Hi Jason,Not being a mathematician or a logician, I can't argue the point...wouldn't know how to. However, the problem I have with mathematical modelling is that it is limited by its nature...i.e. the limitation of numbers compared with words. It's like computer modelling of the environment. Global warming and Doomsday all rolled into one, depending on how one sets the parameters. it is no good having anonymity and unbreakable encryption if the anonymity is not secure. Over a period of time, as the scenario develops, along comes one system, only to be outdone by another system.
I notice that the article is getting on a bit. Let me put a different scenario. 3 cryptographers decide to have a secret dinner at a secret hotel. They are going to discuss software like TOR and decide to prove that TOR works by using it anonymously and one of them, yet to be decided will be paying it via Bitcoin. They have used anonymising software and a variety of methods to communicate with one another. they are all experts in TOR...which means that each one of them must have used it. As they have all used it, then they all went to the website to download it, or find out more about it.
Unbeknownst to them, the NSA, The CIA, The FBI and the Chinese Intelligence State Corporation, already knows that they are having a meeting, when it is, and what the topic is, and even have copies of the menu. Accordingly, they have arranged for the waiter to listen in, and for the Maitre D'Hotel to take the payment on his card machine, which has been compromised by all 4 intelligence services. The windows are bugged, the dinner table is bugged, their cars bugged with travel information Not only that, but one of the cryptographers works for GCHQ, the other for Mossad and the third one for the Chinese intelligence Agency. The French have got wind of it and a honey trap set up for after the meeting, for the one who has paid the bill....
As happened at Bletchley, it wasn't just the cracking of the codes, using brute force, Collossus, or the bombes...it was the cribs and all the other methods which was used. Some encryption was easy to break, it wasn't all that important, other encryption was much more difficult, particularly that at the highest governmental decision making levels. See url:
I see on cryptome that the FBI and the CIA use and trust TOR to get them anonymity on social networks. The more people that use TOR, then the more credibility it gets and the more they can hide behind the nodes. They trust it. It allows them to work on the dark web. I can see why they trust it...because, unlike most of the rest of us they are the only ones who have the tools, the resources and the facilities to break it. It is a crypto-war between the world's intelligence and security services, and if any of them puts a back door into any of their secure software, then it isn't long before the others either get to hear about it, or find out for themselves.
ATB Dougie. On 11/11/14 16:21, Jason Iannone wrote:
The author of the Pando article spends a great deal of time discussing the motivation for developing tor and tying the developers to defense. While those ties are interesting and notable, saddling the first thirty paragraphs with this information leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The discussion of exit node management and the protocol's focus on performance are key. NSA's efforts to build in weakness are well known and it's not much of a stretch to associate built-in weakness to the decision to favor high performance nodes. The fact that tor has many use cases doesn't mean its broken. In fact, the government use case may be one of its more valuable selling points. If it's good enough for CIA, it's good enough for me. The foundation is, so far as we know, solid.  http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/ST/crypto-review/documents/dualec_in_X982_and_sp800-90.pdf https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/23931727/Dining%20Cryptographers%20-%20Chaum.pdf On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 7:49 AM, Shaun O'Connor <capricorn8159@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:that was a good one Douggie and I agree entirely with your sentiments on privacy, security etc. what bothers me is the way people are being misled into entrusting their privacy to third parties in the mistaken belief that so doing will give them more freedom to get on with whatever they are doing. Personally my view is if one wants to maximise operational security ( i'll call it opsec in future) then it behoves them to get their hands dirtly and learn the craft rather then rely on someone else to do it for them. there is always a tradeoff between convenience and control. ATB Shaun ps Will look at the links later . On 11/11/2014 13:08, doug wrote: http://pando.com/2014/07/16/tor-spooks/ I thought that this was an interesting article. I don't use TOR, I have never tried it because I know its origins...and I can't think of any knowledge or activities I pursue as being so valuable or secret as to be a threat to the state. Using technology for hiding the online activities of spooks is a different ball game from ordinary users using it thinking that their activities, legal or otherwise will be anonymous, is a product of too much cannabis oil. TOR has different functions for different people and organisations. It is used to hide the activities of spooks behind the activities of other users, the thinking is that the more of the public that use it, the easier it is for them to hide. rAnother advantage is that if enough of the security community is convince, then they will recommend its use to every one else. The US government gives such stuff away to