Cipher Issue 128, September 22, 2015, Editor's Letter

Dear Readers,

When the frost is on the pumpkin, you know that it is time to start preparing to submit a paper to the Security and Privacy Symposium. The deadline is November 13, and if you want a chance to have your work presented at the premier conference for security research, start getting those diagrams and LaTeX macros ready now.

Our book report from our veteran reviewer Richard Austin touches on the security risks from the "Internet of Things". As new and glitzy as the tiny and clever devices are, their security problems are "same old same old", and they may turn into the "Internet of Scary Thingz that report on your every action and take over your house and car." Don't ignore this important topic, the little things are proliferating and will be the new norm.

Cryptographers are abuzz about an announcement from NSA that has nothing to do with mass surveillance. The agency has revised its recommendations for "Suite B" cryptographic keys, making them much longer. The justification is that they want the cryptography to survive in the "post-quantum" era. There are no quantum computers today, and even if they do become practical, we have no idea what their actual cost and capabilities might be. Some physicists and mathematicians feel that all the theoretical problems have been solved, and quantum computers are on the horizon. If they are, it will usher in a new era for cryptography, but many other difficult computing problems will be solved. How far away is the quantum era? No one knows, but it looks like NSA has placed its money on sooner rather than later.

By the clicking of the mouse,
Wicked malware storms the house,
Skeletons with quantum keys,
Undermine security.

      Hilarie Orman