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The Guardian and the Wikileaks Encryption Key

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the cascade-of-decisions dept.

Encryption 196

rtfa-troll writes "Bruce Schneier has a good article explaining how the Guardian released the encryption key for the WikiLeaks cables and destroyed the main protection against the release of informers' personal information. The comments in Schneier's blog fill in details of how exactly WikiLeaks' secondary file security protections were also bypassed. Now the Guardian has an article that Assange risks arrest by Australia over the latest leaks, which include information about an Australian intelligence officer. They even say, 'We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk,' and go on to state that 'The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone,' something which seems clearly debunked in the analysis on Schneier's blog."

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Links & hints to the data (5, Informative)

mcantsin (2417600) | about 3 years ago | (#37292314)

http://cryptome.org/z/z.7z [cryptome.org] (368MB) pwd: ACollectionOfDiplomaticHistorySince_1966_ToThe_PresentDay# http://pastebin.com/SBq9Xpsr [pastebin.com] http://cryptome.org/xyz/x.gpg.torrent [cryptome.org] (Returns xyz_x.gpg, 409MB. No passphrase yet) http://cryptome.org/xyz/y.gpg.torrent [cryptome.org] (Returns xyz_y.gpg, 88MB. No passphrase yet) http://cryptome.org/xyz/y-docs.gpg.torrent [cryptome.org] (Returns xyz_y-docs.gpg, 8MB. No passphrase yet) http://cryptome.org/xyz/z.gpg.torrent [cryptome.org] (Returns xyz_z.gpg, 368MB. Passphrase below) "xyz_z.gpg" and "z.gpg" appear to be identical and both decrypt to "z.7z." The decrypted file is "z.7z," 368MB, which unzips to "cables.csv," about 1.7GB in size, dated 4/12/2010.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0, Redundant)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 3 years ago | (#37292384)

Information wants to be free, and I do appreciate your eagerness to propagate this information, but people will die as a result of these leaked cables.

Re:Links & hints to the data (5, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | about 3 years ago | (#37292450)

They accepted the risks when they engaged in the covert operations to begin with. People who uncover secrets are not responsible for deaths -- killers are.

Re:Links & hints to the data (3, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 3 years ago | (#37292518)

Not everyone in these documents was involved in covert operations.

I personally know a person who was mentioned in these documents. He can't be the only one who was innocently roped into this.

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

lgarner (694957) | about 3 years ago | (#37292556)

Those who assist the killers are equally responsible.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0)

mcantsin (2417600) | about 3 years ago | (#37292624)

"Riqui Ran los madeiras de San Juan, piden pan. - No les dan! Piden queso les tan un queso!"

so Colin Powell.... (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37292818)

is guilty of torture?

Re:Links & hints to the data (5, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37292868)

Look at this from the tin-hat angle:

David Leigh/Guardian is working in the interest of CIA/MI6 and looking not to collaborate with WikiLeaks, but to ensnare him for prosecution.
Clue: DL Insisting on seeing the actual files
Clue: DL Pressing for the GPG passphrase
Clue: DL Publishing the ENTIRE proceeding and passphrase in a book

Dumbshit-Borg is either a long-time mole or was "turned"
Clue: D-B had full access to all unredacted material
Clue: D-B acrimoniously split with Assange/WikiLeaks over ego-boundary shit and speculative "risk" issues
Clue: D-B in his schism is part of the probable exposure of these cables - portrayed as an "accident", while he was unilaterally and admittedly sabotaging WikiLeaks
Clue: D-B can now say "I told you so" over this exposure of sources - pointing to this as evidence, rather than a situation he perpetrated

The US Army Counterintelligence Agency said in 2008 that WikiLeaks was"a potential force protection, counterintelligence, OPSEC, and INFOSEC threat to the US Army" and PLANNED OPERATIONS to neutralise/discredit WikiLeaks:

"The identification, exposure, or termination of employment of or legal actions against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others from using Wikileaks.org to make such information public."

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28385794/Us-Intel-Wikileaks [scribd.com]

Question: Do you think that the Agency makes these declarations in vain, for their entertainment value?

Question: Do you think they are alone, and that there are not equivalent planned and current operations by the CIA, etc.?

Question: Are the combined actions of DL and D-B implausible as the intended outcome of a counter-WikiLeaks strategy, set in motion by one or more intelligence agencies, including US Army Counterintelligence?

Think about it. Once they set this down IN PRINT, internally, and don't have a "positive" outcome? Sombody goes through the ringer.

This is likely all a setup. One with a scenario that is similar to the one indicated here, if not completely identical. It is one where where David Leigh and Dumbshit-Borg are either pathetic and self-serving dupes, or sickening quislings.

Either way, this is a noose fabricated of intentional actions with plausible deniability. Identify WikiLeaks with Assange's personality, and attack the personality. Attack the credibility of WikiLeaks methodology while distracting from their effectiveness and success in exposing filth, corruption and illegal government action.

I know the will get Assange one way or another. They just created the circumstance to have him charged in Australia - their one sure bet. But watch out, DL and D-B.

When your mysterious, untimely deaths occur, I will look at it as confirmation of these speculations.

And proudly burnish my tin-hat...

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

poena.dare (306891) | about 3 years ago | (#37293210)

Dude! I saw you on Salon. Sure, it's normal for me to sink that low, BUT YOU???

Serial comment systems suck donkeys!

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37293320)

Heh.

I want to contrast reactions. That is one of three postings of this theory.

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

MimeticLie (1866406) | about 3 years ago | (#37293220)

I know the will get Assange one way or another. They just created the circumstance to have him charged in Australia - their one sure bet.

