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broadcast cryptanalysis

AKA: The Chinese Lottery
  [vote for,

Not by any means my idea, but I thought for the sake of completeness (re: broadcast encryption), it ought to be posted.

Basically, the idea is to manufacture something along the lines of a FPGA (think Ian Goldberg)or a custom designed micropocessor (think Deep Crack) that excells at cracking random keys and mass produce them for cheap. Then, wire one into every TV set or radio in China and have the state slash prices on these to ensure that (eventually) every man, woman, and child has at least one such device.

The idea as proposed and outlined in Applied Cryptography (orignally published by J.-J. Quisquater and Y. G. Desmedt [who also published a paper on breaking a million DES keys, which you can find in the back of _Cracking DES_]) is that the state then sends out a load of keys over the airwaves to all of these devices and they start cracking random (or a specified set) of keys received. Given correct deployment and certain other variables (like having the TVs on), the population of China could crack 56-bit keys easy and effciently. Eventually, someone will get the rigt key and they'd call in to a central agency to report whatever popped up for a prize (i.e.: the state would run it in a lottery like fashion so that people a) tune in to receive keys and b) the state is assured of increased populartiy of the effort by doleing out comparitively small prizes).

Where I think this idea could be expanded is given the rise of digital TV, especially in Europe. I'm from New York originally, but living in Ireland has exposed me to how big digital TV is (or could be) in Europe. Since putting cables in the ground and regulating all the trade/tarrif issues bewteen EU member nations and the largely nationalized phone companies is a much larger issue to getting cheap, fast Internet access than it is in the States, digital TV has more backers (media conglomerates) with arguably deeper pockets. Plus, the TV benefits from 50+ odd years of ubiquity (easy user interface, fast boot times, large audience with customizeable content [under digital TV]).

What's more, a lot of the sets that I've found (at least the one in my house [which isn't hooked up to digital TV]) have three main modes: off (where the power is cut to the set), standby (where the power isn't cut, but the TV isn't displaying anything), and on (where I get to watch BBC 1, etc.) Under this kind of scheme, and using DSL (which is what a lot of test programs for digital TV in the UK seem to be using [vs. cable modems in the states]), a state could, through the use of a more-or-less nationalized phone/internet provider (BT Internet, perhaps?), submit keys to properly equipped sets over DSL and have the chips crack away. What's more, they wouldn't even have to run it as a lottery, they could do it without anyone being the wiser.

Unfortunately, The Chinese Lottery idea works only in the aggregate, where you have a large number of properly equipped sets, either having one per person (which would probably be how China would work) or a large ammount of equipment per person (i.e., the US or UK, where families often have several TVs/radios/phones/etc.).

Still, worth considering.

dnm, Mar 02 2000

Applied Cryptography 2nd Ed. http://www.counterpane.com/applied.html
Web site for AC 2. (pp. 156-157 for those of you that have it). [dnm, Mar 02 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Angry Mob Cryptanalysis http://www.halfbake...Mob%20Cryptanalysis
Another idea in the same sprit [mab, Mar 02 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

distributed.net http://www.distributed.net/
Distributed cryptanalysis. [egnor, Mar 02 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

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       If you're manufacturing hardware, why bother distributing it with TV sets? That seems horribly inefficient, when you could just put the same chips on boards in racks of cabinets in server rooms, and skip all the hassle with DSL or broadcast or prizes or any of that nonsense. I suppose you're borrowing a tiny bit of power from each of the hosts, but that hardly seems worth it for the added complexity!   

       Compute power is a resource that's actually worth borrowing (see distributed.net et al), but that's not what's happenning here as far as I can tell.
egnor, Oct 21 2000


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