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Holographic Sonar Cryptography

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the bouncy-bouncy dept.

Security 182

Atomic Snarl writes: "New Scientist.com has this story on how to encrypt a underwater sonar message using multiple sound path timing. By detecting and adapting for the current variations on underwater sound channels, the transmitted message can be received intelligibly only at a single point. This holographic approach suggests a method of web encryption using multiple hop paths and ping times to create a message which can only be decoded when received at a specific target node!"

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timing is everything (0, Redundant)

ubugly2 (454850) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471015)

subject sez all

Re:timing is everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471072)

Could you imagine a beowulf cluster of these.

Re:timing is everything (0)

premier (184225) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471180)

What movie was that line from?

Re:timing is everything (1)

ubugly2 (454850) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471192)

clerks

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Secrecy by Delocalization (3, Interesting)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471016)

Exactly, they aimed more at reliability -- even though the codes were lossy and reliability was achieved mainly by coherent en/decoding, because noise is incoherent. However, much of that was dropped in favor of faster and better (in that approach) use of homomorhic processing and other DSP techniques.

Further, Holocomm's "delocalization" feature can be seen also in SHA-1, where *all* output bits change when one changes a *single* input bit. However, SHA-1 hopelessly mixes and merges all the data (as it is intended to do), while Holocomm allows for reversible and selective delocalization.

Thus, in two contrast points to former pure holographic codes, Holocomm aims at (1) non-lossy reversible (2) selective delocalization -- which also allows interoperation with all known cryptography algorithms (that require exact data for decoding). The reliability feature is also further enhanced by the non-lossy aspect of it. As mentioned, Holocomm can also work in lossy modes, including lossy compression -- which can be quite useful.

Holocomm is the first example of a practical quantum mechanical communication and encoding system that affords privacy and reliability, to a high degree, while also offering compression and selective information delocalization.

As such, it naturally has many parallels in several things that are based on wave functions or on the Schroedinger equation .. which essentially defines wave phenomena ... as the theoretical basis of Holocomm, as stated.

Re:Secrecy by Delocalization (2, Funny)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471029)

Further, Holocomm's "delocalization" feature can be seen also in SHA-1, where *all* output bits change when one changes a *single* input bit.


Wouldn't that mean that if you changed two input bits, all output bits would stay the same?

Re:Secrecy by Delocalization (1)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471041)

With this construct, if one input word is changed, the probability of a nonzero difference is ((2**N-1)/(2**N))**L (where L is the number of FFT layers, and the log2 of the number of input words), and furthermore, output differences of 0 are correlated in an easily detectible way.

Quantum communication coming? (1)

King Of Chat (469438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471128)

For years, I've been reading about the idea of data transmission using quantum entangled pairs of particles (possibly photons). The idea (Bell's Hypothesis) being that measurement of a property (eg spin) of a quantum particle will affect the property of another particle (which it has previously interracted with) instantly. That's instantly - not at the speed in light. This has been tested in the lab and proved to be true.

This effect could be used for communication and would imply two things:
1. As stated above, the communication would be instant, regardless of distance.
2. It is impossible to intercept the message with affecting it as any measurement will affect the result.

If it could be made to work, then you would have instant, uninterceptable communications. The problem being how you separate entangled pairs and get them to each end of the line. It's only been tested with distances of about 10 feet so far.

Re:Quantum communication coming? (1)

ymgve (457563) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471248)

This is a really interesting technology, but I don't think it will be useful for us commoners quite yet. And I don't think I would have one either - for once, I believe the speed of this thing will be much lower than normal wires for some time yet, and it will be very expensive.

But the possibilities are countless - Imagine how much easier it would be to control a space probe on Mars with zero latency!
If this thing really works over such great distances this could be one major step ahead for space colonization and long-distance communication.

(About encryption - it might seem like a swell idea, but remember that the particles have to interact some time before separating them, and then it would be just as practical giving your trusted party a symmetric cipher key instead of a molecule.)

Re:Quantum communication coming? (1)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471332)

I have my doubts about the use of entanglement for long (I mean really long!) distance communication for one simple reason - Although the entanglement effect is instantanious, the particles involved in the entanglement still have to travel from source to destination - and hence are restricted by the speed of light. Of course, for really long distances (interplanetary or perhaps even interstellar) some system of generating the particle streams ahead of time, and capturing the entangled particles at the destination in some sort of buffer at the destination could be envisioned but that would mean that (a) bidirectional streams would have to be generated for every source/destination pair of nodes and (b) sufficient particles for future use would have to be generated. Once a set of particles has been used to read/send a message, the entanglement is lost and a fresh set of particles would have to be used for the next message - this may well limit the usefulness of such a system. so, if you wanted to send a message a few light minutes/hours, this may not be a big problem, but if you were using it for interstellar traffic, you would have to estimate bandwith needs years in advance.