If that does happen, it'll be Assange's own fault. I don't buy for a minute that shadowy TLAs forced him into this; they just gave him an excuse to do what he wanted to do anyway: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/02/us-wikileaks-cables-assange-idUSTRE7816SM20110902 [reuters.com]

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

MimeticLie (1866406) | about 3 years ago | (#37293254)

Oh, and by "they" I meant the Guardian.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37293260)

You are missing a key piece.

He didn't want them all dumped un-redacted.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37292896)

Don't take a job in the Mafia's typing pool.

Don't support any government with a standing army, stationed in any foreign nation.

Re:Links & hints to the data (5, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#37292684)

They accepted the risks when they engaged in the covert operations to begin with. People who uncover secrets are not responsible for deaths -- killers are.

If your ex will kill you if he/she knows where you live, and I know your ex will do that, and I tell your ex where you live, I am *not* blameless

If the country you're in will kill you if it knows what you do, and I know the country will do that, and I tell them what you do, I am not blameless.

Saying someone accepted the risk of a bad result does not mean that other people who cause that result are inherently blameless. You may accept the risk of an accident when you drive to work in the morning, but if I hit you with my car, it may still be my fault.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0, Flamebait)

genjix (959457) | about 3 years ago | (#37292980)

Blaa blaa and if women dress provocatively then they are to blame for getting raped.

Nice one shifting the blame away from the perpetrator.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

MimeticLie (1866406) | about 3 years ago | (#37293186)

You're an idiot. He's not blaming the victim, he's (rightly) laying some of the blame at the feet of the people who revealed the victim. The post he was replying to what the one that said "you leak something, you deserve what you get, hurr".

Re:Links & hints to the data (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37293006)

Just an aside here, I don't know how relevant it is.

I love how all the small-government types - the ones who think that the notions of commonwealth are somehow equivalent to boogieman socialism - get all righteously pro-State, when it comes to WikiLeaks. It is a curious kind of cognitive dissonance.

I propose that this psychological maladaptation is the expected outcome of an authoritarian personality forming in the context of what is, nominally, a republic.

George Orwell was impossibly subtle and perceptive in his fictional exposition of this as "DoubleThink". He demonstrates it as obvious, oxymoronic contradiction - a caricature of the actual mental state of those who enable and support totalitarian positions.

"Freedom isn't Free" Christ! That's the knee-jerk truism for "War is Peace", "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength" in one, compact portmanteau!

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#37293562)

Secrets aren't totalitarian or authoritarian. They're a necessary part of any functional diplomacy.

And my own aside. I love how stupid these "truthers" are(we'll call them that, since they always want the truth). Information doesn't want to be free. It's not sentient. It has no feelings. Hard truth, right there.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 years ago | (#37293018)

If your ex will kill you if he/she knows where you live, and I know your ex will do that, and I tell your ex where you live, I am *not* blameless

If the country you're in will kill you if it knows what you do, and I know the country will do that, and I tell them what you do, I am not blameless.

Who is Glenn Beck? What is Fox News?

I'll take "Non-Edible Fruits" for $800 please Alex.

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 3 years ago | (#37293106)

On the other hand, if the information in the cables isn't released, people who have already committed actual crimes will go unpunished.

It's unfortunate that they weren't redacted before release, but the genie is out of the bottle now. I'll wager that evil dictator governments, amoral multinational corporations, organised crime gangs and terrorist organisations won't be getting their copy from the Slashdot comments.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0, Troll)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#37293566)

On the other hand, if the information in the cables isn't released, people who have already committed actual crimes will go unpunished.

Like Assange, right?

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 3 years ago | (#37293836)

I don't know if he's committed an actual crime or not, and unless you're the troll account for one of two particular Swedish women, neither do you.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#37293936)

He's an accessory to any crime committed as a result of this information.

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

SteveTheNewbie (1171139) | about 3 years ago | (#37294132)

Following that logic, so too would the US State Department

Can we also blame the Guardian and anyone that downloaded the files ?

Also, has anyone actually been hurt from this as yet ? or is this more posturing on the side of the ignorant masses ? (that's actually a serious question)

Re:Links & hints to the data (1, Informative)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 3 years ago | (#37293542)

They accepted the risks when they engaged in the covert operations to begin with. People who uncover secrets are not responsible for deaths -- killers are.

If your ex will kill you if he/she knows where you live, and I know your ex will do that, and I tell your ex where you live, I am *not* blameless

If you got in bed with a psycho, deliberately betrayed him/her without his/her knowledge, and then broke up and went into hiding--but they didn't know you did anything--then me telling your ex that it was you, and what you did, is karma. Don't get me wrong, it's also me being an asshole, unless I'm friends with your ex and care more about him/her than you, but you did something wrong, you knew you did, you knew they'd be mad, and whatever your reason, it's on your damn head.

You're painting "Psycho ex" as something inevitable, a force of nature. Don't. Don't make them something mythical. They exist, and they exist because people were assholes to them and fucked up their lives. Surprise surprise, when you do the same, you get reamed for it. Similarly, don't consider tyrants and other corrupt assholes to be a force of nature, just because you can't do anything about them. Every single one of the situations in the world has a history, even if you don't care, even if you had nothing to do with it, even if you can't change it, now or ever.

Re:Links & hints to the data (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 3 years ago | (#37292974)

They accepted the risks when they engaged in the covert operations to begin with.

OK, here's a new plan.

Firstly, we must stop using human intelligence sources to anticipate and try to prevent criminal acts, because the sources are often inherently at risk and you don't want to protect them.

