect any nearby computers or smartphones or any other smart devices, which could even bounce the infection back to the current computer after it's rebooted without the LiveCD and/or without the VM and/or with the harddrive reconnected.


"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama