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Privacy With a 4096 Bit RSA Key — Offline, On Paper

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you'll-need-a-bigger-id-badge dept.

Encryption 232

HavanaF writes "Online backup is practical, but can it offer any privacy? The Dutch security company Safeberg developed an Offline Private Key Protocol, with an asymmetric key scheme. The protocol demands that the private (decryption) key be stored away from the 'source' computer, which presumably is 'too vulnerable.' The catch is that the private key needs to be fairly large to be secure: a 4,096-bit RSA key should suffice for some years. But how to store an 800-character key offline? Safeberg introduces a machine readable paper key, with the 4k-bit key crammed in a giant 2D Datamatrix barcode. This video on key strength tells the story."

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232 comments

What Happens When ... (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31351926)

... you fold the paper your 2D key is on? Tears, that's what. Tears.

Re:What Happens When ... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31351952)

It looks like the key is printed out in Hex at the bottom as well as the QR barcode.

Re:What Happens When ... (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352048)

Which brings to mind an important question: Why not just have the machine read the hex?

Re:What Happens When ... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352226)

B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8
Because 2D barcodes are much easier to read reliably. No need for special OCR. The hex key is presumably for human input, although I don't see any reason why you would not try and read it with a machine, if you really must.
B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8

Re:What Happens When ... (5, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352292)

Reading numbers is more error prone. With the bar code, there are presumably lots of check digits and other such loveliness encoded into it.

As for folding it, what happens? Probably nothing. There are usually CRCs (or similar) and lots of other stuff in those 2D bar codes. This particular scheme, Data Matrix, is apparently highly redundant, allowing full recovery of the data even if (up to) 30% of the bar code is destroyed.

http://www.tlashford.com/TLA/pages/Basic_sym/Symbol_overview.htm#DATAMATRIX [tlashford.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_matrix_(computer) [wikipedia.org]

Re:What Happens When ... (4, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352344)

Reading numbers is more error prone. With the bar code, there are presumably lots of check digits and other such loveliness encoded into it.

There's no reason you cannot insert check digits into the number as well.

Re:What Happens When ... (2, Insightful)

Retric (704075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352906)

Also, if you can recover most of the digits and know which ones are missing you can probably brute force the rest.

Re:What Happens When ... (1)

fructose (948996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31351992)

Why would yo fold it? Put it in your filing cabinet and maybe put a copy in a firesafe. Plus, one fold isn't going to tear a paper. I've got lots of papers that are folded that aren't torn. Sure some copies will tear, but some passwords get forgotten too. It's not a perfect solution, but it is another option for those who want a fairly high level of security.

Re:What Happens When ... (1)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352948)

but how is this any different from some kind of redundancy based file system stored on a USB key in the same file safe other than that the USB is probably a lot faster?

Re:What Happens When ... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353118)

Mod parent up!

In order to be really secure, onsite storage of the key is a no-no anyway, so this system must presume anyone interested in getting the password does not have site access.

And in that case, paper is just silly. It is less "safe" (as opposed to secure) than a USB key, since a USB key can't fold or tear, and water won't normally damage it.

I'd say this is a solution looking for a problem. It might be great for off-site backup of your USB key. But I don't see it as useful for much of anything else.

Re:What Happens When ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352052)

The pixels of the 2D code are 2mm by 2mm (0.08 inch x 0.08 inch) and there is about two-fold redundancy in the encoding. Reconstructing should be possible even when there are destructive creases.

Re:What Happens When ... (2, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352072)

The company could store a last-resort backup at a different facility, and allow you access after checking a bunch of biometrics.

Re:What Happens When ... (2, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352090)

All matrix codes have enough redundancy to allow successful decoding when the image is partially damaged. Some have so much redundancy that you can tear them in half and still recover the contents.

Re:What Happens When ... (3, Informative)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352310)

The paper key seems to contain 4x4 x 22x22 = 7744 bits. So can't tear it in half but almost.

