Cryptography-Digest Digest #541, Volume #14       Wed, 6 Jun 01 19:13:01 EDT

  Crypto Survey May 2001 by Markku J. Saarelainen (Mark J S)
  Re: Best, Strongest Algorithm (gone from any reasonable topic) (Mok-Kong Shen)
  Re: Best, Strongest Algorithm (gone from any reasonable topic) (JPeschel)


Subject: Crypto Survey May 2001 by Markku J. Saarelainen
Date: 6 Jun 2001 15:57:58 -0700



Cryptographic Survey, May 2001, Markku J. Saarelainen




The major societal development since the 1st and 2nd crypto surveys in
1996 and 1997 has been the removal of many regulatory barriers for
open trading of cryptographic products in the North America and
globally. In addition, the number of cryptographic applications and
component implementations has increased, while at the same time the
variety of different types of solutions has risen. This does not
necessarily mean the wider use of encryption in businesses and
personal activities. Many same or similar behavioral barriers for the
effective utilization of many security solutions still exist limiting
the protection of communications, data storage and networking. In
addition, the lack of the interoperability between solutions from
different suppliers tends to decrease the number of effective
cryptography users worldwide. It is clear that the awareness for
encrypted communication and protected information activities has
increased, while necessary regulatory changes for protecting entities
from security vulnerabilities has enabled cryptographic product
suppliers to satisfy market requirements in the U.S.A., in the North
America and globally. However, regulatory and cultural differences
exist from one nation or region to another creating a global
unbalanced situation of the security use, which has the reducing
effect on security practices and policy implementations of any global
entity in different regions. This impacts on the interoperability of
units of global entities. It is likely that there shall be greater
competing drives in the information technology market place between
different security strategies and approaches from different software
and hardware product and security suppliers.

QUESTION 1. In your opinion, what are the 5-10 most significant
applications of encryption technologies currently in commercial

1. HTTP over SSL (aka HTTPS) / SSL for credit card processing / SSL /
Web-activity privacy (SSL)
2. IPsec
3. RSA Secure ID (maybe)        
4. Online Credit Card Processing & Financial Transfers
5. VPNs / Virtual Private Networks for widely distributed offices /
VPN for remote access to Intranet
6. Email encryption (via PGP/GPG or SMIME) / Encrypted Messages /
Email Privacy
7. Digital signing authentication of messages
8. Consensus and voting software (not now but give it 5 years)
9. Encrypted file systems for sensitive data
10. Signing software for installation
11. Signing email messages to show official authority
12. Wireless local area network encryption
13. Password protection/access control
14. Data protection
15. Session protection (VPN's)
16. Authentication and authorization / Customer authentication (e.g.
PIN checking)
17. Securing B2B file exchange
18. PKI
19. Remote secure teleworking
20. Digital signatures
21. Time-stamping

QUESTION 2. In your opinion, what are 5-10 main barriers currently
that may prevent the successful implementation and utilization
of encryption technologies in commercial enterprises? 

