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Bardfinn1604 karma

Tell us about "flushable" wipes?

Bardfinn1378 karma

Thank you for asking this question.

I'm a computer scientist, and while my speciality is not in the field, I follow very closely the disciplines of trustability and verifiability in software and architecture.

Linus Torvald's response to this, while incredibly tone-deaf, is technically correct: a correctly-designed kernel will mix many sources of entropy, thereby negating reasonably-derivable advantages from subtly hijacking (passively weakening) one source. For most of us, this is an acceptable use scenario. The problem comes up when considering people and organisations whom the United States government (or anyone who holds sway over certain Intel employees) wish to actively subvert the communications of.

The reason the BSD engineers have removed rdrand and VIA Padlock as sources of entropy, is because there are concerns that they may be aware of the machine state, be configurable to detect when key generation is being performed, and may be configurable to assess the machine state and produce data that are designed to fully or partially negate the entropy from other sources, in an in-auditable fashion.

So long as encryption engines in silicon remain black boxes, produced by corporations under the legal (or extralegal) sway of a state actor, they remain ultimately untrustable for the purpose of reliably producing high-entropy data for cryptographic purposes — because the questions will always be, ultimately, who controls Intel's public key infrastructure and who do they want to subvert the communications security of?

Trustable, reliable encryption technology does not tolerate the forced inclusion of third-parties who hold escrowed keys to critical portions of the infrastructure and whose motives, politics, and regulation are unknown and who are unaccountable.

There is no technical reason why separate silicon, mounted on an external PCB, encapsulated in optically-clear resin that would allow automated visual verification of the integrity of the logic, could not be manufactured and integrated into every personal computing device manufactured today — most cellular devices carry a SIM card in a slot.

Only when the entire encryption system of a device is auditable against a well-tested, open-sourced standard, and can be easily and inexpensively migrated to another set of dedicated silicon logic, will people be able to communicate without the reasonable spectre of powerful entities eavesdropping and manipulating their communications.

EDIT: I AM NOT BRIAN KRZANICH. I apologise for any inadvertent confusion.

Edit edit: /u/scottlawson has some excellent technical criticism (that I think deserves attention) of what I've proposed, here. There is no technical reason that a government couldn't secretly compromise some of these modules I propose — I ask that society and technology prevents them from economically justifying dragnet surveillance of the entire populace, instead of (as it should be) individuals targeted by due process of law.

Bardfinn725 karma

Good enough for me. Your neighbours are unAmerican. I salute you!

Bardfinn445 karma

Follow up — one kaiju-sized duck or 100 duck-sized kaiju?

Bardfinn443 karma

In case anyone is wondering why /u/g2n did not himself sign his comment (to prevent future stealth editing by third parties), it is (likely) because Reddit's markup engine (ironically) breaks the default text armour output of PGP signed messages.

This problem will likely also hinder Julian's ability to straightforward reply with a signed message directly in the comments here. It's possible to jump through hoops to make it appear correctly, but it's preferable to post a signed message elsewhere, and link to it from here.

Just trying to prepare everyone reading for possible stumbling blocks.

It would be an awesome Idea For The Admins to have the markup parsing identify PGP signed messages and preserve them from being mangled.