DailyDirt: Cracking Codes The Old Fashioned Way
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Government code-cracking projects are usually depicted in movies as super-secret endeavors where brilliant minds create amazing algorithms that are decades ahead of anything else out there. The truth is probably closer to a room full of monkeys typing away randomly, occasionally getting bits of Shakespeare, combined with some average IT folks just collecting as much data as they can from the software backdoors that have been put in place in the most commonly-used applications. (So much for Area 51 conspiracy theorists and their ilk.) Brute force methods might be the best we can do, and here are just a few links related to breaking some encryption schemes.
- The NSA has been openly working on developing a quantum computer that could crack codes much faster than conventional high performance computing efforts. Experts predict true quantum computing is anywhere from 3 to 25 years away... and it's probably further away since state-of-the-art spying techniques seem to use backdoors and wrenches rather than any super-sophisticated algorithms. [url]
- Quantum computing isn't quite magic. It still has physical limits, such as requirements for ultra-precise time keeping and complex maintenance of the quantum states of sizable arrays of atoms/molecules/particles. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. [url]
- Some mathematicians once thought that the NSA could secretly have a way to factor large numbers in polynomial time. Academic mathematicians are probably not lagging their peers in classified government research, but there might still be some secret algorithms known only to the NSA that are better than concepts like Karmarkar's algorithm. [url]