Election Crypto Conspiracy Theory

I'm not often a fan of conspiracy theories, except for entertainment value. This one is interesting because it combines international intrigue, the elections, and our world of notoriously poor email security. The conspiracy arises from foreigners trying to influence the United States election. They spy on unprotected emails and leak the contents to influence US... Continue Reading →

NSA re-releases Boak’s Lectures

I'm a fan of Boak's Lectures - they cover the fundamentals of military cryptography just before the information revolution.David Boak developed the lectures for the National Security Agency's Cryptologic School. Even though the lectures are from the '60s and '70s, they remain relevant to today's cybersecurity threats. Cryptographic techniques that were classified Secret in Boak's... Continue Reading →

Standardized Back Door

Matthew Green published an entertaining rundown on the cryptographic back door in ANSI and NIST standards. He focuses on how it got there and why it's still there, as opposed to its technical details.    

Boak’s Puzzle: Disposing of Classified Trash

Recently I was skimming through the NSA's "classified history of COMSEC" (Volume 1 and Volume 2).  This "history" is a transcription of lectures by David G. Boak, who liked to explain NSA-related topics from a historical perspective. He clearly inspired a generation of NSA's employees. The last "real" page of the document contains a humorous story... Continue Reading →

One-Time Pads

The one-time pad is the only encryption technique that has been mathematically proven to be uncrackable. While hard to use, it has often been the choice for highly sensitive traffic. Soviet spies used one-time pads in the 1940s and -50s. The Washington-Moscow "hot line" also uses one-time pads. However, the technique is hard to use... Continue Reading →

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