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Hacker Attack

Hacker Attack

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Published by dangkyne

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Published by: dangkyne on Mar 17, 2010
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2830ch18.qxd 8/28/00 4:43 PM Page 197

Recall that traditional encipherment always suffers from a terrible weakness.Some-
body can get hold of the enciphering/deciphering method,or they can get hold of a key.
Either way,the system is compromised.

Traditional enciphering systems always require that the two communicating people first
exchange a key and agree on an enciphering process in advance.The great problem with
this exchange of keys or processes is that somebody—the eavesdropper—could be hiding
behind the closet door listening to your exchange.Or a courier carrying a secret key in a
locked bag could peek.Or somebody could intercept an e-mail message.Ways to compro-
mise the security of traditional encryption systems are many.And you have no way ofknow-
ing whether or not your system was,in fact,compromised.
Eavesdroppers don’t usually leave a
mark on a conversation they overhear or something they simply read as it passes by.

So you must go ahead and use your DES system,insecure in the knowledge that your
copy of the key,or your message’s recipient’s copy of the key,might well be known by a
third party.There’s really no way to know that someone did not eavesdrop,is there? Even
when you use RSA,where everyone has a private key,how do you know that some
intruder has not located and now possesses one or more of those private keys?

As you saw in Chapter 17,even if you’re using Microsoft’s latest Windows2000
RSA-based system,you are still asked to back up your private key by saving it in a file on
a diskette,and then hide that disketteas best you can.Do you really imagine that a highly
motivated spy will have any problems locating your secret hiding place? All this doesn’t
matter much when we’re dealing with our personal secrets because their discovery can’t
likely topple governments (unless you’re Monica Lewinsky or something).But for
important national security communications,or sensitive business secrets,you want a sys-
tem that’s based on something more secure than shoving a floppy diskette under some
stuff in your desk drawer.

What does quantum encryption have to offer us? A pair of entangled photons is created.
A transmitting machine can specify one of four polarizations for this photon pair.One of
the photons is transmitted,and one stays with the sender.Their polarization is compared.
You and your friend on the other end of the communication both measure the polarization.

This permits you to detect anyone who is listening in on the transmission because the
uncertainty principle revealed that the simple act of merely viewing one of the photons in
an entangled pair disentangles them.It’s very noticeable,like an alarm going off.

This whole effect is similar to the fact that if someone is being watched,they behave
differently than they do when they are alone.Studies have shown that scratching,for
example,is far less common and done far more discreetly if you know that you’re being

Chapter 18 • Hiding Data in Photon Streams


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On the quantum level,the mere act of observation is detectable.

So,if a message being sent via photons gets distorted by the time it’s received,you
know someone else is listening and you can shut down the photon transmission and try
again later.

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