Because the public will not stand for the damaging acts that are likely to result, we need a new source of information to help prevent them. Let's make disclosure of all communications to the state mandatory, declare any use of encryption in communications or storage reasonable grounds to suspect criminal intent, and treat anyone who does it as a suspected terrorist until proven otherwise. If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear, so obviously this won't have any chilling effects.

Also, we should stop conducting quiet diplomacy behind closed doors, because not everyone knows what their government is doing under those circumstances, and that is just wrong. Everyone needs to know everything that goes on in government immediately or the very fabric of society is at risk.

Instead of making deals with the devil, we must ensure that we fight any opposing philosophy to the bitter end, no matter the cost and no matter how long it takes. We have, after all, been highly successful in places like the Middle East using that strategy. Meanwhile, it's not as if developments like the Northern Irish peace process started with a few brave individuals on both sides meeting secretly to see if decades of bloodshed could be brought to an end or anything. That probably didn't save anyone's life or improve the quality of life across a whole country anyway.

While we're at it, we should probably also ban witness protection programmes. Courts must be open and impartial, and there is no risk to their effectiveness in cases relating to gang violence, sexual assaults, and corruption if everything is always heard with the press present.

Finally, we should definitely televise all official government meetings in real time. Politics can be kept at bay, and we are bound to wind up with more sensible policies if decisions are made based on which sound-bite will sound best on the evening news rather than the considered opinions of experts who are familiar with more subtle arguments than "Five minutes ago you agreed with part of something I almost said in another discussion, so if you don't back me up now that's a U-turn!!!!111!eleven!"

OK, here's another plan.

First, we could use just the tiniest bit of common sense. Some things are secret for good reasons, and whatever the conspiracy theorists like to say, I'm betting that most people in government, in the police, in the security services, and in the armed forces in my country are basically decent people doing their best to protect the rest of us from not-so-decent people. Those who abuse authority should be dealt with appropriately, but we could consider a less black-and-white view and not throw out the whole fridge because a bit of cheese got mouldy.

Transparency is important, and checks and balances are important, and oversight is important, and respect for democratic roots is important, and secrets should only be kept from the general public for legitimate reasons and for as long as absolutely necessary. However, I don't think we would like to live in a world where only the bad guys kept secrets at all, and I don't think we would like to live in a world where no-one was brave enough to stand up for what is right for fear of the repercussions when they were inevitably compromised.

Re:Links & hints to the data (3, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 3 years ago | (#37293620)

When dealing with a trusted keeper of secrets, there is a very fine line between "common sense, let them keep secrets" and simply being a dupe to a predatory and potentially crimial entity. Wikileaks wouldn't exist if the various governments of the world gave us even the slightest reason to trust them.

In the US, our elected officials are one step shy of openly taking bribes, and in the last few months, two of the three branches have been mired in what boils down to little more than a dick waving contest. We have spent a decade occupying two countries we invaded without the slightest bit of reliable intel that would give us reason to do so. Our economy was raped by Wall Street parasites that subsequently got written a big check and left without so much as a slap on the wrist.

I have absolutely zero faith that our government has the best interests of its people in mind. While I would not personally go as far as actively work to release classified documents, I find it particularly difficult to chastise anyone who believes they need to do so for the good of the public.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 3 years ago | (#37293888)

In the US, our elected officials are one step shy of openly taking bribes, and in the last few months, two of the three branches have been mired in what boils down to little more than a dick waving contest. We have spent a decade occupying two countries we invaded without the slightest bit of reliable intel that would give us reason to do so. Our economy was raped by Wall Street parasites that subsequently got written a big check and left without so much as a slap on the wrist.

And yet all of this has happened out in the wide open, without your population doing anything to remove those elected officials. What sort of difference is telling a few citizens who might actually care about a few more minor infractions (relatively speaking) going to make, when affronts like the above are carried on with apparent impunity?

Meanwhile, this year has seen the biggest forcible assertion of democratic values in generations. How much of the result is down to a few nameless heroes who fought from within, we will probably never fully know. However, I think it is a safe bet that had the authoritarian regimes in question known who they were, they would not be alive today and some or all of the rebellions in the Arab Spring would have failed.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 3 years ago | (#37293624)

They accepted the risks when they engaged in the covert operations to begin with. People who uncover secrets are not responsible for deaths -- killers are.

I'm sure that the killers have their excuses too . . .

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

mcantsin (2417600) | about 3 years ago | (#37292496)

... for the LULZ!

Pls visit this: http://nyan.cat/ [nyan.cat]

Re:Links & hints to the data (3, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 3 years ago | (#37292504)

people will die as a result of these leaked cables.

Maybe. The question is, will more or less die as a result of Wikileaks making it public knowledge that they have leaked. As DarkOX already pointed out the secret services already have the files so they are looking for the sources already. Now it's possible for a source to simply type in their name and know if they are in there.

The other question is; who should take the blame. The US government which kept the names in plaintext in a database with millions of people having access; the Guardian which when trusted with secret data seems to have failed to put their IT security people on the case (how the hell else could they expect the password to an encrypted archive to change) or Wikileaks.

P.S. If you are a source and want to check if you are in there, do this on a local copy of the archives or at least do it over https. Remember that searching the archives for your name may be enough to trigger someone coming knocking.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about 3 years ago | (#37294122)

The US government which kept the names in plaintext in a database with millions of people having access

All this is going to lead to is the State Dept, DoD and other agencies going back to stovepiped info systems, since having a shared common operation like this is obviously flawed.

I don't know that "millions" have access to the secure networks where these cables were originally transmitted, either. It was "plaintext" but on a secure network where the user was the vulnerability.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292536)

If you mean that his spreading this on /. may contribute to those deaths, that's some Epic Bullshit. The info is out, and the people who care enough to kill someone over it will surely care enough to find it without his convenient links.