Re:What Happens When ... (5, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352252)

Bar codes printed on media of all kinds are generally quite robust and not error prone. The printing device does not need to be special in any way. The reader does not need to be special in any way. Print the key on acid-free paper using a laser printer and store it for a looong time. I'll leave it up to the slashdot tifosi to declare how long it would last in a bank vault.

Some nice ways to encode keys and store it as a symbol on paper here: http://www.adams1.com/stack.html [adams1.com]

Symbology is very non-sexy knowledge, but valuable in logistics.

Re:What Happens When ... (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353114)

If you're really 'paranoid' about storage time get a thin aluminium or steel shim the size of a credit card and etch onto the back of that.

Another plausible scenario I have to watch out for (3, Funny)

Merc248 (1026032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31351934)

Guy holding knife and laxatives: "Poop the paper! Poop it now!"

Re:Another plausible scenario I have to watch out (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352078)

I am sure that such a gentleman would not be using the venacular "poop".

First Po.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31351944)

Hang on! let me get my giant barcode out of my pocket!

Re:First Po.. (3, Insightful)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352200)

Hang on! let me get my giant barcode out of my pocket!

that reminds me of Robin Williams doing his Adam and Eve sketch....."Stand back honey, I do not know how big this can get!!"

Pants? Hmm! (2)

Zancarius (414244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353134)

Hang on! let me get my giant barcode out of my pocket!

That's just the thing... a printed key is just one washing machine away from complete and total disaster at the data center.

In 2006, a guy recited Pi to 100000 places... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352026)

So what could be so hard about memorizing a measly 800 or so characters?

Re:In 2006, a guy recited Pi to 100000 places... (2, Funny)

hansraj (458504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352066)

Nothing, but that poor guy will have to remember passwords for everyone!

Re:In 2006, a guy recited Pi to 100000 places... (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352302)

It takes a special kind of mind to do that.

And that said... I memorized a 48 character hexadecimal password, in case I ever need one. :P

Re:In 2006, a guy recited Pi to 100000 places... (2, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352612)

So what could be so hard about memorizing a measly 800 or so characters?

Pi might be hard. But for encryption keys, It's not hard at all. You just repeat "12345" one hundred and sixty times.

Now, I want half of you to mod this funny, because it is. I want the other half of you to mod it insightful, because we all know that when you put 4096 bit encryption into the hands of an average person, they really do type 12345 one hundred and sixty times.

Re:In 2006, a guy recited Pi to 100000 places... (0, Troll)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353120)

I also want this to be modded funny, but I'm figuring offtopic...

By the way, I just ate my data matrix -- equivalent to swallowing the key!

Lets go old school (1)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352034)

This sounds like a way to put punch cards back in every office.

Re:Lets go old school (2, Funny)

azenpunk (1080949) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353116)

"What's your password?"

"Umm....let's see. Del Monte canned peaches in light syrup, kraft macaroni and cheese, hunts canned pizza sauce, campbels chicken and noodle soup"

"We need a Safeway, tape, scissors and a barcode reader!"

How is this any more secure (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352060)

Than a 4096 Bit RSA Key that is stored on a standalone computer?

It's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352104)

But standalone computers are not a renewable resource the way paper is.

Re:How is this any more secure (1)

mugurel (1424497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352126)

Obvious. A key stored on paper is more likely to perish, and therefore less likely to fall in the hands of evildoers.

Re:How is this any more secure (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352168)

Clearly you've never worked in an office environment. The paper documents last forever Whereas you get lucky when that Dell from 2001 fails so you can upgrade it to a new one.

Re:How is this any more secure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352630)

It may just be that our society still is more geared towards archiving paper, but paper tends to keep. I've seen disks demagnetise, usb keys lose data due to unplugging them incorrectly, cdrs / dvdrs sometimes have bitrot, and digital files have a nasty tendency to get sort of lost. And paper offers more benefits. It doesn't "leak". No matter how you transport it, from your office to your home to your notary for example, unless MI5 thinks you're particularly interesting there will be no residual temporary copies left in the cab or on the train. And you can sign it. As in really, with pen and ink, should the need arise. I know about digital signatures and I know they have the potential to be safer, but in practice the law requires old fashioned signatures for certain things. Allow you to put one on a decryption key is extremely useful.

