From: Matthew French (mfrench42 at domain yahoo.co.uk)
Date: Fri 10 May 2002 - 17:08:26 IST
Rick Moen asked:
> Quoting Enda (enda at domain unison.ie):
> > But since you have brought it up, the GPG ciphers, why didn't they
> > include XOR encoding, its as strong as Blowfish.
> I assume you're aiming to avoid being taken seriously.
Well, XOR encoding is arguably one of the most secure and efficient
_algorithms_ for encrypting data. Assuming that the plain text is being
XOR'ed with a suitably large random data set. So I would say Enda is right -
up to a point.
Unfortunately XOR encoding requires that the keys be known beforehand by
both parties. Also, implementing a "suitably large random data set" is a lot
more difficult than it sounds. All of which mean that for most practical
purposes, XOR encoding is completely useless.
It can be used with a stronger form of encryption, but this is usually a
performance compromise and not a step towards stronger security.
Good place to start for this interested in the topic is the (quite long)
I also enjoyed Simon Singh's TV series introducing cryptography "The Science
of Secrecy", aired on Channel 4 about a year ago.
What this all has to do with Linux is beyond me...
- Matthew (who should really get back to avoiding work)
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