Feeds

The Times misquoted me – crypto expert

'Lurid urban myth'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.