If you mean it simply as information with no blame attached, then it's only mild bullshit; any worthwhile intelligence agency had it decrypted within 48 hours after Leigh's book went on sale. Now it's possible some very small and poorly-connected groups (i.e. no ties to a national intelligence agency to feed them the info) will find out this way, so it's conceivable someone may die who otherwise wouldn't have, but the bulk of the harm was done well before the public became aware of the passphrase & cyphertext's coexistence.

Re:Links & hints to the data (4, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 3 years ago | (#37292632)

I'm sure you're correct in that most of the damage has already been done. I am, however, reacting to the cavalier attitude with which people seem to be treating this data. People have and will be killed over this information, and more importantly, next time someone is considering leaking something that may benefit the public as a whole, they're going to think twice about doing it. Because of that, this leak is a terrible thing for the world.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 3 years ago | (#37293112)

People have and will be killed over this information [...]

[citation needed]

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#37293576)

Assange already claimed responsibility for that one. No citation necessary.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 3 years ago | (#37293840)

Assange has claimed responsibility for a death? Whose?

Re:Links & hints to the data (1, Informative)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#37293952)

"1,300 people were eventually killed, and 350,000 were displaced. That was a result of our leak," says Assange. It's a chilling statistic, but then he states: "On the other hand, the Kenyan people had a right to that information..."

1,300 accessories to murder, I'd say.

Re:Links & hints to the data (5, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37292564)

These leaked cables are about HAVING KILLED PEOPLE!

Including the point-blank firing of weapons into the heads of toddlers.

Including Israeli lies about killing "terrorists" being revealed as bombing and killing 16 civilian villagers, at prayer.

Like most reactionary cranks, you fret SO over the theoretical loss of life that might occur, if illegal and anti-democratic secrecy is not punitively enforced.

Where is your concern, passion and outrage about the ACTUAL callous and criminal loss of life, that would have initiated any such threat?

Your hypocrisy and disingenuous moral posturing stinks like the foetid pool of death that you defend.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292650)

I'll take ten of your "reactionary cranks" to one of you radical leftards any day. And guess what, so does most people. Geee, by looking at your rant, we wonder why. NOT.

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37292916)

OK. Go back to shooting babies in the head, and forget I said anything.

Re:Links & hints to the data (4, Informative)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | about 3 years ago | (#37293060)

Including the point-blank firing of weapons into the heads of toddlers.

I'm guessing you meant this:

WikiLeaks: Iraqi children in U.S. raid shot in head, U.N. says [mcclatchydc.com]

Bradley Manning did the right thing.

Re:Links & hints to the data (4, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37293162)

No "few bad apples".

An airstrike was called in, to try and destroy evidence of the scene.

These are beginning to emerge as "business as usual" occurrences from Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, in history, we revile the Wehrmacht of Nazis for this same activity.

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 3 years ago | (#37293062)

Most of the damning information in the cables about corrupt governments and civilian casualties was leaked over a year ago. What was leaked in February, and recently publicized, were the sources of those leaks. So all the moral people who risked their lives and the lives of their families to expose corruption are now being rooted out and killed by said corrupt governments.

So next time someone comes across something horrible and thinks about leaking it, they'll probably remember this incident and all of the attention that it generated and think better of doing it. Where's your indignation over that?

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37293196)

I propose that this "leak" was the planned outcome of an operation, probably by the US Army Counterintelligence Agency. This agency has documents that revealed their plan to cause this EXACT kind of exposure, to discredit and subvert WikiLeaks.
url:http://www.scribd.com/doc/28385794/Us-Intel-Wikileaks

When two of the three critical players, Dumbshit-Borg and David Leigh have demonstrated themselves to be mendacious, disingenuous, self-serving and un-trustworthy? I look to them, with their insider roles, to be plausible suspects for the execution of this operation.

Re:Links & hints to the data (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 3 years ago | (#37292652)

Information wants to be free, and I do appreciate your eagerness to propagate this information, but people will die as a result of these leaked cables.

You've said that twice now. How do you know it to be true? These cables weren't internal CIA reports, most of them were not even classified and those few that were had only the lowest level of classification.

Furthermore, the information was "leaked" by the Guardian's careless publication of a password. Wikileaks officially publishing them now in an easily searchable form means anyone at risk has the ability to check for themselves if their names are mentioned - the bad guys have had the cables since at least last week, if not for the last few months following the publication of the password in February.

Re:Links & hints to the data (5, Funny)

he-sk (103163) | about 3 years ago | (#37292760)

Information wants to be free, and I do appreciate your eagerness to propagate this information, but people will die as a result of these leaked cables.

You've said that twice now. How do you know it to be true?

It's true because it's in bold.

Re:Links & hints to the data (2)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | about 3 years ago | (#37293098)

Furthermore, the information was "leaked" by the Guardian's careless publication of a password. Wikileaks officially publishing them now in an easily searchable form means anyone at risk has the ability to check for themselves if their names are mentioned - the bad guys have had the cables since at least last week, if not for the last few months following the publication of the password in February.

It was encrypted _once_ with a symmetric key algorithm apparently, and the same encrypted data was distributed to multiple parties and the whole Internet, as an insurance policy.

_S_t_u_p_i_d_

If Wikileaks REALLY cared that this would happen (they didn't) they would have encrypted it with a different symmetric key per recipient, or used a PKI system.

I'm not going to add to all the "journalists shouldn't be expected to understand crypto" malarky. They were told the password was temporary which would have been true if their cipher text wasn't spread to the far corners of the Internet. Since it was all encrypted with the same key, who knows who spread the data, it does't even matter. Bad crypto practice, BAD!

