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BruCON: Can we trust cryptography?

BruCON: Can we trust cryptography?

Posted Oct 2, 2009 14:57 UTC (Fri) by AndreE (guest, #60148)
Parent article: BruCON: Can we trust cryptography?

It's interesting that a major point is basically to trust cryptology standards. I have seen this statement echoed by various crypto guys around the web.

There is a real convenient tendency when programming/desigining to perhaps exagerrate ones own knowledge, or at the least try to build something from what little knowledge you have. In many areas of CS, this is probably a good thing. Afterall, sometimes you learn best by doing. However, having seen a number of homebrew suggestions around the place and having seen them shot down, I remain convinced that crypto is complex and difficult enough that we must leave it to the experts. Unless one can formally and rigourously describe the strenght of their scheme (i.e., in the sort of mathematical language that give me a migraine), homebrew solutions will never cut it.

Nevertheless, people are constantly deluding themselves into believing their "unique" solutions are better than a systems devised by uber-geeks and techno-spooks

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messing with crypto

Posted Oct 2, 2009 15:24 UTC (Fri) by pflugstad (subscriber, #224) [Link]

One only needs to look at the Debian random number generator fiasco to see the danger in messing with crypto code without a very thorough understanding of what's going on.

messing with crypto

Posted Oct 3, 2009 20:40 UTC (Sat) by gmaxwell (guest, #30048) [Link]

EhÂ… thats more an example of ignorantly modifying code to silence tool warnings, not really much of an example of the tricky implications of cryptography. At most you can say about the debian openssh example is that it shows that security is often an invisible property, but that isn't a crypto specific point... and you can argue that crypto should be left to the cryptonauts but security really must be every developers problem.

The mention of RC4 in WEP in the article makes a better example of the special challenges posed by cryptography, or perhaps the old watermarking attacks against pure CBC dmcrypt volumes prior to the introduction of ESSIV and LRW... the point that you can use the primitives correctly but still produce something insecure because of non-obvious (and sometimes highly mathematical) properties of the cryptographic components.

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