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[ISN] Prepare for 'post-crypto world', warns godfather of encryption
By John Leyden
1st March 2013
Cryptography is 'becoming less important' because of state-sponsored malware,
according to one of the founding fathers of public-key encryption.
Turing award-winning cryptographer Adi Shamir (the S in RSA) said the whole
basis of modern cryptography is under severe strain from attacks on security
infrastructure such as the attack on app whitelisting firm Bit9 and problems
with certificate authorities such as Turktrust, two recent examples of trends
that have been going on for some years.
"I definitely believe cryptography is becoming less important," Shamir said.
"Intelligence gathering services around the world are going through a phase
shift. In the 19th century if you wanted to know the plans of Napoleon you need
a CIA-type agent next to him. In the 20th century if you wanted to know the
plans of Hitler during the Second World War you had listen to the communication
and break the crypto, this was an NSA-type operation."
In the 21st century these approaches are becoming less useful, with hacking and
Advanced Persistent Threat-type attacks featuring spear-phishing and custom
malware becoming more important to spies, according to Shamir. The US is
quadrupling the size of its cyber-combat unit for a reason, he said.
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