Everyone wondering "who really torrented the symmetrically encrypted data" is a retard. The word "Guardian" could have been put in the passphrase, problem solved. Trust me, WL did not give a shit that this would eventually happen.

the bad guys have had the cables since at least last week

I like how "bad guys" getting the data matters only when you think the buck can be safely passed. Hilarious.
Before this it was all "good guys" reading it right?

millions of people -have died- from govt lies (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37292696)

and secrecy. it is the history of the twentieth century.

Patrice Lumumba being a perfect example.

im not saying Wikileaks did the right thing, im just saying to be 'outraged' is a little hard to understand.

Re:millions of people -have died- from govt lies (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 3 years ago | (#37293014)

Yes, they have.

But screwing over a whole bunch of other people who are trying to make the world a better place just because you can isn't going to bring the dead back.

Destabilising sensitive negotiations and compromising sources will almost certainly result in more deaths, though, not just for the sources and their families but because the work they were doing was undermined.

Most of the Wikileaks stuff that came out before wasn't particularly damning, in the sense of exposing great wrong-doings by government agents that we didn't already know about or at least strongly suspect. If there are further cases that need to be exposes in the interests of justice then sure, expose them. I'm all for government getting called on it when they're behaving improperly, and I'm all for punishing those involved so that justice is seen to be done. However, the bottom line is that there was no real public interest in forcing most of the earlier Wikileaks releases I saw, redacted or otherwise. This sort of unrestricted disclosure isn't going to help anyone, except people you don't want to be helping.

stuff that might happen vs reality (2)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37293130)

people said wikileaks would cause casualties. well, its been a year+ since alot of this stuff was released. who has died? can anyone name a single person who has died so far?

"Destabilising sensitive negotiations and compromising sources will almost certainly result in more deaths, though, not just for the sources and their families but because the work they were doing was undermined."

im not saying i dont believe you. im just asking for evidence.

there are a lot of kids in pakistan who have died because of drone strokes. they didn't "theoretically die", in the mind of some internet blogger, they actually died, in real life, with their guts hanging out all over the floor, screaming for their parents who were probably splattered all over the adjacent wall.

why should i be more concerned over something that theoretically, might happen, (and i have been waiting a year for it to happen) versus something that happens every other week, in reality? this is my problem with this argument. this is where i fall down actually giving a shit about the 'crimes of wikileaks'.

Re:stuff that might happen vs reality (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 3 years ago | (#37293922)

people said wikileaks would cause casualties. well, its been a year+ since alot of this stuff was released. who has died?

It's hasn't been a year since the release of the uncensored data, and even if the authorities in hostile states had gotten hold it of seven months ago, the sheer volume of it would limit how quickly they could react. It is far too soon to even claim that no harm has been done, leaving aside the fact that given the nature of those involved, any friendly casualties would probably be kept very quiet.

However, as of the past couple of days we already know that many people considered at risk and marked for protection have had their identities compromised. How can there ever be any public interest justification for that?

why should i be more concerned over something that theoretically, might happen, (and i have been waiting a year for it to happen) versus something that happens every other week, in reality?

Well aside from my argument above, how about because the two things you describe are not mutually exclusive? I doubt any Wikileaks releases have prevented any drone strikes. On the other hand, time will (or won't) tell whether the high level Al-Qaeda operatives who have been captured or killed in recent months would have escaped if those who ultimately betrayed their positions had been compromised before our forces could act.

Re:stuff that might happen vs reality (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37293950)

"I doubt any Wikileaks releases have prevented any drone strikes"

well they COULD, in THEORY... which is the only standard of evidence we are dealing with.

Re:Links & hints to the data (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 3 years ago | (#37292732)

but people will die

In my opinion, the most important question is: how many? I'm not implying that these leaks do a good job of exposing corruption (whether they do or do not is another matter to me), but in general, I think if it does do a "good" job of exposing corruption, the lives of the few are a worthy sacrifice (and it isn't even guaranteed that they will lose their lives).

Re:Links & hints to the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292778)

People have died which is a hard fact and they are still dying, which is also a hard fact because of the illegal Wars and occupation. People dying as a result of leaked cables is FUD propagated by the war criminals. If and when we focus on the root cause real solution becomes apparent that we should imprison the war criminals. This is the most important thing but all discussion has successfully been hijacked onto Wikileaks.

I do feel for those hypothetical victims, if any turn out to be true. Even in this case the ultimate responsibility rests with the war criminals.

Re:Links & hints to the data (1)

shic (309152) | about 3 years ago | (#37292908)

...people will die as a result of these leaked cables.

Will more people die as a result of more widespread distribution - in your opinion? Do you have any evidence that genuine assassins need help from Slashdot to gain access to leaked intelligence data?

My perspective is that this seems weird... JA and Wikileaks went to great lengths not to release non-redacted data... I don't believe that the Guardian mistakenly published the key... I can hardly believe that JA/Wikileaks gave it to them - and I find it inconceivable that they did this without making clear that the key was in strictest confidence. If the Guardian published the key, then the Guardian - not Wikileaks - released the data without redactions... somehow I doubt that the Guardian (journalist) will suffer the same reaction as JA/Wikileaks.

Re:Links & hints to the data (4, Insightful)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 3 years ago | (#37293082)

It's been a year, and so far, nobody has died as a result of the leaked cables. Not saying it won't happen, but it hasn't happened so far.

On the other hand, the cables contain information about people who have been murdered. These crimes would not be known, nor their murderers known, were it not for the release of the cables. So you seem to be advocating the cover-up an actual crime to potentially stop a future, theoretical crime. That'd be a great one for an undergraduate philosophy class to work through.

