Cipher Issue 131, March 22, 2016, Editor's Letter

Dear Readers,

Ah, spring, the time when the earth tilts on its axis and reveals the program for the Security and Privacy Symposium at If that does not make you feel the season, you should still register for the conference so that you can be there to soak up all the great, newly hatched research at the Symposium, which starts on May 23 in San Jose, California

The ACM awarded its 2015 Turing award to Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman for their pioneering work in discovering asymmetric (public key) cryptography. Cipher offers its congratulations to pair. One the day of the announcement, there was a Congressional hearing about the FBI's difficulties in dealing with access to an iPhone. The central issue is the symmetric encryption of the iPhone's data, but the FBI has demanded that Apple produce a special-purpose operating system to be loaded onto the iPhone in question. The FBI needs Apple's cooperation in producing a digital signature for the OS, showing that Diffie and Hellman's discovery continues to produce deep repercussions and is at the heart of privacy and security in the digital age.

Speaking of security and privacy, isn't it time to take your car in for a virus scan? Our book reviewer Richard Austin takes us on a tour of new book about all-too-real subject of car hacking (software-based hijacking?). The FBI has seen fit to issue a public service bulletin about the vulnerabilities of vehicle software, which we might call "Unsafe at Any (Network) Speed".

Don't sit under that Apple tree until you give me the key,

      Hilarie Orman