[Standards-JIG] Re: The Great Encryption Debate

Ian Paterson ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk
Wed Aug 10 16:26:01 UTC 2005

> I think it is important for us all to remember that cryptography  
> is hard...  It would be very easy for a crypto JEP to be rushed
> through without proper analysis - only to have holes poked in it
> after it has been implemented.

Yes, "cryptography is hard" and only the specialists can give us even
reasonable assurances of security. No crypto JEP should advance to Draft
without at least one examination by a real cryptanalyst. No crypto JEP
should become Final until it has been thoroughly examined by several
crypto-analytical specialists.

As Peter said, we need to encourage implementations ASAP. Once we've
decided on a direction and have a complete specification, then I see no
reason why the implementation and crypto-analytical processes couldn't
run in parallel - as long as the implementors understand that the
cryptanalysts may make small (but critical) improvements to the protocol
(e.g. insert an additional step or requirement).

Of course I would like to avoid our JEP having a couple of "holes poked
in it" after it has become Draft. But that would not create a long-term
problem, because we could fix the holes. The existance of
implementations will encourage cryptanalytic effort.

- Ian

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