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Technical Perspective: Backdoor Engineering


Imagine you are a cyber spy. Your day job is to tap cryptographically protected communications systems. But how? Straightforward cryptanalysis has long become impractical: the task of breaking modern algorithms, if implemented correctly, far exceeds all computational power available to humanity. That leaves sabotage.

You can target many Achilles heels of a crypto system: random-bit generators, side channels, binary builds, certification authorities, and weak default configurations. You infiltrate the teams that design, implement, and standardize commercial security systems and plant there hidden weaknesses, known as backdoors, that later allow you to bypass the cryptography.


 

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