Feeds

The Times misquoted me – crypto expert

'Lurid urban myth'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

International cryptography expert Professor Ross Anderson has demanded a correction from the The Times for being misquoted on the subject of terrorists' use of email.

Last month Phil Zimmermann complained of being seriously misrepresented by the Washington Post, which described Zimmermann as being "overwhelmed with feelings of guilt" for devising PGP encryption.

(Zimmermann attached no blame to the Post reporter, who most emphatically did not "manufacture" quotes, and later clarified that he believed it to be "an honest misunderstanding").

By contrast, Anderson says the Times journalist "was determined - or had been instructed - to write the story anyway".

Anderson lambasts The Times for unquestioningly peddling the idea that terrorists communicate using information hidden in pornographic content.

Since the Times' stablemates the Sun and the News of the World have allegedly been hiding news in pornographic content for several years, (although we've never found any news in either paper to substantiate that meme), the allegation doesn't surprise us.

"It is unclear what national interest is served by security agencies propagating this lurid urban myth. Perhaps the goal is to manufacture an excuse for the failure to anticipate the events of September 11th.
Perhaps it is preparing the ground for an attempt at bureaucratic empire-building via Internet regulation, as a diversionary activity from the much harder and less pleasant task of going after al-Qaida.

"Perhaps the vision of bin Laden as cryptic pornographer is being spun to create a subconscious link, in the public mind, with the scare stories about child pornography that were used before September 11th
to justify government plans for greater Internet regulation," writes Anderson.

Anderson suggests the articles "should be read as a deliberate plant by MI5".

You can read more here and here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.