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[email protected] says:
>I'm assuming the NSA will pressure ViaCrypt to put in a backdoor. One
>possible backdoor that can be placed inside the commercial PGP and still
>allow it to pass the above test is if commericial PGP secretly writes all
>keys and pass phrases to a block on your hard disk, and marks that
>block as used to the file system. In order to prevent you from scanning
>your hard disk and finding that block, the information stored there could
>be encrypted by a key which the NSA has in it's possession.
There's actually a much easier way for a backdoor to be inserted that
will allow monitoring even without the spooks knocking on your door to
get your disk...
PGP uses RSA only to encode and transmit a "random" DES/IDEA-type session key,
and the rest of the message is encoded only with the session key. The
recipient PGP uses RSA to recover the session key, and then decodes the
rest of the message with the recovered session key.
Say that the "backdoored" PGP is redesigned to only choose session keys from
a large-but-reasonably-brute-forceable set.... [example: only from consecutive
8-byte sequences in the executable image; I'm sure some other more obscure
method can be easily devised].
The result is that there might only be a few hundred thousand possible
session keys- few enough that a brute-force attack with a small array
of workstations might succeed in recovering the session key in a few
minutes to hours.
The only way ViaCrypt can prove that this isn't the case is to distribute
the source code of _their_ product. [Note: they do NOT have to include the
RSA module source- if it's possible to examine the non-RSA code, and
instrument it (to prove that the session key is honestly generated
_AND_ transmitted/recovered correctly) then Thug's tests will be adequate
to verify a lack of backdoors (as far as I can see- but I'm perhaps not
as devious as a professional).