1. Ignorance of risks prevents purchase
2. Dishonest portrayal of product (i.e.: false security claims and
blatant product holes in end-to-end protection) promotes distrust in
the whole
3. Most products are a waste of time because they are not a
comprehensive solution - e.g.: why bother using PGP when there is
nothing in any NAI products to protect against back-office-style
electronic eavesdropping attacks?
4. Many people do not care about cryptography and/or security products
5. Having lived happily without serious protection for a long while,
most customers believe there is no point retrofitting an expensive
solution for a problem they do not have (and many of them are probably
6. Lack of knowledge by decision-maker
7. Low knowledge level of users
8. Lack of knowledge by computer scientists
9. Lack of complete standards (S/MIME to be extended, ...)
10. Cost
11. It is too hard to use / complexity / Not transparent enough and
made user hard to use.
12. Difficult and complex configurations.
13. Diversity of enterprise
14. Trained security personnel
15. Commercial operating systems are too difficult to secure and hence
there is no such thing as a rusted base
16. No widely accepted standard for smart cards or tokens
17. No facility for reading smart cards or tokens on mass market PCs
18. Character limit on Microsoft passwords
19. Bad advice on password generation
20. Unjustified prices for non-commodity products
21. Confused security market - lack of standards and best practices,
everyone is trying to define their own market segment and different
way to solve the same common problem.
22. Protectiveness of public sector - local solutions are preferred
23. No. 1 is the need of users training, as they tend not to
understand too well what procedures are for encryption.  This can mean
huge resources/budgeting requirements and the aftermath of running
Helpdesk support.
24. Key distribution is also a major consideration for large user
groups.  PKI seems to address this problem but it brings forth more
problems of its own.  PKI is not simple to set up in a production
environment and certificates rollout is a noted issue. 
Incompatibility issues with various PKI vendors' product may bring
down the whole PKI project.  Very often customers are forced into
accepting single PKI supplier solution.  PKI related standards abound
but incompatibility is still with us.  Also an issue is the
insufficient supply of security professional to serve customers'
25. Lack of PKI or alternative
26. Expensive charges by digital certificate issuers
27. Difficulty of users managing passwords
28. Failures of interoperability between vendors implementing
29. IS department sees encryption as a limit on its monitoring
30. Users lack of security knowledge
31. Interoperability between heterogeneous systems
32. Not aware of the importance of security
33. Complex key management 
34. Inefficiency
35. Most existing Public Key infrastructures are based on deeply
flawed models of trust.  They abandon the idea of trust and aim to
prove identity instead - but fail to do even that since Verisign, etc,
do not adequately protect themselves from fraud.
36. There are too few key authorities and the business has substantial
barriers to entry.  Basically, if you cannot get your root key into
the default configuration of the majority browser (for which the
software company that makes the majority browser will charge a very
large amount of money) then your key authority is a non-starter. This
creates a monopoly environment in which customers are being
drastically overcharged and underserved for their key certificates,
and also creates targets for hacking, fraud, or legal compromise,
which would cause enormous damage if compromised.
37. The non-centralized key authorities favored by PGP et al are a
better trust model and don't suffer from the few-points-of-attack
problem, but they are being killed by apathy.  The "web of trust" is
longer a web, it's a bunch of teeny bits of webbing blowing hither and
38. Software Patents.  Software patents have necessitated creating
multiple incompatible versions of many things that ought to be public
infrastructure and utilities by now.  As long as users of one version
of PGP can't read or verify messages created by another, due to
software patents, all versions of PGP have diminished utility.
39. Development practices.  It is almost impossible to write secure
code using what is now considered "ordinary" Object-oriented
programming.  GUI's and windowing systems have so many deep security
flaws that security is nearly impossible unless these things are
reimplemented from the ground up.  In particular, every windowing
system on the market makes it possible to monitor keystrokes intended
for a different program, and none even have an option to "clear"
memory of what's on the screen before releasing the memory back to the
system where another program can allocate it.
40. Protocol Impoverishment.  There are many useful protocols that
have been discussed and discovered, but very *VERY* few of them have
ever seen a robust or publicly available implementation.

QUESTION 3. What are activities and projects that can be initiated and
taken to lower and reduce above barriers (see the question 2.)?

1. Introduce a new government law which makes security companies 100%
liable and responsible for all damage and losses that occur as a
result of their software failing to perform the purpose it was sold
for, and failing to live up to their advertised claims. This will
force product vendors to revise their claims, remove the lies from
their packaging, and cause them to have to print lengthy explanations
of what threats their products can not withstand.  This will give
customers an opportunity to understand what risks they really face
after using various products and an opportunity to seriously compare
different products pre-purchase.
2. Education and training
3. Consulting or outsourcing of enterprise security
4. More publicity
5. Standardization
6. Integration of security products into mass-market software
7. There is little we can do about the end-users, I think time is the
best cure here.  Imagine asking the government or any organization to
provide free training on security practices to all.  Hopefully, users
will see encryption
is a tool to protect them and help them rather than something
hindering their work and therefore must fight against.  On the
(encryption) technology side I believe the industry can do something
to help the poor users and itself as a side bonus.  It would be much
easier for security integrators if different vendors work together
making their solutions friendlier to each other.  I notice this trend
has started already but I think it is not enough.  There should be
some form of non-vendor affiliated body that run some certification
scheme to endorse/state "what product from which vendor is compatible
with who" sort of reference.
8. Remove the barriers listed in Question 2
9. Develop an alternate Internet based on secure technology.
10. Education project to be launched in include cryptography in
engineering and computer scientist basic school programs.
11. A widely accepted, free certificate issuer would solve the PKI and
certificate-expense problems.  This could be a government service.
12. Simplification of security standards and focusing on profiles,
which represent limited but functional subsets will help with interop.
13. Most security standards are too complex.
14. Children should begin being trained in school to deal with network
security throughout their lives.  They should learn to memorize
passwords and understand the basic functionality of two key
15. Schools should prepare children for a life where crypto keys are
tools they are as comfortable using as computers.
16. Push a practical PKI for ease of use.
17. Make interface more friendly and transparent to the users.
18. Reduce human interactions.
19. Make configuration easy.
20. Public domain or public-license sw for an extended set of
protocols ought to be developed.  Software patents have become a
"poison pill" to compatibility, so they ought to be avoided and it
ought to be possible to completely avoid them.  GPG and OpenSSH are
the two premier examples of this, and their existence has a lot to do
with the technologies they represent having finally become important.
21. Public awareness of the probability and consequences of failure to
keep data secure.  This is sorely lacking now, although the IT
departments of major companies are finally starting to "get it".
22. Public Key authorities need to be much easier to set up. 
23. Crypto books aimed at kids and amateurs.  The developers stuff is
there already, but it's hard to draw new workers into the field beyond
the stale "spy glamour" thing.  Anyway, kids and amateurs are the
future security pros who can solve the major problems with software
and etc; we just need more people in the field who are willing to get
their hands dirty and experiment with code. This is one of the most
lopsided fields of software development, where we have *SCADS* of
ideas from academics that no one has had time to properly implement
yet.  We need a lot of implementers to get really fired up about it.