I think the difference is ... (2)

khasim (1285) | about 3 years ago | (#37293454)

I think the difference in this "outrage" is whether the dead are "them" or not.

1 potential threat to even one of "us"
is worth far more than
1,000's of actual injuries or deaths to "them".

Freedom of information (-1, Redundant)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 3 years ago | (#37292378)

I'm usually the first person to want to propagate information, but people will die as a result of these leaked cables.

Re:Freedom of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292392)

I'm usually the first person to want to propagate information, but people will die as a result of these leaked cables.

Ordinarily I'd be inclined to agree, but the avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.

Re:Freedom of information (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292420)

With any luck they'll all be politicians.

Re:Freedom of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292438)

Any foreign intelligence agency worth its salt would already have had access to this information. All the release has done is let the proles take a peek behind the curtain - nobody is going to die because of this.

Re:Freedom of information (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | about 3 years ago | (#37292468)

The cat's out of the bag. People will still read these, despite your baseless FUD.

Re:Freedom of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292598)

some of these cables describe people being wrongly killed.

Wikileaks did the right thing sorta (4, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | about 3 years ago | (#37292390)

They were stupid to let the Guardian to get the key in the first place but once it was out making it more available was the right call.

When you had to get the data and key together that require time, and some computer skills. People who might retaliate against leakers have the resources to marry the key and copy of the data they either already had or could get from torrents.

That might be much harder to do for some poor tribesman who has limited or intermittent access to the internet. By making the information easier to get at, it lowers the bar, makes it easier for potential victims to know if they have been outed, and need to protect themselves.

Re:Wikileaks did the right thing sorta (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#37292572)

When you had to get the data and key together that require time, and some computer skills

Not really, the file was on TPB (among many other places) and the password was being relayed all over the net. Millions of people - and I mean that literally - have the required access and skill if they have the slightest bit of interest then they'll be able to get the decrypted information. Very shortly - if not alreadty - there'd be torrents with the unencrypted information. And it'd be no hard than starting any other torrent, which I consider a rather basic task today.

Re:Wikileaks did the right thing sorta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292934)

what if WL deliberately gave out this information? - maybe we're just too naive to believe, the leak leaked "by accident"??

the guardian (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292396)

are playing a stupid game right now.

In their JA will face arrest in Australia article they earlier said something like "the Guardian unknowingly publish the password in the Guardian's book" etc,

now that phrase is nowhere to be found from the article...

DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (4, Informative)

SmilingBoy (686281) | about 3 years ago | (#37292412)

The Schneier article is very speculative and doesn't have many facts.

DER SPIEGEL has a much better and more detailed account: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,783778,00.html [spiegel.de]

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (4, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 3 years ago | (#37292626)

The Spiegel article is referenced by Schneier so it's there for people to read. However, in one, but the most crucial, aspect the Spiegel article is wrong. It accepts the statement that the Guardian believed password was temporary at face value.

In a statement the Guardian rejected the accusations from Wikileaks, explaining that the paper had been told the password was temporary and would be deleted within hours. "No concerns were expressed when the book was published and if anyone at WikiLeaks had thought this compromised security they have had seven months to remove the files," the statement said. "That they didn't do so clearly shows the problem was not caused by the Guardian's book."

What's new in Schneier's article is that that is pretty clearly debunked. This was a standard GPG/PGP archive which had already been distributed. There was absolutely no reason to hand out the correct password and doing so is a clear breach of IT security norms (never give your password to anybody) for no good reason.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (0)

solanum (80810) | about 3 years ago | (#37292686)

It doesn't do anything of the sort and there is nothing new in the Schneier article. Why would your average non-IT journo understand about PGP? If the journo was told it was a temporary password then they are very unlikely to say, "oh no you are wrong you IT people, I know about stuff and this can't be temporary". I've been reading Slashdot for well over a decade and if someone I thought knew what they were talking about told me they had stuff encrypted with a temporary key, I would believe them (although I'd be wondering just how it was done).

The other angle is that why would the Guardian publish the key if they new it would unlock everything for everyone? It isn't in their interest (selling newspapers), plus there are plenty of reports of other media outlets being offered the data more than a year ago, so it has hardly just got out there.

I think the real story is it is all a screw up, journo knows nothing about IT, is bullsh*tted by Assange and believes what they are told. Assange isn't doing the security by the Wikileaks protocol, everything goes to crap.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 3 years ago | (#37292780)

why would the Guardian publish the key if they new[sic] it would unlock everything for everyone?

Nobody is saying that the Guardian knew this would unlock the file. What I am saying was that you never publish your encryption keys even if you don't know anything more.

The key new thing from Schneier is in this small fragment

Memo to the Guardian: Publishing encryption keys is almost always a bad idea.

Here you have a respected crypto expert repeating a thing he has said in standard textbooks (applied cryptography) which should be known to all IT security people. This makes it 100% clear the Guardian messed up. Saying that this is a "journo" who "knows nothing about IT" beside the point. A signed agreement was made between Wikileaks and the Guardian. They should have had IT security people vetting all related communications. The journalist should not have been allowed to mess up alone.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 years ago | (#37292828)

What I am saying was that you never publish your encryption keys even if you don't know anything more.

In public key encryption, you're supposed to publish your public key. So the "never publish your encryption keys" rule is not absolute. Obviously that isn't what happened here, but I don't expect a clueless journalist to be aware of these nuances, and so I wouldn't judge his behavior based on a "default' rule which is by no means absolute.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37293334)

Sigh... heavy sigh... don't publish your private keys.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (1)

he-sk (103163) | about 3 years ago | (#37292792)

Why are you accepting what the Guardian writers are telling you at face value? From what I've read elsewhere there was at least a misunderstanding -- the Guardian thought the password was temporary but WL meant that the download site was temporary.

