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Author Topic: Adi Shamir's thoughts on Bitcoin  (Read 2291 times)
Meni Rosenfeld
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September 15, 2011, 09:49:04 PM
 #1

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.

He didn't express any concerns about the viability of Bitcoin's economics or core technology, though.

This was following a talk he gave with the tagline "why we need cryptography, and why it won't help us".

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September 15, 2011, 09:50:26 PM
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Never heard of RSA before, I am interested in hearing the talk with that tagline.  Links?

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September 15, 2011, 10:03:40 PM
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Never heard of RSA before,
I assure you that Adi is someone whose opinion should be given the highest regard, even in matters outside his expertise (cryptography mostly). I wouldn't bother everyone with the details of our chat otherwise.

I am interested in hearing the talk with that tagline.  Links?
It was in Hebrew, and a cursory search didn't come up with any online version.

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Meni Rosenfeld
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September 15, 2011, 10:08:46 PM
 #4

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.


I think that might be a bit of an overstatement.  OS security has improved in recent years but has decreased in the application and web layer.  The number of critical flaws in Windows, Wordpress, and and other mainstream apps has been decreasing but the proliferation of applications has made gross vulnerabilities increase.
Adi more specifically said we're "winning the battles, losing the war".

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September 15, 2011, 10:18:08 PM
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It seems to me that for bitcoins, people will eventually use small portable devices whose OS is all ROM based so that Trojans can't be installed on them.
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September 15, 2011, 10:19:12 PM
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My hope is that bitcoin will force the issue that we need a new operating system that is designed with security in mind.  The OSes we're using today are all based on 40+ year old technology.  Here's an interesting project that I think may eventually provide the underpinnings for such an OS:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392791,00.asp


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September 15, 2011, 10:19:26 PM
 #7

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.


I think that might be a bit of an overstatement.  OS security has improved in recent years but has decreased in the application and web layer.  The number of critical flaws in Windows, Wordpress, and and other mainstream apps has been decreasing but the proliferation of applications has made gross vulnerabilities increase.
Adi more specifically said we're "winning the battles, losing the war".

meaning what exactly?  gov'ts gaining more ability to crack cryptography?
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September 15, 2011, 10:23:56 PM
 #8

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.


I think that might be a bit of an overstatement.  OS security has improved in recent years but has decreased in the application and web layer.  The number of critical flaws in Windows, Wordpress, and and other mainstream apps has been decreasing but the proliferation of applications has made gross vulnerabilities increase.
Adi more specifically said we're "winning the battles, losing the war".

meaning what exactly?  gov'ts gaining more ability to crack cryptography?
I suspect he means that it's a hopeless cause to try and build a secure system on top of operating systems that are fundamentally insecure.  You likely need to start over from the ground up and have security in mind at every step of the way (perhaps even getting into trust issues relating to the proprietary hardware and microcode that virtually all computers are based on).

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September 16, 2011, 12:24:01 AM
 #9

Never heard of RSA before, I am interested in hearing the talk with that tagline.  Links?

Never heard of RSA? Cheesy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_Security

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September 16, 2011, 12:49:11 AM
 #10

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.
...
He didn't express any concerns about the viability of Bitcoin's economics or core technology, though.
...

That's the best news I've heard in a while.  I'll likely be bumping up my hoarding operation and taking the acquisition part of it to the next level (once I study his comments for myself at least.)

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September 16, 2011, 01:18:29 AM
 #11

I googled after posting of course, but no, I had not heard of them before.  I am not into Bitcoin for any crypto specific reasons, but I don't mind being educated here by people like you guys in the thread into this.   I wanted to hear the talk this guy gave before knowing who he was, now I really want to hear it lol

Meni Rosenfeld
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September 16, 2011, 04:40:49 AM
 #12

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.


I think that might be a bit of an overstatement.  OS security has improved in recent years but has decreased in the application and web layer.  The number of critical flaws in Windows, Wordpress, and and other mainstream apps has been decreasing but the proliferation of applications has made gross vulnerabilities increase.
Adi more specifically said we're "winning the battles, losing the war".

meaning what exactly?  gov'ts gaining more ability to crack cryptography?
I suspect he means that it's a hopeless cause to try and build a secure system on top of operating systems that are fundamentally insecure.  You likely need to start over from the ground up and have security in mind at every step of the way (perhaps even getting into trust issues relating to the proprietary hardware and microcode that virtually all computers are based on).
That too, but I think he was more pessimistic than that. He gave as examples that the OS / encryption software / whatever we use can be compromised (MR - even if open-source, since most people don't go over the source anyway and even if they do they might miss subtle vulnerabilities), the CA we use to know who's at the other side can be compromised, that cryptographic protocols that were thought to be very secure occasionally get broken, that even systems maintained by security experts can be and have been hacked with targeted attacks, and that whatever security progress we make, crackers will eventually find a way around it.