   MAY, 1997

Note: This survey summary contains raw survey results that have NOT
analyzed, evaluated or prioritized. The results are based on comments
and opinions (all of which may not be facts) that were received from
many individuals who responded to the original (October 1996) survey.

QUESTION 1: In your opinion, what are main developments in the
of encryption technologies in commercial enterprises since October,

"The continued government attempts to get 'key recovery', and a
amount of reluctant willingness from business."

"Purely for e-commerce reasons have there been any advancements. The
rest of the encryption world (privacy/freedom etc.) have been
appallingly backward and most governments will tend to hold them

"Network Computers (NCs)."

"Slight easing of export restrictions. Development of several payment
protocols. Increasing adoption of retail commerce over the net as
evidenced by recent IPO of"

"There is some movement towards more advanced mathematics.  The market
is searching for patent free/royalty free encryption.   Governments
attempting to halt it, but are failing miserably."

"Electronic payment via The Internet."

"C2's bypass of the export regulations. The broader adoption of SSL.
Eudora plugins for PGP."

"-SSL has been widely used for the securing of data for a number of
on-line Internet banks.   -Encrypted tunneling products which extend
corporate Intranet/LAN are now becoming widely available. -Smart cards
are finally appearing in North America.  In Canada alone Visa Cash,
Exact (Proton?), and Mondex are going through trials. -SSL is now
used to protect credit card transactions on a number  of internet
sites -The US government continues to support key escrow for exported
encryption.  -Major players (i.e. banks, IBM, MS, HP, VeriFone) are
taking steps to integrate  SET into their range of products. -Future
browsers are going to allow smart cards to Interface with the

QUESTION 2: In your opinion, what are 5-10  main barriers currently
may prevent the successful implementation and utilization of
technologies in commercial enterprises?

"-Legislation and government intervention for strong encryption.
-Unfamiliarity with the technology will produce mistrust of its
reliability. -Safe key-management processes are difficult to achieve.
This will  reduce the security of cryptography and thus its usefulness
for many  applications. -Cryptography is not user-friendly right now.
Until it becomes so  than it is unlikely to achieve widespread usage.
-Licensing fees for cryptographic algorithms are not cheap.  Until
patents expire for things like the RSA public key algorithm the  costs
of developing reliable cryptographic products will remain high. -
are a large number of cryptographic products with no clear standards

"Export regulations."

"Lack of perceived need."

"Lack of expertise among engineers and technicians."

"a) Lack of interest in security b) Concentration on cost c) Lack of
ready-to-use cheap tools d) Legislation and potential legislation e)
Patents and licensing issues"

"Government inadequacies in legislation, Vendors propensity to hand
private keys to government (extrapolate that to insecurity when a
working for a vendor is bribed to give out a private key), Costs,
reluctance in encryption (FUD factor)"

"Threats to roles of traditional players (e.g., SET's effect on card
issuers)., Seamless integration into products., Education of users.,
Regulatory obstacles. Widespread availability."

"1) ease of use, 2) cost of real security, 3) an understanding of
security details, 4) a lack of understanding the difference between
cryptography and security 5) uncertainty as to what the government

"- exportability (permissions are needed if a product implements
cryptography, and 2 or more versions of the software has to be build),
patents (can't exploit algorithms without negotiating royalties)"

"The governments export restrictions on strong cryptographic

" It is not a question of availability of software, but of
interoperability between systems made/sold in different regions of the

"Government FUD. Ease of use. Cost of training etc. Worry about
of secrets."

QUESTION 3: What are activities and projects that can be initiated and
taken to lower and reduce above barriers (see the question 2.)?

