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Re: Will all codes and ciphers be broken?

> What code and cipher breaking had occurred had generally happened 
> through HUMINT sources, as with the Walker spy ring (which sold old 
> code books, allowing earlier traffic to be reconstructed). Black bag 
> jobs, bugging of buildings, etc. And I have no idea what crypto 
> material Aldrich Ames transferred. 

Indeed.  The situation is analogous when it comes to other areas (such as 
financial fraud, corporate espionage, and so forth).  A modern cipher is not 
going to be the weak point of most cryptosystems, unless it is intentionally 
crippled (cf. export restrictions to <= 40 bit keys for DES & RC4).  The 
(publically known) "codebreaking successes" (outside of contrived academic 
exercises) of recent decades have not involved cryptanalysis at all.  This 
point is also lost to most people in the Clipper debate.  Too many people, I 
feel, are focussed upon back doors in Skipjack.  This seems to me to be 
missing the point.  Skipjack could be a perfectly good block cipher, perhaps a
Lucifer/DES-style product cipher with more rounds and bigger boxes.  The point 
of Clipper is that it would institutionalize *non-cryptanalytic* intelligence 
gathering capabilities.  It's the digital wiretap initiative wrapped in a 
large red herring.  The actual cipher is completely incidental.

At this point in history, humans are much easier to subvert than ciphers are.

Amanda Walker
InterCon Systems Corporation