[cryptome] Re: 3 Cryptographers at Dinner Mathematical Model

  • From: Jason Iannone <jason.iannone@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 14:10:26 -0700


While I have no direct information, history and common sense suggest that
a failure of operational security rather than a failure of tools is to
blame. Your scenario talks to that as well. Investigative techniques can
validate and deanonymize users of a tool before they make use of it.
That¹s not to discredit the very interesting attack surface presented by
the exit node selection criteria that Tor utilizes, but any exploits
utilizing such a feature would likely be added to the pile rather than
represent a key point of entry. Driving known targets to your sniffer box
is more valuable when you know which flows are theirs.


-----Original Message-----
From: doug <douglasrankine2001@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: <cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 10:35 AM
To: <cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [cryptome] 3 Cryptographers at Dinner Mathematical Model

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:
for some stuff on Hitler and his leading Chamberlain up the garden path
pre Second world War, or the fact that Churchill and Roosevelt's secure
communication system was broken by the Germans.

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.


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[1].
> 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[2].
> [1] 
> 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
>> more freedom to get on with whatever they are doing.
>> Personally my view is if one wants to maximise operational security (
>> call it opsec in future) then it behoves them to get their hands dirtly
>> 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
>> ball game from ordinary users using it thinking that their activities,
>> or otherwise will be anonymous, is a product of too much cannabis oil.
>> has different functions for different people and organisations.  It is
>> to hide the activities of spooks behind the activities of other users,
>> thinking is that the more of the public that use it, the easier it is
>> them to hide.  rAnother advantage is that if enough of the security
>> community is convince, then they will recommend its use to every one
>> 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
>> spreading human rights, American, British and Western style, all over
>> dictatorial world.  However, the growth of the technology, the
>>cheapness of
>> software and storage and the increasing sophistication and wealth
>> on intelligence and security in the world community has undermined any
>> superficial safety in using such software as TOR, truecrypt and some
>> operating systems, in my view.  I am not an expert in such matters,
>> particularly the technical side, but so often in history people have
>> misled into thinking that their communications are secure that they have
>> been sorely decieved when "the weel laid plans o' mice and men,  gang
>> astray..."  as Robert Burns said in "To A Mouse", and they finish up
>> 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
>> or intelligence agencies want to access such information then they can.
>> All
>> encrypted communications are recorded until they are deciphered...as
>> All TOR communications, from going to the website, downloading and
>> installing, as well as using are monitored. Wouldn't you, if your
>> put you in charge of the safety security and intelligence on  behalf of
>> people and government?  It's a bit naive to think otherwise, in my
>> 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
>> then the activity is recorded, if not acknowledged. Those are the
>> 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
>> not know exactly where the bubbles arise when the container boils, one
>> when it will boil, the length of time it takes to boil and one can
>> the degree of entropy and the physical emergence of the bubbles of gas
>> the liquid topography.  Doesn't take a lot to find out the cause and
>> Studying the materials at Bletchley Park methods are still of much
>> 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
>> which were really important, everything from user mistakes and habits,
>> user locality, from timing and types of coding, from frequency of
>> transmission and patterns within the signals, to different kinds of
>> 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
>> today, particularly mathematically and statistically, the software and
>> storage are so cheap, and many brilliant and educated minds are put
>> 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
>> 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
>> to improve.   The safety of the system compared with the privacy and
>> security of the individual is deemed more important, though they would
>> that they are protecting both. The fear and the pressure is too great
>> 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
>> as analytical thinking can sometimes get in the way of truth and
>> 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
>> in the natural processes of historical development in the name of
>> anti-communism, anti-Cuba, anti-Sovietism and now anti-Russia and
>> and anti Islam and pro western democratic belief systems means, just
>> that "Inside the CIA" book of the 1970's about Latin America, the world
>> international politics will remain a morass and a jungle, with the rule
>> law, international, or national, playing little role, with plots and
>> blowing up in the faces of the perpetrators as well as destroying the
>> of the innocent.  Did the US intervention in Latin America change the
>> 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
>> of the United States in a better world economic, political and
>> and cultural position in the world of today...who knows.  Hollywood has
>> the answers.
>> Just a few thoughts on the current developments.
>> ATB
>> Dougie.
>> --

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