Clarification of Answer by
19 Nov 2002 09:47 PST
Hello again marco8055-ga,
You don't think that hidden messages influence consumer communication?
I own a webhosting company that tailors itself to 'tech-savvy'
consumers. One of my marketing strategies is to challenge the inate
curiousity of these folks by imbedding discount coupons in hidden
places on my website. If they find one and can identify it, I give
them the discount! So in that way, consumer dialogue works via code!
My second example is a little more complicated than the previous.
Quantum Cryptography is at this point, so far as the non-military
world goes, experimental. Of course, we have no idea how or if the
military uses it. The basic gist of it is this, imagine a 'telephone
line' with someone eavesdropping on it. There are not very reliable
ways to pick up on this eavesdropping without highly specialized
equipment, and even that may be unreliable if the eavesdropper is
motivated and knows what they're doing. The great thing about Quantum
Cryptography communication is this, the inherent nature of the
transmission allows immediate detection of an insecure channel. So by
attempting to eavesdrop on a quantum communiqué, the communicators
immediately become aware of the snoop.
Another interesting aspect of this is that the communication need not
take place over a traditional fibre line, but may be transmitted in
open air making it somewhat more difficult to pick up. Either way, the
eavesdropper is deterred because the conversation or transmission is
encrypted, and they can not 'listen' in without being immediately
The future applications of this technology would be allowing more
secure channels of communication amongst the populace, but to also
allow you to securely communicate with your banker, lawyer, broker or
whoever without fear of someone eavesdropping and finding out your
credit card number or other sensitive information. Its applications
also could be considered in business to business consumer settings,
where sensitive corporate negotiations are necessary, particularly in
discussions of propietary or other technologies.
The military uses should be obvious ;)
You've also asked how insecure I think other forms of communication
are? Well, it depends on who you're trying to keep out I guess. The
security is only as strong as the opponent is weak. If you're trying
to hide an email from the average individual, then use PGP, GPG,
openPGP or some other key-based encryption utility. Will this hide
information from a knowledgeable individual? Arguably. Telephone
conversations are completely insecure, cordless and cellular
conversations are even worse. Letter writing...forget it ;) We live in
a world where a motivated individual would not have a hard time
recovering communications between others, mostly because of a
non-concern amongst the general populace.
Secure connections are only as strong as the encryption or scrambling
that's protecting them. Unfortunately, these technologies are
developed by people who are notorious for mistakes or silly ommissions
that can be exploited. I recently read an article concerning wireless
networks (802.11 technologies) where a group of 'hackers' out of
curiousity drove around a city with a laptop and wireless network card
attempting to access networks. It was shameful how many they gained
access to simply because system admins never turned on the security or
changed default passwords! Good grief :)
Anyway, hope this helps, I'll be glad to clarify more if necessary!