Rich Freeman on 18 Sep 2013 06:15:50 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] encryption

On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 9:02 AM, Ed Roper <> wrote:
> NSA openly admits one of the goals of its new huge utah data center is to be
> able to crack 256 bit AES. I gotta imagine PGP is on that hitlist too :

In my experience you usually don't build big supercomputers unless you
are pretty sure you can write the software that will use them.  I'm
amazed that they talk openly about this stuff.

If they have a goal of cracking 256-bit AES, and they're spending
billions on a supercomputer to implement it, then I think there is a
pretty high likelihood that they know of a weakness in the cipher that
they can exploit.  It might take them days/weeks per key, but they
probably have a practical solution.  That kind of scale seems really
big for a research project.

Of course, it is also possible that they're lying about the target -
some other cipher like RSA might be the actual target.  Even so, it
seems likely that they have a solution for something.  Or maybe the
whole cryptanalysis story is a cover for some other intensive use of
supercomputing power (realtime facial recognition and logging of every
closed circuit camera in the country, etc?).  Actually, facial
recognition is an easily distributed problem, so I don't think that
really calls for a supercomputer.

Bottom line is that somebody is doing a whole lot of some kind of computation...

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