Friday, November 29, 2013 - 00:13

Snowden's doomsday cache and some BS

Reuters reported on Monday on a secret that's circulating for quite some time now. Snowden's supposed doomsday cache of dirty little NSA secrets. While this isn't really a secret and certainly more than just likely Reuters has a nice spin to it that makes you wonder.

What we knew so far is this part.

"If anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he has arranged for them to get access to the full archives," 

We know this from Greenwald. And it makes perfect sense to keep the material around at various locations for a number of people to potentially access it once they have the decryption keys.

The two parts where it gets a little bit awkward are these two. 

The passwords are in the possession of at least three different people and are valid for only a brief time window each day, they said. The identities of persons who might have the passwords are unknown.

As much as time based access is a great feature for vaults in banks it's a much less great feature in this case. First of all there's absolutely no fucking point in doing that. The reason why money vaults in banks can only be accessed at certain times is not really a security feature in the closer sense as it does not add to the security of the vault. It's more of a deterrence. If you don't know the opening times there's no point to rob the bank. It's security by obscurity. It helps because most bank robbers are idiots.

If you give one of your contacts encrypted data to publish it whenever something happens you probably want him to actually access it once something happened. There's no point in having him wait until 5 o'clock. Further there's a slight risk of water-boarding here.

The person would obviously need to know the exact times when he could access the data. This is information that can easily be extracted by application of violence. It doesn't really add to the security of the data.

This is equally true for the bank. The difference here is that your average idiot of a bank robber probably doesn't want to stay for another 6 hours whereas the CIA most likely wouldn't mind to keep you around for a while.

The crown jewel however is this one

One former senior U.S. official said that the Chinese and Russians have cryptographers skilled enough to open the cache if they find it.

Apparently the Chinese and the Russians are pretty awesome. Snowden appears to be sufficiently skilled to avoid a blunder. Assuming he did not there's no reason to believe Chinese or Russian cryptographers can achieve what no one else can. To break properly applied sophisticated encryption. The trick with sophisticated encryption usually is that it is supposed to stay sophisticated in the not so unlikely event it is intercepted. It is the primary purpose of any sophisticated encryption. I'd guess the problem here isn't really with the Chinese or Russians. It's more with that former senior U.S. official being a tit and a genuine fear monger.

The Chinese and Russian scam is going on for quite some time now and the story is getting a beard. The sole purpose of this BS is to discredit Snowden at home. I'm already amazed they didn't stamp him a communist and started a witch-hunt.

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