1996-07-22 - Re: A Snake-Oil FAQ

Header Data

From: David Sternlight <david@sternlight.com>
To: Simon Spero <ses@tipper.oit.unc.edu>
Message Hash: c001f692bb8008881aa843d981773eaa1fdc2b961585bf390b15b85a988f7ada
Message ID: <v03007803ae188f5668ca@[]>
Reply To: <v03007607ae1800d8c5b1@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1996-07-22 04:17:37 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 12:17:37 +0800

Raw message

From: David Sternlight <david@sternlight.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 12:17:37 +0800
To: Simon Spero <ses@tipper.oit.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: A Snake-Oil FAQ
In-Reply-To: <v03007607ae1800d8c5b1@[]>
Message-ID: <v03007803ae188f5668ca@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 1:05 PM -0700 7/21/96, Simon Spero wrote:
>[sorry Perry]
>On Sun, 21 Jul 1996, David Sternlight wrote:
>> So is your comment. What was broken was not public key, but a particular
>> key length (and by implication shorter ones). You can do that with just
>> about any system, even a one-time pad, by brute force, but it won't buy you
>Really? The only way I know of forcing a one-time pad is to use a hardware
>QM-based random number generator to generate every possible decrypt, thus
>creating a number of universes equal to the number of possible keys. Since
>you can't tell if you're universe is the right one, one should always
>verify the information obtained against a second source. IANAL, so I can't
>say if such a decrypt would count as probably cause.

Theoretically Simon is right. Nevertheless one-time pads have been broken
through trial and error when they have been reused either out of laziness
or force majeure.

It's not a "monkeys in the British Museum" problem, since when you hit the
right key sequences both encrypted text streams will fall cleanly
out--otherwise the chances are overwhelming (given a decently long run)
that one of the two streams will contain garbles or more likely be complete

It's a pretty simple computer program--all you need is a decent test for
plaintext so you don't have to examine most of the test decryptions.