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Author Topic: SHA-256 is designed by the NSA - do they have a backdoor?  (Read 27693 times)
Frizz23
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September 09, 2013, 08:54:33 PM
 #1

"SHA-2 is a set of cryptographic hash functions (SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512) designed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) ..."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SHA-2)

Every day we hear new news that the NSA is able to spy on us - and hack or bypass SSL, SSH, PGP, etc. Sometimes because they use backdoors that they have installed themselves. "Planted" weaknesses into systems.

What's the probability that the NSA also designed some "flaws" into the SHA-2 algorithm?
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shadizzle
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September 09, 2013, 09:03:07 PM
 #2

Id say so, why not?

It's finally public they have cracked and have backdoors in EVERY mobile device, anything you click on the net. etc..
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September 09, 2013, 09:04:37 PM
 #3

SHA-2 is an open algorithm and it uses as its constants the sequential prime cube roots as a form of "nothing up my sleeve numbers".  For someone to find a weakness or backdoor in SHA would be the equivalent of the nobel prize in cryptography.   Everyone who is anyone in the cryptography community has looked at SHA-2.  Not just everyone with a higher degree in mathematics, computer science, or cryptography in the last 20 years but foreign intelligence agencies and major financial institutions.    Nobody has found a flaw, not even an theoretical one (a faster than brute force solution which requires so much energy/time as to be have no real world value).

To believe the the NSA has broken SHA-2 would be to believe that the NSA found something the entire rest of the world combined hasn't found for twenty years.  Also NIST still considers SHA-2 secure and prohibits the use of any other hashing algorithm (to include SHA-3 so far) in classified networks.  So that would mean the NSA is keeping a flaw/exploit from NIST compromising US national security. 

Anything is possible but occam's razor and all that.
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September 09, 2013, 09:06:47 PM
 #4

It seems likely at this point, but there's no proof that they have.
Walsoraj
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September 09, 2013, 10:01:31 PM
 #5

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/09/crypto-prof-asked-to-remove-nsa-related-blog-post/

They have a backdoor to everything. BTC price is gonna tank when it is finally revealed that the NSA can hack and destroy bitcoin at will.
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September 09, 2013, 10:03:31 PM
 #6

It seems likely at this point, but there's no proof that they have.

I would say it seems unlikely at this point however you can never prove a flaw (intentional or otherwise) doesn't exist.
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September 09, 2013, 10:23:21 PM
 #7

It seems likely at this point, but there's no proof that they have.

I would say it seems unlikely at this point however you can never prove a flaw (intentional or otherwise) doesn't exist.

They intentionally produce shit cryptography and go to great lengths to deceive (social attacks) ... why trust them in any regard, least of all in an "open science" forum format when there is no requirement to?

It should be quite clear now to dump any crypto that the NSA has come anywhere near, and trust no-one that has had anything to do with them. That maybe a massive undertaking given how ubiquitous their grasping tentacles have become but it is the only right thing to do, probably safest also.

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September 09, 2013, 10:25:50 PM
 #8

Oh look it's this thread again.
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September 09, 2013, 10:45:27 PM
 #9

It seems likely at this point, but there's no proof that they have.

I would say it seems unlikely at this point however you can never prove a flaw (intentional or otherwise) doesn't exist.

They intentionally produce shit cryptography and go to great lengths to deceive (social attacks) ... why trust them in any regard, least of all in an "open science" forum format when there is no requirement to?

It should be quite clear now to dump any crypto that the NSA has come anywhere near, and trust no-one that has had anything to do with them. That maybe a massive undertaking given how ubiquitous their grasping tentacles have become but it is the only right thing to do, probably safest also.

100% Agree!

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September 09, 2013, 11:07:24 PM
 #10

It seems likely at this point, but there's no proof that they have.

I would say it seems unlikely at this point however you can never prove a flaw (intentional or otherwise) doesn't exist.

They intentionally produce shit cryptography and go to great lengths to deceive (social attacks) ... why trust them in any regard, least of all in an "open science" forum format when there is no requirement to?

I don't trust the NSA.  I trust the fact that:
a) the algorithm is open
b) the constants are sequential prime cuberoots rather than "random"
c) the entire world community hasn't found a flaw.

Compare that to the EC RNG which was recommended by the NSA.  A single cryptographer found the flaw in the span of a few months despite it being rather than rare algorithm with no widespread usage.   However the entire world community can't find a backdoor/flaw in an one of the most widely used hashing algorithms in the world?
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September 09, 2013, 11:25:35 PM
Last edit: September 09, 2013, 11:36:12 PM by marcus_of_augustus
 #11

The algorithm is open ... however it was produced by a politically motivated rogue government branch that seems to harbouring a cynical bunch of criminal bastards ... do your own due diligence, if you don't have to deal with them why bother?