"a)     Wider accurate  publication of security lapses.
  b),c)  Cheap tools fitted for a job.  I just read a Sun catalogue
       where much of the software (including security software)
       has laughable prices.   Get a straightforward Virtual
       Private Network from 100 pounds for a start.
d)     Do strong lobbying and occupy lawmaker's time with other stuff
       when they seem to be going in the wrong direction.
e)     Wait for some important expiry dates.
       Have more reasonable contact with license-holders.
       Bypass licenses by producing new methods that get less

"Continued integration into key products such as Netscape and IE.
Perhaps even into OSes."

"Lowering the barriers to deploying certification authority
infrastructures for use w/in intranets.  (in terms of cost, ease of
administration, etc.), Further efforts at deregulation."

"Lobby governments, Do not place restrictions for vendor based key
management, Push for totally private key systems"

"A not for profit, global, public education group should be created
whose purpose is to help educate businesses.  Secondarily it should
educate the public on the issues of privacy, but the primary goal
be to get all businesses (mainly the small ones) to understand that
simple pains can give a great deal of security, and that the cost is
worth the money and time saved from fraud and theft."

"An e-mail program that a "stoned hippy" could use and still not leak
information is needed.  It would not allow too much flexibility, but
would give "the masses" a hands on feel for what security is and how
crypto plays a role in their everyday life.  Six year old kids and
grandmothers could be using even this simple security level for
It would go a long way because people will ask many questions, and
will get many answers.  It would more rapidly diffuse the information
and education over the populace (world wide)."

"Develop simple and user-friendly ways to use cryptography and manage
keys effectively."

"Reduce the ability for corporations to patent cryptographic
key-management techniques, and anything other than completely unique
cryptographic algorithms.  We don't need research into new
we need open access to refinements of what exists.  If people can
patent  those refinements then it reduces the access people have to
these new technologies at the expense of society at large."

"Eliminate export barriers on strong encryption."

"Education (public): crypto is used for authentication as well as
privacy.  It is *not* military or espionage technology.  It is
(required) enabling technology for tomorrow's information

"Education (professional): principles of information security taught
all relevant courses.  (e.g. computing, telecom, electronics, etc)."

===== Results of the original survey in October, 1996 =======

        SURVEY SUMMARY:  Encryption in Commercial Enterprises

                                        October, 1996


                                  M. J. Saarelainen

SURVEY METHODS BRIEFLY: Three specific questions were sent to several
mailing lists and news groups. The great number of responses was
received. These responses were compiled as received to the list
any priorities) below. No detailed analysis or evaluations were
completed at this time. Please, review these questions and responses
let me know, if you like to add, remove or change something. Thanks.


QUESTION 1. In your opinion, what are the 5-10 most significant
applications of encryption technologies currently in commercial

RESPONSES (# of responses =  29) TO QUESTION 1:

1. Secure E-Mail / Secure E-mail SMTP/POP3 mail client
2. Secure Internet-Shopping
3. Encrypt the entire internet ( encrypting routers etc. )
4. Encrypted file systems - partition for laptops
5. Encrypted voice (cellular, cordless, wireline, voice-over-internet)
6. Secure FAX
7. Point-to-point encrypted links, for corporations using the Internet
as a WAN.
8. EDI (both encryption & authentication), Electronic Data Interchange
9. Secure FTP client/server software
10. Secure FTP client only software
11. Secure UNIX FTP server software
12. Secure File based encryption for HD and Floppy
13. Accounting departments need to ensure their data can't be changed
14. Engineering needs to ensure competition doesn't easily steal ideas
15. Secure login (and insecure, in the case of Unix)
16. Network traffic encryption
17. Local file/data protection (incl. backup protection)
18. Protection of proprietary information while allowing company use
19. Crypto applications as an element in the information security

20. Regional and national electric power exchanges between companies
21. Large investment banks who want to coordinate across their own
organizations and others in significant numbers
22. Healthcare cries out for encryption
23. The military for sensitive non-classified information.
24. Law enforcement is a natural for the internet, if they could agree
on a common security solution.
25. Online banking, online sales and commerce, data protection on
commercial database servers, secure transfer of govt. information, ie.
tax information on citizens.
26. The most widely spread encryption technologies are pgp and
proprietary hardware solutions by different providers like Cylink etc.
SSL is now upcoming.
27. Protection and storage of Archives
28. Person to person communication within an organization.
29. Secure remote communications (over the Internet)


QUESTION 2. In your opinion, what are 5-10  main barriers currently
may prevent the successful implementation and utilization of
technologies in commercial enterprises?