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.
...
He didn't express any concerns about the viability of Bitcoin's economics or core technology, though.
...

That's the best news I've heard in a while.  I'll likely be bumping up my hoarding operation and taking the acquisition part of it to the next level (once I study his comments for myself at least.)
He didn't specify he's looked at it at any depth looking for flaws, though.

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September 16, 2011, 10:49:10 AM
 #13

Building a secure system is not useful if the user is an idiot.

For example, people who had bitcoins on mybitcoin
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September 16, 2011, 11:58:38 AM
 #14

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.
He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.
He didn't express any concerns about the viability of Bitcoin's economics or core technology, though.
This was following a talk he gave with the tagline "why we need cryptography, and why it won't help us".

Next time you meet Dr. Shamir, can you ask him if he is Satoshi by any chance?
Meni Rosenfeld
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September 16, 2011, 12:06:48 PM
 #15

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.
He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.
He didn't express any concerns about the viability of Bitcoin's economics or core technology, though.
This was following a talk he gave with the tagline "why we need cryptography, and why it won't help us".

Next time you meet Dr. Shamir, can you ask him if he is Satoshi by any chance?
Cheesy I'm sure if he is and he wanted to tell me, he'd have done so already.

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btcbaby
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September 16, 2011, 11:15:57 PM
 #16

My hope is that bitcoin will force the issue that we need a new operating system that is designed with security in mind.  The OSes we're using today are all based on 40+ year old technology.  Here's an interesting project that I think may eventually provide the underpinnings for such an OS:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392791,00.asp



Android is pretty secure as an OS.

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September 17, 2011, 07:16:39 AM
 #17

Never heard of RSA before, I am interested in hearing the talk with that tagline.  Links?


istar
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September 17, 2011, 07:57:23 AM
 #18

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

He says he wouldn't want to keep cash on his computer given how easily computers can be hacked, and that we're losing the war on computer security.

He didn't express any concerns about the viability of Bitcoin's economics or core technology, though.

This was following a talk he gave with the tagline "why we need cryptography, and why it won't help us".

Bitcoin can be stored in banks.

You should not need to store everything in your computer.


Bitcoins - Because we should not pay to use our money
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October 16, 2012, 11:00:16 PM
 #19

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

Thank you! Must have been an interesting little chat you had.

Quote
Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2012/584

Quantitative Analysis of the Full Bitcoin Transaction Graph

Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir

Abstract: The Bitcoin scheme is a rare example of a large scale global payment system in which all the transactions are publicly accessible (but in an anonymous way). We downloaded the full history of this scheme, and analyzed many statistical properties of its associated transaction graph. In this paper we answer for the first time a variety of interesting questions about the typical behavior of account owners, how they acquire and how they spend their Bitcoins, the balance of Bitcoins they keep in their accounts, and how they move Bitcoins between their various accounts in order to better protect their privacy. In addition, we isolated all the large transactions in the system, and discovered that almost all of them are closely related to a single large transaction that took place in November 2010, even though the associated users apparently tried to hide this fact with many strange looking long chains and fork-merge structures in the transaction graph.

Category / Keywords: Bitcoin, digital coins, electronic cash, payment systems, transaction graphs, quantitative analysis

Date: received 14 Oct 2012

http://eprint.iacr.org/2012/584

Smiley

A fitting quote for the occasion:

Quote
Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary—the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab.

It's a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it's going right by you, that it's left you altogether. But if you're doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.

So I said, call me Trim Tab.

—Buckminster Fuller
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October 16, 2012, 11:06:28 PM
 #20

Today I saw Adi Shamir (you know, the S in RSA) and managed to talk with him a bit about Bitcoin.

Thank you! Must have been an interesting little chat you had.

Quote
Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2012/584

Quantitative Analysis of the Full Bitcoin Transaction Graph

Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir

Abstract: The Bitcoin scheme is a rare example of a large scale global payment system in which all the transactions are publicly accessible (but in an anonymous way). We downloaded the full history of this scheme, and analyzed many statistical properties of its associated transaction graph. In this paper we answer for the first time a variety of interesting questions about the typical behavior of account owners, how they acquire and how they spend their Bitcoins, the balance of Bitcoins they keep in their accounts, and how they move Bitcoins between their various accounts in order to better protect their privacy. In addition, we isolated all the large transactions in the system, and discovered that almost all of them are closely related to a single large transaction that took place in November 2010, even though the associated users apparently tried to hide this fact with many strange looking long chains and fork-merge structures in the transaction graph.

Category / Keywords: Bitcoin, digital coins, electronic cash, payment systems, transaction graphs, quantitative analysis

Date: received 14 Oct 2012

http://eprint.iacr.org/2012/584

Smiley



I wonder what that large transaction was ?

I landed in this country with $2.50 in cash and $1 million in hopes, and those hopes never left me.
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