Re:How is this any more secure (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352204)

Than a 4096 Bit RSA Key that is stored on a standalone computer?

If you use the standalone computer for anything but storing the key, or fail to physically secure the standalone computer from access (separate to any physical security on any computer on which data resides that is secured with the key) it is obviously more secure to keep the key on paper, physically secured in something that isn't opened except to access the key.

If you don't use the standalone computer for anything else, and have it separately physically secured, then for any reasonable use of the word "computer", it will probably be equally secure, and vastly less expensive to separately secure the key on paper, instead.

Perhaps the more relevant comparison is separately securing paper vs. separately securing long-term electronic storage media. The sheet of paper will probably be cheaper in any case (though the price difference drops if you are using inexpensive electronic storage media rather than a dedicate computer), and will likely be more likely to be practically usable to access data a longer time into the future. Though in this case, a key factor is making sure the paper has the key in a human-readable form as well as a machine-readable form, since long-term availability of tools to read any particular machine-readable format is an issue. If you use text in an OCR-friendly font, the human readable format and the machine readable format can be the same.

Re:How is this any more secure (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352390)

If you use the standalone computer for anything but storing the key,

Same problem occurs if I write doodles on the paper -- though I fail to see how that reduces the security, only the reliability.

or fail to physically secure the standalone computer from access

Granted, it's easier to secure a piece of paper. But the same problem applies.

More importantly, a closer analog to the paper is a USB thumb drive, which will fit just as neatly in a safety deposit box, or in your pocket, or (apparently) in your digestive system [slashdot.org] . It has flaws, but these would seem to be the exact same flaws the paper does -- for example, any machine on which I decrypt the data is necessarily a machine which will hold that key in RAM at some point, which means it's a point of failure.

The most paranoid solution I know of in that vein, which I used for awhile, is to boot off a thumb drive (which has the stored keys) and use full-disk encryption on the hard drive. I'd be pwned if and only if someone implements a BIOS-level or hardware-level exploit, and somehow does it without me noticing -- I kept a pretty close eye on that machine, physically. (Tempest would probably work, but you're not going to be left alone with it for long enough to do anything -- best case, you steal it, but then you don't have the USB key in my pocket.)

I stopped doing that when the USB key died, suddenly and completely, leaving me no way of accessing my data -- and my new laptop has an SSD, which is actually fast enough that crypto speed might be a limiting factor, whereas it definitely won't be on a 5400 RPM drive with any sort of modern CPU.

will likely be more likely to be practically usable to access data a longer time into the future.

Possible. We know a lot more about how paper degrades than we do about how data degrades (yet).

Though in this case, a key factor is making sure the paper has the key in a human-readable form as well as a machine-readable form, since long-term availability of tools to read any particular machine-readable format is an issue. If you use text in an OCR-friendly font, the human readable format and the machine readable format can be the same.

Apparently, this is a 2D barcode, with the hex version printed alongside it, so it fulfills both.

Re:How is this any more secure (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352608)

If you use the standalone computer for anything but storing the key,

Same problem occurs if I write doodles on the paper -- though I fail to see how that reduces the security, only the reliability.

Well, doodles on the paper affects reliability. Using the computer for other things affects reliability, true, but if it is separately physically secured, using it for other things means more opportunity for physical security problems, and not separately physically securing it is a pretty big security deficit compared to separately physically-secured paper.

Granted, it's easier to secure a piece of paper. But the same problem applies.

Right. Security issues are broadly the same regardless of medium; the available means, costs, and logistical challenges of addressing them are what differs.

Re:How is this any more secure (2, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353000)

There's a book that's 2200 years old. I don't mean the story (or in this case, poem) is 2200 years old, I mean the *piece of paper* (or in this case, papyrus) on which someone copied the (2400 year-old) poem is 2200 years old. In the right conditions, archival quality paper will last a *lot* longer than any electronic medium.

Re:How is this any more secure (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352276)

It's not more secure. It's cheaper. It's less likely to break down. You can store it in a safe. You can print it using a desktop printer. And its infinitely less likely to be wiped and used as a gaming machine by your 14 year old (if you have 4 year olds you might need the safe though).