Whatever the case, what was the Guardian author thinking when he published the password?! That's clearly negligent.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37293244)

Since when is PGP cycling passphrases without re-encryption?

That was a poor mistake - but maybe D-B is the fly in the ointment, and he deliberately copied the file, before re-keying it to a new passphrase.

He certainly owned up to other acts of subversion and data-manipulation, contrary to his trusted role in WikiLeaks. He goes all Hal-9000 in his explanation: how he had to kill Cmdr. Poole to fulfil the mission.

Fuck the little traitor. He's either an intelligence agency mole, or a dupe.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37293110)

What's new in Schneier's article is that that is pretty clearly debunked. This was a standard GPG/PGP archive which had already been distributed.

Nothing is clearly debunked. My understanding is that the file given to the Guardian was something put together just for them, a temporary archive that would be deleted from the WikiLeaks system within hours - or so they were told. They had no reason to believe that Assange was reusing passwords and that a more permanent archive was using the same one.

There was absolutely no reason to hand out the correct password and doing so is a clear breach of IT security norms (never give your password to anybody) for no good reason.

Actually the password did have some newsworthiness. The password itself provided some insight into Assange's thinking and his condescending attitude towards journalists was also insightful (can you remember this missing word). Also, showing how a relatively weak password (dictionary words, domain specific, etc.) was being used for such critical data was also insightful. Perhaps as Assange wants to embarrass the US government into good actions the Guardian wanted to embarrass Assange into using good passwords.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (2)

flonker (526111) | about 3 years ago | (#37293788)

http://xkcd.com/936/ [xkcd.com]

Password entropy is not intuitive. This is my estimate of the entropy of the password. "ACollectionOfDiplomaticHistorySince_1966_ToThe_PresentDay#"

Capital Letters at the start of every word: 1 bit
10 domain specific words in grammatical context: 6 bits each = 60 bits
Year in recent history: 7 bits
Random no-space or underscore between words: 9 bits
punctuation mark at the end: 4 bits

1+60+7+9+4 = 81 bits of entropy
2^81 / 1000 / 86400 / 365 =
7.6Ã--10^13 years to brute force @ 1000 guesses per second

Length trumps gibberish. It is not a bad pass-phrase.

With all that said, the extra verbal word, "Diplomatic" adds 10 bits of entropy, which is pretty much inconsequential. (6 for the word, 4 for position) It's a privacy lock, pretty much only good for keeping out the curious and people who stumble upon it.

Re:DER SPIEGEL has a much better writeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37293088)

Der Spiegel has more detail, but it doesn't change the fact that the Guardian was a bunch of dufuses to publish an encryption key. Its disclosure was totally unnecessary and was done under the wrongful assumption that a secret URL would remain secret.

This again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292416)

They said the same thing about the US-Iraq/Afghan cables a few months ago, then later it was shown that there really wasn't any information that would get people killed. I'd wager it's the same situation again--someone got caught with their pants down and they want (Assange's) blood for it.

no first reading? (1)

DaveGod (703167) | about 3 years ago | (#37292440)

So whatever happened to books, or the relevant chapters, being given out privately to the people in them prior to publishing? I thought that was standard practice.

I suppose it got put to the wayside since it was only relevant when the concepts of truth and balanced reporting were practised. As far as papers go, the Guardian is still far from the worst offender, but it used to be a high quality liberal broadsheet. The last few years it has seemed to put most value on web hits over quality paper journalism. Sensible liberalism has given way for sensational liberalism.

That;s why I don't buy it any more.

Clarification (4, Informative)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | about 3 years ago | (#37292488)

This is not the Wikileaks insurance file, which remains encrypted.

This is a different file, that the Guardian was privy to, and was then mirrored.
The password to this other file was published in a book.

I only mention this because the previous /. post on this topic had a lot of replies with the mentality that wikileaks has surrendered its insurance. Such is not the case.

RIP journalism (5, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 3 years ago | (#37292522)

Among other revealations during this ordeal, one thing stands out - I now know how morally bankrupt main stream media have become, irrespective of how right or wrong assange is.

Guardian won awards for all the work done by wikileaks/manning, and now they just backstabbed them, and still have guts to defend their own actions.

NYT is even worse.

Whisleblowing investigative journalism is dead, sold out to big governments and corporations.

.z7 - WTF?? (2)

mcantsin (2417600) | about 3 years ago | (#37292582)

Why should the top whistleblower service encrypt their files in .z7 format? - OMG! There's truecrypt, gpg, openssl etc. out there!

Re:.z7 - WTF?? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 years ago | (#37292678)

z7 is not an encryption; it is a compression format. The file was compressed to z7, and then encrypted with gpg.

Re:.z7 - WTF?? (1)

mcantsin (2417600) | about 3 years ago | (#37292748)

ouch! - nvm, sry

Re:.z7 - WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37292728)

z7 != z-Zip ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7z != http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7-Zip

One thing (3, Insightful)

joh (27088) | about 3 years ago | (#37292642)

The redacting that was done by The Guardian and others was just a reasonable thing to do, but it had one disadvantage: They published only selected and redacted cables and such you couldn't look for certain things by yourself. There's been more interesting stuff in the past centuries than The Guadian or Der Spiegel would recognize.

What's now possible is others sieving through these cables and I'm pretty sure that people will find interesting things. While it's not really a good thing for names of informants being published all this centralized knowledge and decisionmaking about what is good for the public to know is really getting on my nerves lately.

