Fwd: Linux-Based Crypto Stops Snoops

From: sime1brt (sime1brt@topvideo.net)
Date: Thu Apr 15 1999 - 20:21:38 CEST

>Posted-Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 16:03:53 +0200
>Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 15:52:24 +0200
>From: "E.C." <sgnurf@hotmail.com>
>X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.04 [en] (Win95; U)
>To: cyber-rights@ecn.org
>Subject: Linux-Based Crypto Stops Snoops
>Sender: owner-cyber-rights@ecn.org
>Reply-To: cyber-rights@ecn.org
> from:
> Linux-Based Crypto Stops Snoops
> by James Glave
> 3:00 a.m. 15.Apr.99.PDT
> A new, home-brewed cryptography
> project could make work a little trickier
> for spooks and spies.
> On Tuesday, the Linux FreeS/WAN
> project released free server software that
> will use strong encryption to secure any
> communications sent between two points
> on the Internet.
> "The Internet right now is very exposed
> to snooping if you have enough clout to
> make an Internet service provider turn
> over records or arrange a wiretap," said
> project technical lead Henry Spencer.
> "It has been clear from the beginning that
> the only way to secure something like the
> Net is cryptography, but it has been a
> long time coming."
> How long? Try three years. That's how
> long it has taken Spencer and a small
> team of Canadian software developers to
> code the project. Electronic Frontier
> Foundation co-founder John Gilmore
> independently funded much of FreeS/WAN
> so that the software might be used to
> better protect civil rights groups and their
> lawyers, opposition political parties, and
> dissidents.
> Law enforcement agencies such as the
> FBI are not likely to agree. They maintain
> that strong cryptography hamstrings their
> ability to conduct wiretaps.
> In testimony before the Senate
> Appropriations subcommittee on 4
> February, FBI Director Louis Freeh said
> that strong crypto will be a boon to
> terrorists.
> "The continued widespread availability
> and increasing use of strong,
> [un]recoverable encryption products will
> ... devastate our capabilities for fighting
> crime, preventing acts of terrorism, and
> protecting the national security."
> So far, consumers commonly use PGP, or
> Pretty Good Privacy, to scramble email
> and stored PC files. The freeware plugs
> into popular email programs to scramble
> messages and stored data. But PGP will
> not encrypt any other kind of Internet
> communications, such as remote logins to
> other machines or file transfers.
> The new software allows a system
> administrator to set up what is known as
> a secure data tunnel -- a 1,024-bit
> scrambled channel between two points
> over the public Internet. Commercial
> virtual private network software can cost
> as much as US$10,000.
> FreeS/WAN, on the other hand, is free
> and relatively easy to use. That's why
> the Electronic Frontier Foundation is
> excited by the project.
> "If a lot of the system administrators
> adopt this, it means that there is very
> little that is vulnerable other than the link
> from the desktop to the server," said
> Fena.
> Further, because the product was
> developed beyond US borders, it is not
> subject to crypto export rules that, in
> most circumstances, only permit relatively
> weak, 56-bit code to leave the country.
> Project leaders expect that this will allow
> the Linux-based program to spread and
> thrive as a painless, secure
> communications tool.
> "If all the sysadmins put it on their
> systems, then any other hops are no
> longer sniffable," Fena said. "It is [a] sort
> of Linux. It will spread just because it is
> the right thing."

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