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From: toddtowles at brookshires.com (Todd Towles)
Subject: Re: Re-write with security in mind all ops.

It is a never ending battle. Crackers and hash/encryption algorithms,
stealth and radar, viruses and anti-virus.

The war must be continued. If encyption was built into the underlying
subsystem of modern operating systems (without a huge hit on
performance), then the security of systems world wide would increase.
Strong encryption on interprocess communcation would be a good start
(yet the service passwords are still in the registry ;)

Will this stop the cracker that will sit on your WEP for a year to
access your one wireless pc at the house. No. But it is another loop to
make them step thru, and none of us like loops. =) 

-----Original Message-----
From: full-disclosure-admin@...ts.netsys.com
[mailto:full-disclosure-admin@...ts.netsys.com] On Behalf Of Feher Tamas
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2004 1:42 PM
To: full-disclosure@...ts.netsys.com
Subject: [Full-Disclosure] Re: Re-write with security in mind all ops.

>It wouldn't be that hard, just no unencrypted traffic and no 
>unencrypted interprocess communication.
>Spammers and bozos would have to work a lot harder

Except for important crypto was broken... nothing is safe:

http://www.computerworld.com/printthis/2004/0,4814,95343,00.html

"Opinion: Cryptanalysis of MD5 and SHA: Time for a new standard by Bruce
Schneier, Counterpane, 19 Aug 2004

Crypto researchers report weaknesses in common hash functions

At the Crypto 2004 conference in Santa Barbara, Calif., this week,
researchers announced several weaknesses in common hash functions.
These results, while mathematically significant, aren't cause for alarm.
But even so, it's probably time for the cryptography community to get
together and create a new hash standard.

One-way hash functions are a cryptographic construct used in many
applications. They are used with public-key algorithms for both
encryption and digital signatures. They are used in integrity checking.
They are used in authentication. They have all sorts of applications in
a great many different protocols. Much more than encryption algorithms,
one-way hash functions are the workhorses of modern cryptography.

In 1990, Ron Rivest invented the hash function MD4. In 1992, he improved
on MD4 and developed another hash function: MD5. In 1993, the National
Security Agency published a hash function very similar to MD5, called
the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA). Then in 1995, citing a newly discovered
weakness that it refused to elaborate on, the NSA made a change to SHA.
The new algorithm was called SHA-1. Today, the most popular hash
function is SHA-1, with MD5 still being used in older applications.

One-way hash functions are supposed to have two properties. One, they're
one-way. This means that it's easy to take a message and compute the
hash value, but it's impossible to take a hash value and re- create the
original message. (By "impossible," I mean "can't be done in any
reasonable amount of time.") Two, they're collision-free. This means
that it's impossible to find two messages that hash to the same hash
value. The cryptographic reasoning behind these two properties is
subtle, and I invite curious readers to learn more in my book Applied
Cryptography.

Breaking a hash function means showing that either -- or both -- of
those properties aren't true. Cryptanalysis of the MD4 family of hash
functions has proceeded in fits and starts over the past decade or so,
with results against simplified versions of the algorithms and partial
results against the whole algorithms.

This year, Eli Biham and Rafi Chen, and separately Antoine Joux,
announced some pretty impressive cryptographic results against MD5 and
SHA. Collisions have been demonstrated in SHA. And there are rumors,
unconfirmed at this writing, of results against SHA-1.

The magnitude of these results depends on who you are. If you're a
cryptographer, this is a huge deal. While not revolutionary, these
results are substantial advances in the field. The techniques described
by the researchers are likely to have other applications, and we'll be
better able to design secure systems as a result. This is how the
science of cryptography advances: We learn how to design new algorithms
by breaking other algorithms. In addition, algorithms from the NSA are
considered a sort of alien technology: They come from a superior race
with no explanations. Any successful cryptanalysis against an NSA
algorithm is an interesting data point in the eternal question of how
good they really are in there.

As a user of cryptographic systems -- as I assume most readers are --
this news is important, but not particularly worrisome. MD5 and SHA
aren't suddenly insecure. No one is going to be breaking digital
signatures or reading encrypted messages anytime soon with these
techniques. The electronic world is no less secure after these
announcements than it was before.

But there's an old saying inside the NSA: "Attacks always get better;
they never get worse." These techniques will continue to improve, and
probably someday there will be practical attacks based on these
techniques.

It's time for us all to migrate away from SHA-1.

Luckily, there are alternatives. The National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) already has standards for longer --and
harder-to-
break -- hash functions: SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384 and SHA-512. They're
already government standards and can already be used. This is a good
stopgap, but I'd like to see more.

I'd like to see NIST orchestrate a worldwide competition for a new hash
function, like it did for the new encryption algorithm, Advanced
Encryption Standard, to replace Data Encryption Standard.
NIST should
issue a call for algorithms and conduct a series of analysis rounds,
where the community analyzes the various proposals with the intent of
establishing a new standard.

Most of the hash functions we have and all the ones in widespread use
are based on the general principles of MD4. Clearly we've learned a lot
about hash functions in the past decade, and I think we can start
applying that knowledge to create something even more secure.

Better to do it now, when there's no reason to panic, than years from
now, when there might be."

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