1994-04-23 - Distributed “Family” of processors

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To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: e0d881a7ecda3d929462e2b57f27a2eeec9cf81d75d70d6041b382c09b886b81
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UTC Datetime: 1994-04-23 21:46:57 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 23 Apr 94 14:46:57 PDT

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Date: Sat, 23 Apr 94 14:46:57 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Distributed "Family" of processors
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Content-Type: text/plain

I recognized the basic schema in the following from the history of the
French Resistance movement.  The idea is for critical information to be 
held in separate "cells" each of which knows only enough to inteact with 
the others, but not enough to compromise the entire net.

   Consider three sets of code in three computers that constitutes a
"Family"(the whole program). "Grandpa" talks to "Pa". "Pa" then talks
"Son". "Son" then talks to "Grandpa". Each "Family" member closely
monitors its cup clock & if its expected message is not received on
time - it suicides! Capture "Pa" & in seconds, "Grandpa" & "Son" take
their own lives! That is to say, they scramble certain essential parts
of themselves including cryptographic sections.

In any covert activity, many conditions will lead to a mission abort.  This
is largely due to the paranoid nature of the activity and the low level of
trust in others neccessitated by said activity.  If even one aspect seems 
"wrong" the meeting, transmission, transfer, trade, whatever, is called off. 
No offense intended, and ususally none taken.  When you are trying to be
covert, everyone fears compromise.

A computer system so paranoid that it swallows a poison-pill whenever it 
suspects unauthorized tampering (read: investigation) would be fairly secure,
but unreliable.  ***Many*** conditions would trigger the "trip-wire" mech-
anisms so the system would have to have a high order of built-in redundency.

What it always boils down to is, "who do you **really** trust?".  Or, boy
was my face red when I found out I vouched for my best friend's public key 
only to find out that he worked for the NSA.  (Think it doesn't happen?  
HUMINT will tell you much more than Signal Analysis ever will.)