Re: Russian hacker nabbed by FBI now lost in federal prisonsystem

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Mon Jul 30 2001 - 07:43:51 MDT

On Sat, 28 Jul 2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> I am more paranoid. How difficult would it be to infiltrate many
> computer systems and find PGP keys and such? Even if it took breaking

Difficult, especially if you use secure systems. *Very* difficult, if you
store your crypto binaries and keys (the keyring is encrypted, so you'd
have to snarf the passphrase, too) on a dedicated air-gap protected
machine (i.e. sustainbly off network, only exchanging nonexecutable
documents via sneakernet, e.g. on MODs). It is typically easier to break
in into your apartment (of course, as an owner, you can make traceless
invasion very difficult), or, if you're that interesting, snatch you off
the street, and do a little rubberhose cryptoanalysis.

> into a house to get the keys or plant software to find and transmit
> them it is by no means certain my mail is secure when I use PGP. I

If you think you're that interesting (few truly are), perhaps you should
take other precautions.

> have heard of programs that can detect information patterns hidden in
> pictures and such and that these are used by the FBI to note
> steganographic communications.

About 90% of all steganoware leak presence of an (hopefully, encrypted)
message, but there is some steganography out there that is remarkably
difficult to screen for.

In any case, screening for steganography is much, much more expensive.

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
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