Re:How is this any more secure (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352406)

You can store USB keys in a safe. They're relatively cheap. They have no potential to be used as a gaming machine.

Re:How is this any more secure (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352440)

Simple: you print the key in a blank spot on a random page of War and Peace. Good luck to anybody trying to find it without knowing the page number! Whereas in a standalone computer, any disk analysis software should be able to find the key. The point is, as in The Purloined Letter, you put the key in a place no one would think to look for it. Searching your computer and computer media is the _first_ thing anyone looking for the key is going to do! When they come in with a warrant to confiscate your computer, do you think that warrant covers your book collection as well? No, it just covers computers, hard drives, USB drives, CDs/DVDs, etc.

hide the key in a book: great idea! (1)

KWTm (808824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352710)

Simple: you print the key in a blank spot on a random page of War and Peace. Good luck to anybody trying to find it without knowing the page number!

Hey, that's a great idea! But I guess if someone flips through the book, s/he'd be able to find it. Here's an additional idea: print various fake keys in addition, on other pages, and only you know which page contains the real key. Although I guess, unless you use a lot of fake keys, the enemy would be able to just try each key in turn. Defense to that: combine the key with a password, so they have to break the password for each key they try: simple with 1 key, but not so simple if they have multiple keys to try.

How do you print the key in a book, anyway?

Re:How is this any more secure (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352492)

It's cheap?

Also doesn't need electricity, won't suffer a hard drive crash, and is easily duplicated (may or may not be good). Also it's pretty cheap and easy to make paper fairly durable. Laminate itt, print it on photo paper...hell, there's no reason you really need to use paper at all. You could store it on film, you could store it on wood or a clay tablet probably...hell with sufficient desire you could make it out of cement or even friggin' trees. The interesting thing about this is not the fact that it's stored on paper, the interesting thing is the method of creating the pattern and reading it back it.

no thanks my Hard drive is too big (3, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352076)

Online backup is practical

not for my 1.5 terabyte HDD which is about half full.

Right now backing up from hard drive to hard drive takes forever (hours). How the fuck am I gonna back up to a remote server over the internet at 60 kbytes/sec?

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (3, Funny)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352212)

How the fuck am I gonna back up to a remote server over the internet at 60 kbytes/sec?

you can get about 17 MBytes/Sec with a 1.5TB through USPS

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (2, Insightful)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352364)

Yeah, but since when has the post office ever delivered something in one day? I'd say 4MB/s is more likely.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352606)

How the fuck am I gonna back up to a remote server over the internet at 60 kbytes/sec?

you can get about 17 MBytes/Sec with a 1.5TB through USPS

Yes, but what are the service fees? And... where are you overnighting this?

If I wanted highly secure off-site backups, I'd buy an external hard drive or two and keep them in a safe deposit box at my local bank. Do the math on a 15 minutes each way (twice, first getting the hd then going back to put it in) + 15 minutes at the bank each time + x amount of time updating 1.5TB through USB... I bet it'll beat your USPS throughput.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352750)

Why would you try to backup 1.5TB with USB? eSATA would really cut down on the time required.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352248)

They mean BESIDES the music, movies, and pr0n. You know, the 20M or so on your hard drive that's actually useful?

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352362)

They mean BESIDES the music, movies, and pr0n. You know, the [stuff] on your hard drive that's actually useful?

BLASPHEME!

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352256)

rsync? Though I guess it depends on how much data changes throughout the day.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352422)

It'll take forever at first, but yes. Modern backup solutions would tend to be smarter still -- triggering automatically and silently in the background, sending deltas as soon as anything changes -- though presumably you could restrict how much bandwidth and what hours it would operate.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352574)

Sounds great as long as nothing happens between now and 21 weeks from now. Make that 42 weeks if he manages to fill it in that time.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352346)

OK, OK but it is probably practical for most things that require 4096 bits of RSA security. I've currently got two levels of backup. My administration/contacts etc. which is encrypted and backed up to my local ISP at ADSL speeds and on a tiny 2.5" external hdd, and a second one which *should* be stored on a separate hard disk or a RAID system. My favorite CD's I just copy to all my devices. Other things are just not worth backup up, such as 1 TB of downloaded movies - if I like them enough I simply buy the DVD. This one would presumably be for even higher levels of protection.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352634)

I think i should fix that line for you.
"Online backup is practical, for important files"

Not sure about you, but i don't usually classify all that porn as important, especially when it is easy enough to find again.
There are only those few files that are worthy of being classified as VIFs.