RESPONSES (# of responses = 22)  TO QUESTION 2:

1. Cryptic user interfaces
2. ITAR regulations, Government regulation or restrictions of use of
strong encryption, Government export restrictions for strong

3. Ignorance ( pegasus provides REAL encryption )
4. Lack of knowledge of resources available to Business.
5. Misunderstanding that encryption is complicated.
6. Misunderstanding that encryption is costly.
7. General lack of knowledge as to how to write *strong* encryption
8. Lack of integration of strong encryption so that the user must
learn/know too much in order to use it properly
9. General lack of understanding of the necessity of *strong*

10. Difficult to use
11. Slow speed
12. Complexity makes choices difficult since no one can be a full

13. Workers have to wait for a supervisor
14. A lack of understanding of the technology
15. The lack of good cost-benefit analysis data
16. On the product development side, few companies have both the
engineering and the marketing/industry expertise to successfully make
good secure products which meet real market needs and demands
17. Key Management. The ability for a user to gain authentification
use of cryptographic programs, to access information for which that
person is authorized. Passwords can be forgotten, or copied, verifying
user easily is very difficult.
18. Lack of standards, and most of all lack of good certification
19. The second barrier derives from a missing standard interface in
E-Mail, ftp ... transparently embed widely spread
20. Lack of knowledge of encryption is a big hurdle to it's
implementation.  Non-technical people are required to evaluate the use
of a technological product they may not understand completely.  It's
difficult to put your trust in an algorithm when you don't understand
how it works.
21. Many enterprises may not be aware of how easy it is to begin using
encryption within their organization.
22. Many organizations may not recognize the need to protect
within their organization.  Some may not be aware of how easy it is to
tap into electronic communications.


QUESTION 3. What are activities and projects that can be initiated and
taken to lower and reduce above barriers (see the question 2.)?

RESPONSES (# of responses = 27) TO QUESTION 3:

1. Integrated mail reader with PGP capabilities, easy to use
2. Spreading awareness of how useful strong crypto really is.
3. Spreading awareness of exactly *why* governments seeks to prevent
spread of crypto.
4. Writing strong encryption software and placing it in the public
5. Proving by actual demonstration that existing encryption is
6. Encouraging wealthy crypto advocates to speak freely.
7. Education of users and vendors of the issues
8. Lobbying of governments by aforementioned enlightened users/vendors
9. Different products need to be created which can interoperate
transparently to the user, but not deliver data unless operator is

10. Smart cards which attach to every terminal, the cards go with the
person and they can validate themselves at any terminal
11. Overcoming the complexity barrier requires patient teaching of
12. A set of brochures and pamphlets needs to be created which
most systems in use for a particular level of security
13. A major project would be to simply educate the managers of most
companies about crypto, to remove the magic and bring the whole thing
down to earth
14. Manufacturers need to go to more trouble talking with customers
before designing products and be more creative in finding ways to meet
market needs
15. Security companies also need to audit themselves and demonstrate
that they are trustworthy
16. Better turnkey low-cost enterprise-wide solutions to common
(network encryption, for example) are needed.
17. Make applications easier to use, Build easy to use encryption into
applications so that it is smooth or even transparent to users
18. Universal standards for dual key encryption
19. Reduce strength of encryption to increase speed
20. Large groups of customers must get together and dictate standards
the security industry.
21. The first thing is to implement a transparent interface to
encryption function to all data transfer services.
22. The second would  be to get all suppliers of encryption
to confirm to this standard.
23. I think the best  thing is to initiate a workgroup at The Open
responsible for encryption interfaces.
24. Public Software such as PGP should be widely available.  The more
people are experienced with this software the more likely they are to
use and trust it.
25. Making software like PGP widely available means more than just
making sure copies of it are accessible. It also means making it
user-friendly enough.
26. Education is also required.  I find that very few people really
about these  issues.
27. People need to promote awareness of the current situation.



From: Mok-Kong Shen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: Best, Strongest Algorithm (gone from any reasonable topic)
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 00:56:07 +0200

Tim Tyler wrote:

> Yes it is.  Consider BICOM for example.  It can map a 8 bit cyphertext to
> one of some 2^128 plaintexts - considerably more than your figure of 2^8.

There are in total 2^8 possible ciphertexts. What is
the cardinality of the set of plaintexts that correspond
to them?

M. K. Shen


From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] (JPeschel)
Date: 06 Jun 2001 23:07:01 GMT
Subject: Re: Best, Strongest Algorithm (gone from any reasonable topic)

Mok-Kong Shen [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes, in part:

>The OTP, in the literature that I am familiar with, is
>always considered in the context of being used with

XOR is one operation that can be used with an OTP,
but it is not the only one. 


Joe Peschel 
D.O.E. SysWorks                        



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