liberation fighters and revolutionaries whilst its private enterprise sells the antidotes to the software to those very secret services to which it is opposed. And the politicians, in my view, know very little about it, believing that they are spreading human rights, American, British and Western style, all over the dictatorial world. However, the growth of the technology, the cheapness of software and storage and the increasing sophistication and wealth expended on intelligence and security in the world community has undermined any superficial safety in using such software as TOR, truecrypt and some secure operating systems, in my view. I am not an expert in such matters, particularly the technical side, but so often in history people have been misled into thinking that their communications are secure that they have been sorely decieved when "the weel laid plans o' mice and men, gang aft astray..." as Robert Burns said in "To A Mouse", and they finish up with their homes, their lives and their families, as well as their dreams destroyed. Apart from communications with my banks, I don't use encryption, though I have experimented with it a little bit. I know of old that if the security or intelligence agencies want to access such information then they can. All encrypted communications are recorded until they are deciphered...as policy. All TOR communications, from going to the website, downloading and installing, as well as using are monitored. Wouldn't you, if your mission put you in charge of the safety security and intelligence on behalf of the people and government? It's a bit naive to think otherwise, in my humble opinion. When using the internet, one has to access it at some point, and that is generally through an ISP and an i.p. address, the same thing occurs when one receives a communication. It doesn't matter whether it is a phone, or a laptop, even a wireless connection. As soon as one goes onto the internet then the activity is recorded, if not acknowledged. Those are the weakest points in my view. When one boils a kettle one knows where the energy comes from, one knows that the kettle is a container, and, though one may not know exactly where the bubbles arise when the container boils, one knows when it will boil, the length of time it takes to boil and one can record the degree of entropy and the physical emergence of the bubbles of gas into the liquid topography. Doesn't take a lot to find out the cause and effect. Studying the materials at Bletchley Park methods are still of much relevance in my view. see url: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/ There is plenty of stuff on the website, well worth a visit and lots of links to all sorts of information, from books to memoirs and memories. Encryption wasn't the only system which got cracked there. It was the cribs which were really important, everything from user mistakes and habits, to user locality, from timing and types of coding, from frequency of transmission and patterns within the signals, to different kinds of coding and encyphering machinery. It wasn't all about betrayal by agents. All of those, and more, were collated, subjected to analysis and disparate findings put together, to provide a cohesive picture of the intentions, habits and wherewithalls of the enemy (or friendly and not so friendly alien). I dare say that there are even more sophisticated methods around today, particularly mathematically and statistically, the software and storage are so cheap, and many brilliant and educated minds are put together collectively in huge warehouses and think tanks to solve the problems. Poachers become gamekeepers and vikki verki. From recent utterings by various personalities, political leaders and senior officers of agencies involved in the collection of information and its analysis, they aren't about to stop any time soon, and I cannot see a situation in the near future where personal privacy and security are going to improve. The safety of the system compared with the privacy and security of the individual is deemed more important, though they would say that they are protecting both. The fear and the pressure is too great for all information, all data not to be collected so that governments aren't taken by surprise. We also know of course, that governments, more often than not, often do get taken by surprise, even when the information is presented to them on a plate...they don't believe it, much in the same way as analytical thinking can sometimes get in the way of truth and reality. Belief systems play a very important role, compared with evidence based, factual analysis, I have noticed. Also, the temptation to go that one step further and to continue interfering in the natural processes of historical development in the name of anti-communism, anti-Cuba, anti-Sovietism and now anti-Russia and anti-China and anti Islam and pro western democratic belief systems means, just like that "Inside the CIA" book of the 1970's about Latin America, the world of international politics will remain a morass and a jungle, with the rule of law, international, or national, playing little role, with plots and plants blowing up in the faces of the perpetrators as well as destroying the lives of the innocent. Did the US intervention in Latin America change the course of history? Did it save the world from Communism and bring about human rights and democracy to the peoples of the world? Did it leave the people of the United States in a better world economic, political and sociological and cultural position in the world of today...who knows. Hollywood has all the answers. Just a few thoughts on the current developments. ATB Dougie. -- PRIVACY IS A BASIC RIGHT - NOT A CONCESSION