Re:no thanks my Hard drive is too big (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352976)

not for my 1.5 terabyte HDD which is about half full.

Doesn't matter how big the volume is. It only matters how much data changes every day. Even if it takes days to sync up the first time, as long as only a few GBs changes, subsequent backups will go plenty fast.

How much added security? (2, Interesting)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352086)

If the source computer is vulnerable, the private key will be vulnerable as well as soon as you use a device connected to the compromised computer to scan it.

Re:How much added security? (3, Informative)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352404)

Yes, whenever you use a key it becomes more vulnerable. This only adds security to the storage, not the use. It's amazing how many times this kind of thing is forgotten, e.g. when using an ultra-secure USB device on a computer with zero protection. It becomes even more "interesting" when you have to use the key in an automated system - obviously this design is not meant for continuous use :).

Smartcard ? (2, Interesting)

KermitTheFragger (776174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352094)

After surfing around a bit on the source site I can't find any compelling reasons why I should use a giant unwieldy printable 2D Barcode instead of a smartcard ? A smartcard reader costs 25 bucks now a days so that cant be much of an obstacle.

Backup (2, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352358)

Since the purpose of this is to backup critical data, you want to make darn sure that you never loose the key, or all the data is worthless. Storing pieces of paper securely and safe from disaster is something that we have been doing for years, and you don't have to look very far for a solution. On the otherhand, most safes, fire boxes and safety deposit boxes will still get hot enough enough in a fire to destroy any digital media stored in them.Paper offers a simple, traditional backup while something like a smart-card could be used on a day to day basis.

You don't need to store it offline.... (1)

KPexEA (1030982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352106)

Image this scenario. Instead of generating a "key" the traditional way you have the user select a file of his or her choice, then an offset and length. So if the user has some jpeg on their machine called goodtimes.jpg that is 100k and they input the offset of 3456 bytes and length of 77654 bytes, the key is then generated using the data inside that file. All they need to remember is the filename, offset and length. The file could be stored on the machine in plain site, or on a removeable pen drive. or even on a public website somewhere using http to access it.

Re:You don't need to store it offline.... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352172)

"Damn, I can't decode my data. Someone must have changed the web page!"

Re:You don't need to store it offline.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352328)

Don't use an image hosted on goatse

Re:You don't need to store it offline.... (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352224)

If the file was stored anywhere obvious that would be a problem. For example, if it is stored on the machine then if someone gets access to the machine they might need to only test a few thousand files, especially if they have any good understanding of the time span from when the encryption was made. If they use a public website then you are vulnerable to having the website go down and can't access it unless you've got internet. Moreover, someone with access to your history might be able to identify the file (or at least would have a very small list of candidates). The use of a pen drive would actually be practical. But that's primarily because a pen drive is a small object that can be easily hidden, not because of any great aspect of this key generation scheme.

Re:You don't need to store it offline.... (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352332)

That's only valid if they know (or are suspicious) that you used a regular file instead of a more secure key. It's one of those hidden in plain sight things. It's not secure in the traditional sense, but it's a fairly good method of providing a roadblock (After all, the true test of "security" is whether or not someone who's trying to break in can)...

Re:You don't need to store it offline.... (1)

KPexEA (1030982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352478)

Even if they know the file you are using, and let's say for an example that the file is 100k, but they don't know the offset and length from where the key is generated inside the file, there is a lot of possible combination to test. Wouldn't that be like 100k factorial combinations?

Don't use datamatrix (4, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352108)

Datamatrix is the Gif of the barcode world. It has a bunch of patents covering it.