Media & Law Makers (1)

IonOtter (629215) | about 3 years ago | (#37292704)

"...and go on to state that 'The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone,' something which seems clearly debunked in the analysis on Schneier's blog."

Neither the media nor law makers will ever let the facts get in the way of their objectives. And because law enforcement has no small stake in this, either because their own fat is in this frying pan, or due to marching orders from the law makers, neither will they.

What a fuck up this is! (0)

JakFrost (139885) | about 3 years ago | (#37292840)

I thought that the original leak by Bradley Manning was a brave thing that he did, especially since the information he chose to leak was only low-level classified and unclassified information. He should be given a humanitarian award for his role in this.

Then I thought that WikiLeaks sharing the diplomatic cables with select journalists at respected organizations so that they can review the material, redact and sensitive personal information, and then publish a well written analysis of the most interesting cables was also a good and respectable thing.

However now that I find out from the Spiegel article that the shared file to the Guardian was just left on the file server after the confirmed that they got it is just such a stupid mistake. Encryption is not the be-all-end-all answer to security and WikiLeaks failed to understand that. Also the password was long and complex but the phrase shares the context of the data it encrypts and also could have been guessed eventually since it had so little entropy and difficulty.

Then to hear about pool record and file keeping, copying files to another server, hiding in subfolders, then copying them back and sharing them out on BitTorrent, what a cock-up that was! It's like the story of so many people on older P2P platforms sharing out their entire hard drives without realizing that people were download their application password files, personal documents, tax returns, pictures, and other stuff that should never be shared. It makes me think that WikiLeaks lacks some common computer sense and good server administrators who maintain and clean-up crap after their users.

This is one of those Epic Fails that will affect many people now and later, and will ripple down in history as a lesson of the reprecautions of good leaks going bad due to negligence and ignorance.

Re:What a fuck up this is! (1)

exentropy (1822632) | about 3 years ago | (#37293684)

the phrase shares the context of the data it encrypts and also could have been guessed eventually since it had so little entropy and difficulty.

"ACollectionOfDiplomaticHistorySince_1966_ToThe_PresentDay#"

Mandatory xkcd: http://xkcd.com/936/ [xkcd.com]

Verified? (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 3 years ago | (#37292894)

Has Assange verified this? With the code breaking computers available to the US it would be possible to figure out the key and impersonate Assange as a very effective smear campaign. It would also put americans and their spies at risk but that's not stopped them before.

Re:Verified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37293138)

With the code breaking computers available to the US it would be possible to figure out the key

Uhhhh what computers are you talking about? You don't crack this stuff in less than a year even if you've got a data center to throw at it and a good idea of what's inside.

(I assume you're talking about pulling this content from a different encrypted archive and re-encrypting it with the previously published key.)

Amazon book review (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#37292988)

Here's an Amazon book review [amazon.com] critical of the disclosure of the password in the book. I registered my support for the critique with a 'helpful' click.

A negative review that will sell books ... (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37293144)

Here's an Amazon book review [amazon.com] critical of the disclosure of the password in the book. I registered my support for the critique with a 'helpful' click.

Did you think that through? If you get this review marked as the top negative review it will plainly tell everyone the real world password is in there and probably generate far more curiosity than outrage.

The key was not for the insurance file, however... (3, Interesting)

kandresen (712861) | about 3 years ago | (#37293124)

From what is stated;
1) The key given to the reporter was not the key for the insurance file
2) The Assange had provided a backup method for others to recover the data in the case he was a) killed, b) otherwise rendered incapable to act by other than having the group act on his behalf
3) Whereas it is easy to revoke access to content on a central server, it is impossible to revoke access to a file that cannot be changed (a password can simply not be revoked unless you can write to it) In other words you cannot revoke passwords for content that is available on bit torrent etc.
4) The way encryption usually work is through two sets of keys, i.e. LUKS. The real key is essentially always 512bits, but nobody including you ever use this key - you have a password and a separate key that releases the 512bit key!!!
No, we do not know if there was a second pass-phrase key on the content provided to the reporter, but if it was, having one key which gives access to the full 512bit key and content might be used to reveal alternative keys to get the real key. One of which might cascade to the key used in the insurance file. Which is why it was truly irresponsible of the reporter to publish the key regardless!!! That is as far as I see neglect, and being clueless is under no circumstance justification. Yes, the password could be revoked on access, but any backup prior to revocation can as stated above would retain access with that key whether it is a tape, an USB copy, or bit torrent.

Anyway, it is not for sure there where any alternative keys combined with that content, however, we do know the group had access to release the content of the insurance file in case something did happen to Assange anyway...

That the Insurance file was released on Bit torrent was most certainly not a mistake, however, it will have been a mistake if an alternative key used on the content given to the reporter could cascade to this key somehow. (From what I have learned of the case, I kind of don't think the problem was here).

So that leaves the people who where on the inside with the knowledge necessary to release the key...

Sure, there has been a lot of mistakes happening; we can blame Assange for believing in the fools who left for OpenLeaks. They were likely always the number 1 threat to the whistle blowers: Internals who sabotage, steal and try to destroy the original organization with internal knowledge.

Loosely been following this whole ordeal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37293198)

So many things went wrong here it's hard to say where it all started. No one knows where it will end either. The laws of unforeseen consciousnesses and/or just plain old Murphy's law leads me to believe this is far from over.

Everyone involved needs to be rounded up and held accountable though.

Austrialia.gov caught ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37294036)

sucking off males.

No wonder.

They're all a bunch a snits.

Serve'vm right I'd say. Nigger snits.

--//

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