Is There A Back Door?

Julian Assange has distributed an encrypted “insurance file” with a 256-digit key. I am not sure what algorithm it uses, but a key that long would be almost impossible to break via a random number attack.

In the 1990s, I worked on one of Al Gore’s data encryption schemes for spying on the public’s digital communications. The rumour in the encryption community was that NSA would not allow any algorithm to propagate which does not have a back door approach that is known to NSA.

So Assange may not be quite as well protected as he thinks he is. NSA may well be extracting the guts of the message right now.

About stevengoddard

Just having fun
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3 Responses to Is There A Back Door?

  1. Casual Reader says:

    This Wikileaks “insurance” file has “.aes256” at the end of the name. It’s reasonable to assume it is encrypted using the AES cipher with a 256-bit key which is pretty standard these days.

    Whether or not there is a “back door” or a practical vulnerability in AES-256 depends on how paranoid one is I suppose. No telling what the NSA is capable of. However, AES is perhaps the most widely studied and widely used encryption in the world today.

    You might be more at risk using a less-known cipher that hasn’t withstood as much scrutiny. Such is the nature of things with encryption.

  2. Ian says:

    I think you have missed the point, Steve, which is that it is actually almost certainly to Mr. Assange’s advantage, and even something that he has banked on, if the contents of the file are known to the NSA and the US government, since it is the threat of revealing this information to the wider world that gives Assange his leverage and protection. If the NSA couldn’t break into the file to discover its contents then the US government might consider the blackmail threat to be an empty bluff and act accordingly.

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