PDF417 [wikipedia.org] does mostly the same thing, can be read with a laser (instead of an imager) and was designed to be open source and patent free from the beginning.

Re:Don't use datamatrix (3, Interesting)

Kostya (1146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352158)

The wikipedia article on DataMatrix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Matrix#Patent_issues) seems to imply it is unencumbered--perhaps I'm misunderstanding something?

Prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent 5,612,524, intellectual property company Acacia Technologies claimed that Data Matrix was partially covered by its contents. As the patent owner, Acacia allegedly contacted Data Matrix users demanding license fees related to the patent.

Cognex Corporation, a large manufacturer of 2D barcode devices, filed a declaratory judgment complaint on March 13, 2006 after receiving information that Acacia had contacted its customers demanding licensing fees. On May 19, 2008 Judge Joan N. Ericksen of the U.S. District Court in Minnesota ruled in favor of Cognex. The ruling held that the '524 patent, which claimed to cover a system for capturing and reading 2D symbology codes, is both invalid and unenforceable due to inequitable conduct by the defendants during the procurement of the patent.

Notably, since the '524 patent expired in November 2007, a ruling against Cognex wouldn't have affected current use of Data Matrix anyway. However, it would have established that use of Data Matrix prior to November 2007 could potentially be covered by the '524 patent.

Bar Codes Are Not Error Prone (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352124)

It would be hell if you lost the symbology though. Otherwise, this is very practical to the few who understand what been done.

Re:Bar Codes Are Not Error Prone (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352534)

It would be hell if you lost the symbology though

I'm sure the word you were looking for was "symbolism.". It would be hell if you lost the symbo-- wait, oh, right...

Re:Bar Codes Are Not Error Prone (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353078)

*sigh*

And they banned the sequel in Australia, still managed to get a copy, damn funny stuff :)

I think it could be a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352210)

you need that much security, for some reason I am 1000000% curious of what you are doing now. If you had an old 286 machine in the corner I would likely just ignore it

the question is mute (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352442)

This is so obviously an advertisement for the Safeberg product... but also is so stupid of an idea that: ok, I'll bite.

Storing your key as a UPC graphic is NO MORE SECURE than printing out the hex characters in human readable format. Granted it takes more time to manually copy... But what? you think that your thief don't have a camera on hand to peruse your key later or just steal the paper? This is called security by obscurity... which doesn't count towards security in a meaningful way.

Then there is the paper vs other storage formats. How the heck does this company believe that putting digital keys on paper is any more secure then putting them onto a digital storage medium. If data is burned onto a CD or stored onto a USB key and removed from the computer... it is just as "offline" as any other non-digital object. So what's with the paper.

Are you looking to save money? Paper vs USB/CD? Not relivent unless you have thousands of keys and want to individually secure or release them on demand. So for the average user or business... there is no cost savings benefit.

Also, USB is physically strong. Depending on the housing, you can usually put it through the washing machine or run over it with a car. Do that with paper.

This is so ridiculous. Some guy must have thought this was a brilliant idea at one time. Too bad he wasted so much money on this idea by setting up a bogus website to appear as a valid company with good/usable ideas. Please avoid this product and their proprietary suggestions at all costs. I think their concept is actually a reduction in data security and integrity.

IMO, based on the video and what I read on their site... Safeberg is a very bad company with very bad ideas.

Real Solution: put your digital keys on USB. Store your USB in a safe private place. Call a bank and get a lock box.

suck my dick, linux faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352516)

fucking dirty bird homosexuals.

Does the key have to be printed on paper? (1)

Rhacman (1528815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352546)

Could it perhaps be printed on say, a cracker? That fellow that swallowed the USB flash drive to prevent investigators from using it for evidence might be interested.

Ahhhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352642)

I just spilled coffee on the bar code!

(Just a what-if scenerio.)

Ummmm.... (3, Interesting)

jemenake (595948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352676)

I'm not sure I grok this notion of not storing the key with the source machine. I mean... if I can get to the machine you backed up... I don't really need to get to the backup, do I? I've got fresher data right there in front of me.

