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To: Jake Appelbaum <jacob,AT,appelbaum,DOT,net>
Subject: Re: My response to both the analysis of CIPE by Gutmann, Slashdotand the response by the CIPE list
From: Phil Scarratt <fil,AT,draxsen,DOT,com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 11:47:27 +1000
Cc: cipe-l,AT,inka,DOT,de
In-reply-to: <1064495379.428.21.camel@eris>
Organization: Draxsen Technologies
References: <1064495379.428.21.camel@eris>

Jake Appelbaum wrote:
I wanted to contribute an outsiders perspective.

Thanks for the contribution - a very worthy contribution....



I first read Peter Gutmanns analysis [1] as linked from Slashdot [2] and later I found the archive for cipe-l [3].

After reading Gutmann's short but to the point email a few points that
he made seemed obvious. Some of the flaws were not so obvious. CIPE
seemed to have some very simple flaws and some of the fixes were easy to
implement.

I found some of it delivered in such a manner that would upset people
who were highly vested in the projects he was criticizing. Perhaps it was
the comment that I also found to be so amusing, something to do with
sound waves. Amusing as it may be, it's still quite harsh.


The problem with email is the tone is very hard to judge sometimes. Getting the right tone in an email message is an artform, which not many people have time to perfect. Similar comments may well have produced a totally different reaction face-to-face (as unlikely as that seems). I'd agree, an amusing comment, however PG was still pretty scathing towards those who have committed so much time and effort to the poject.


I then read through the posts on Slashdot that declared CIPE to be
dead. I found these to be really immature and silly considering the
nature of F/OSS.

The need for some change is now, not the time for it's funeral.
Thanks to the F/OSS method of development this is all very possible.


3 cheers for F/OSS


The only series of comments on Slashdot worth reading (IMHO) were by Dan
Kaminsky [4].


Agreed.


*SNIP*


Others want to wait for Olaf (the primary author of CIPE) to speak on
this issue before making any major conclusions [10]. Some people are
thanking for tool that has some major flaws as pointed out by a well
respected cryptographer [11]

I think they were meant as encouragement. Certainly on my part it was. I recognised there appeared to be issues needing to be dealt with but that doesn't mean that I'm not grateful to Olaf and Damion (and others) for their efforts so far. I felt due to the tone, some encouragement was needed.


The fact that Olaf hasn't replied is a huge problem for my assurances
that this project is on track to fix these problems, I know that I am
not alone [13]. What is more shocking to me is the lack of understanding
about a protocol/security method being broken. It seems that many people
doing small tests of their own [14] find it to be acceptable because it
will fit their clients needs. Their own greed and the ease of setup
being the bottom line.



That may be the case, but on the other hand, not everyone can afford or justify $60,000 to decide which is the most secure solution. I think there is a valid point in deciding how sensitive the information is, and that should reflect on what lengths are needed to ensure it's security. Obviously, you go with the securest option you can afford or justify, and part of the whole process (hopefully) would be advice from a knowledgeable source without a vested interest.


*SNIP*

Let us make sure that this gets fix. Let us also make sure that this
situation is handled well and discussed openly.

Definitely...


Fil
willing-to-contribute-in-whatever-way-he-can
(however little that may be)


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