[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Random Numbers Boxes and Cypher Processers




Hugh Daniel writes about converting used Telebit modems for crypto
use:

>   Folks had been talking about doing some crypto things in custom
> hardware about the size of a Telebit.  Telebits are just computers
> with ROM's in them and since Telebits are falling behind the tide of
> telecommunications I thought it might be nice to reporgram them as
> remote processers.  The DSP's are quite fast and might give us very
> nice random numbers, the box has buffers and a CPU that can do flat
> out UUCP 'g' with compression so is likely more processer then most of
> the Fido systems out there currently.
>   All around a nice box sitting there wasting, waiting to do something
> usefull.

Great idea! Figuring out how to rewire and reprogram a Telebit modem
and then writing a port of PGP for it seems like a real service to the
half-dozen or so people in the world who have these Telebits and who
want what you describe.

I hope my good friend Hugh is not angered by my mocking tone!

A serious issue is economics, the allocation of scarce resources. Eric
Hughes keeps pounding on this.

A cheap RNG might be useful, but not for most people. And I can't
imagine many people trying to scrounge old Telebits so as to get good
random numbers (this assumes someone actually writes the RNG code,
tests it for statistical properties, and submits it for "breaking" by
others). 

More important is getting easy to use software out there. Modifying
relatively scarce hardware (which Telbitw are, outside our circle of
friends :-}) goes against this "populist crypto" philosophy.
Zimmerman's really important contribution was to actually get RSA out
to anyone with a PC or vanilla UNIX.

Finally, why focus on the Telebit? I have an old Processor Technology
"Sol" computer that could be similary reprogrammed for RNG use. Any
takers?


(Just kidding.)

--Tim


-- 
..........................................................................
Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
[email protected]       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | PGP Public Key: awaiting Macintosh version.



-- 
..........................................................................
Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
[email protected]       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | PGP Public Key: awaiting Macintosh version.