Now, if you're really trying to protect some kind of historical record of how your data has progressed over time, then that would be a reason why access to the source computer still didn't get the intruder access to what you're trying to protect... but that's a very special case.

Dunno. Maybe I'm just missing the point.

Why not use OpenPGPCard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352708)

Why not just use OpenPGPCard 2.0? It supports up to 3072bit RSA keys, and I'm sure bigger keys in the future.
Just unplug, and it's offline. Seems a lot more secure than a barcode on paper.

Paper tape (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352724)

You could use long strips of paper [wikipedia.org] with holes punched in it (or not punched). Or you could build one of these [wikipedia.org] with a somewhat longer strip of paper.

google docs as safe as email. (1)

barv (1382797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352764)

It is extremely convenient to use google documents to store current work online. Access is available from anywhere. I believe a 4096 RSA key is totally unnecessary for protection because the password is for entry to the online vault, not to decrypt a downloadable document. Presumably an online vault would object to even a dictionary attack. Most online vaults (e.g. mail accounts) close up for a time after three failed attempts.

If the account is compromised, it is almost certainly because the owner was not careful about the security of their password. Or maybe the owner chose a password like their birthdate, or used the same password as for the website dodgyfellows.com

ECC only requires 75 chars (1)

joeku98 (1279932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352766)

ECC-521 exceeds RSA4096 in terms of security strength, and it would only require approx 75 ascii chars to represent the key. It's still ridiculously long, but it's certainly much shorter than the 800 chars required by RSA4096!

If companies that use this level of security... (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31352904)

If the companies that need this level of security are anything like the one I work for then they are in serious trouble. More likely yet instead of printing the file and tucking it away I will just save it as a pdf on the public web folder. We might spend big bucks developing the data but im sure our printer that they would use to generate the key would have a bad print head at just the right time for this key to be generated when we need to recover it. And can you imagine what the back door entry key for the NSA might look like when printed. I can imagine it being NSFW when you look at it from a distance.

Store private keys on paper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31352936)

http://www.jabberwocky.com/software/paperkey/

No affiliation, but throught it worth a mention. Also not affiliated with the following, which would've been a million times more useful as open source:

http://www.xerox.com/Static_HTML/xsis/dataglph.htm

This is presumably also (or somilar to) the technology behind photocopiers and such detecting images of money.

Not any more secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31353020)

Or you might consider it no more secure than a 64-bit key, as the entire scheme is based solely on computational power and assumes that there will be no significant breakthrough in that area. Computing power is still based largely on the number of transitors we can put on a chip and the cycles per second (currently GHz range) we can operate them. Be for computional was electrical, it was mechanical. Before it was mechanical, it was manual.

Quantum computing offers a possibility far beyond standard electrical (transistor) based computing. Even if Quantum computing is never fully realized or does not live up to expecations, it is extremely pessimistic (bordering on irrational) to assume that we won't realize computing power capable of handling far more than 4096-bit keys. Yes yes. I know. The time -investment issue. Follow the curves over the last 100 years and this will still be trivial.

Idiotic (3, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31353032)

This makes absolutely no sense. Smart cards have been around for many years now. There, you NEVER give ANYONE or anything access to your private key. Challenge-response, one-time-passwords, tokens, etc, etc. Putting it on paper is LESS SECURE than sticking it on a thunb drive. Then at least it can't be stolen by taking a picture...

Punched Paper Tape!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31353038)

Finally an reason to revive punched paper tape!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_tape [wikipedia.org] Longevity. Although many magnetic tapes have deteriorated over time to the point that the data on them has been irretrievably lost, punched tape can be read many decades later, if printed on Acid free paper.

Also: http://obsoleteskills.com/skills/usingpapertapeforprogramming [obsoleteskills.com]

It's lightweight and the readers can be dead simple: photo detectors using ambient light with the tape being manually pulled through the reader. If you want ultra reliability then use mylar plastic tape. The punches are more of a pain in the ass, but they are also not very complex.

The real win is that you get to play with the punch chad!

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