Bruce Schneier Gets It Wrong

At least, if the report on his comments in _The Register_ is accurate.

Two Japanese scientists have proposed that the random signals from
quasars be used for encryption, since they are genuinely random, and not
algorithmically pseudo-random.

Bruce Schneier referred to that as a "brand-new idea", and asked why
people would trust something untested.

It's a *bad* idea, all right, but I wouldn't call it *new*.

In fact, it's just a very slightly modified version of a one-time pad
fallacy as old as the hills. The idea that one could have the security
of a one-time pad if one used a *public* source of randomness...

like stock market results, or like the phone book

as an agreed-upon key. It's true that it _might_ work against an
adversary who can't find, or guess, which key you're using. But just as
the NSA can put every phone book in the world on magnetic tape, it can
certainly institute a global program of continuous observation of all
known quasars - and a secret search for new quasars, to prevent the use
of undiscovered ones for encryption!

Ah. This is just a plot to create more jobs for radio astronomers, at
least in the U.S.!

John Savard
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