Feeds

The Times misquoted me – crypto expert

'Lurid urban myth'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

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
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
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
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
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.