Quote
Compare that to the EC RNG which was recommended by the NSA.  A single cryptographer found the flaw in the span of a few months despite it being rather than rare algorithm with no widespread usage.   However the entire world community can't find a backdoor/flaw in an one of the most widely used hashing algorithms in the world?
   
   
Edit: oops, forgot to point out that the NSA algos flaws/backdoors will be tailored towards cracking by hardware capabilities that they , and maybe only them, possess. So saying it is secure because no-one else has found a flaw is redundant since no-one else knows or can replicate what they are capable of in terms of mining the exploit ...

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September 09, 2013, 11:27:11 PM
 #12

The algorithm is open ... however it was produced by a politically motivated government branch that seems to harbouring a cynical bunch of criminal bastards ... do your own due diligence, if you don't have to deal with them why bother?

Well we do have to "deal with SHA-2" as a change to a different hashing algorithm would be a hard fork and that isn't going to happen.
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September 10, 2013, 12:27:07 AM
Last edit: September 12, 2013, 09:00:02 PM by ageisp0lis
 #13

I speculated a little bit on this: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/what-do-the-latest-nsa-leaks-mean-for-bitcoin
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September 10, 2013, 01:07:18 AM
 #14

The algorithm is open ... however it was produced by a politically motivated government branch that seems to harbouring a cynical bunch of criminal bastards ... do your own due diligence, if you don't have to deal with them why bother?

Well we do have to "deal with SHA-2" as a change to a different hashing algorithm would be a hard fork and that isn't going to happen.

Actually I believe it could happen.  And it should happen if SHA-2 was compromised, that was always the plan but right now SHA-2 is NOT compromised.  The NSA may have some shortcuts and could exploit random number generator issues (including backdoors in those) but a clear get the private key from the public one is not possible at this time. 

Changing the algo was ALWAYS planned in Bitcoin if it was compromised. 

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September 10, 2013, 03:51:25 AM
 #15

However the entire world community can't find a backdoor/flaw in an one of the most widely used hashing algorithms in the world?

NSA can afford to hire the best mathematicians. Nowadays when one of them devises something only a few people are able to understand the mathematical proof it's based on. A flaw could exist for decades/centuries before someone else find it by accident.
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September 10, 2013, 06:08:52 AM
 #16

The algorithm is open ... however it was produced by a politically motivated government branch that seems to harbouring a cynical bunch of criminal bastards ... do your own due diligence, if you don't have to deal with them why bother?

Well we do have to "deal with SHA-2" as a change to a different hashing algorithm would be a hard fork and that isn't going to happen.

Actually I believe it could happen.  And it should happen if SHA-2 was compromised, that was always the plan but right now SHA-2 is NOT compromised.  The NSA may have some shortcuts and could exploit random number generator issues (including backdoors in those) but a clear get the private key from the public one is not possible at this time. 

Changing the algo was ALWAYS planned in Bitcoin if it was compromised. 

You do realize what a change in algo would mean? All the asics will become paperweights and the network will go back to gpu mining. Leaving the network less protected for the NSA or a third party to do a 51% attack. Not to mention all the asic manufacturers will bankrupt...

It is possible, but the consequences will be huge...

I think though that even if bitcoin is cracked by the nsa, they will not bring it down. They will exploit such crack in their benefit. Just remember governments don't destroy assets or money, they confiscate it. They will even try to make it look like they seized the btc by other means, making their backdoor last for as long as they can.

Whats the point in investing millions on cracking a cryptocurrency in order to kill it and let the next one arise and start all over again?

Greediness and power are two important factors in conspiracy theories. The NSA cracking btc to kill it lacks both...

But then again that is just my theory...

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September 10, 2013, 06:18:53 AM
 #17

Imagine, Satoshi has a million or two coins stashed on a bunch of private keys that have never moved since being mined. Those 50 BTC will be the target.

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September 10, 2013, 08:00:20 AM
 #18

Well we do have to "deal with SHA-2" as a change to a different hashing algorithm would be a hard fork and that isn't going to happen.

But it would kill two birds with one stone.
1) The ASIC madness would stop
2) The NSA algorithm would be gone.

By the way: What might have been the reason that Mr. Nakamoto decided to use an NSA algorithm (SHA-256) for Bitcoin?
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September 10, 2013, 08:05:22 AM
 #19


I don't trust the NSA.  I trust the fact that:
a) the algorithm is open
b) the constants are sequential prime cuberoots rather than "random"
c) the entire world community hasn't found a flaw.

Compare that to the EC RNG which was recommended by the NSA.  A single cryptographer found the flaw in the span of a few months despite it being rather than rare algorithm with no widespread usage.   However the entire world community can't find a backdoor/flaw in an one of the most widely used hashing algorithms in the world?


That is why I only use Linux, and open source.

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September 10, 2013, 08:14:16 AM
 #20

c) the entire world community hasn't found a flaw.

If another non US agency found a flaw, why would they publish it instead of use it for their advantage?
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