Re:Quantum communication coming? Misinterpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471341)

1. As stated above, the communication would be instant, regardless of distance.

This is a common error to think the immediate, non-local interaction between entangled pairs leads to 0-delay communication. This is FALSE.

The measurement of one particle affects immediately the other, true, but in an impredictable manner; so you cannot "force" the other side to be a 1 or a 0; However, if you measure 0, then you are assured the other side measure 0 too (to put it simply).

All of this is not very interesting at first sight, except there are ways to know if someone else measured the passing photons (there are visible perturbations if you are not the 1st one to do a measurement, I don't remind the details). So the real advantage of communicating with entangled pairs of particles is that you can exchange Random one-time pads with the assurance that no-one can intercept it (if they do, you will know and will restart).

So, NO this doesn't give instant communication; But YES you have completely secure communications.

Re:Quantum communication coming? Misinterpretation (1)

King Of Chat (469438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471387)

Since I wrote the original, I did a bit of digging and found this [mediaone.net] (scroll down a bit for a really flash diagram). By affecting the measured polarisation on one end, they are, instantly, affecting the measured polarisation on the other.

Yes, you are correct that the reason it can't be intercepted is that because it would break the message. And, of course, it's totally impractical. Interesting though - and, as a lot of Quantam Physics things are - totally counter-intuitive.

SHA-1 != XOR (2)

morzel (62033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471310)

Further, Holocomm's "delocalization" feature can be seen also in SHA-1, where *all* output bits change when one changes a *single* input bit.

<NITPICK>

Due to the nature of bits (being 0 or 1), changing a bit means flipping them from 0 to 1 of vice versa. Changing *all* bits, would mean flipping them all, i.e. a XOR operation.
Changing a single input bit will change *some* output bits, not all of them. Would be a pretty useless hash algorithm ;-)

</NITPICK>

Re:SHA-1 != XOR (1)

asterisk_man (18358) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471530)

Changing *all* bits, would mean flipping them all, i.e. a XOR operation
<NITPICK>

And to think that all these years I've been under the assumption that bit flipping can be accomplished with a NOT ;-)

</NITPICK>

Speed of sound versus ping times (5, Insightful)

Chiasmus_ (171285) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471017)

It seems to me that the speed of sonar through water is a physical certainty; that's why we can accurately use it to detect the distance from an object.

Internet traffic is another matter. If I tried to use a ping time to measure the geographic distance to another server, I'd be about as scientific as the Slashdot poll.

Am I wrong, or could internet latency give or take 100 ms or so from a ping, rendering the encrypted message readable by.. no one?

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (2, Insightful)

c_ollier (35683) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471047)

I think the speed of sound in the water has small variations due to pressure & temperature shifts. And error checking & correcting would be difficult, as these variations would make the message unhearable.

To me, it seems as hazardous underwater as on the Internet.
--

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (2, Interesting)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471097)

I will let you calculate it. The following are empirical equations from Kinsler and Frey.
t is in degrees C and c is in m/sec.

In Fresh water c = 1403 + 5t - 0.06t^2 + 0.0003t^3
Good for 0 to 60 degrees C.

In sea water
c = 1449 +4.6t - 0.055t^2 + 0.0003t^3 + (1.39 - 0.012t)(S - 35) + 0.017d

Where S is the salinity expressed in parts per thousand, and d is the depth below the surface in meters.

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (5, Interesting)

Ronin Developer (67677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471664)

The sonar conditions vary considerably through time. There are inversion layers and tunnels that are formed due to the differences in the index of refraction for the audio signals.

In optical holography, you are recording the interference patterns resulting from a reference beam and reflected light. When you shine a laser of the right wavelength through or off the hologram, the interference patterns are "replayed" thus reproducing the image.

Little if any information can be gleamed from a single intererence pattern.

In the case of sonar, you are recording audio interference patterns. However, unlike in an optical holographic environment, the conditions change drastically under water depending upon weather condition and seasonal (or even geophysical (i.e earthquakes and volcanos) variations.

In a controlled scenario as described in the article, it works because the replay occurs in a very short time period and the interference patterns may not change much. Without an initial reference signal, it may be very hard to get a good mapping of the sonar environment.

As for the security, I wonder if you recorded the signal eminating from a single transducer at short range if you could actually receive the message at a spot other than intended.

RD

Asymmetric routing makes this moot anyway (5, Interesting)

Kenneth Stephen (1950) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471083)

Even if you could eliminate the problems with the latency, the asymmetric routing that exists in the internet will kill this technique. This communication technique depends on the forward and the reverse path being identical - something which is not true when asymmetric routing is used.

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471338)

speed of sound(sonar) isn't constant that i'm aware of - I believe submarines use this to their advantage, something like the '100 fathom curve' where temp/pressure changes causes bad distortion.

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (1)

ntr0py (205472) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471382)

If the encryption were actually based on ping times, you're right, this would definately not work. But, it doesn't have to be. It does bring up a fairly good idea that, to my knowledge, has not been successfully implemented.

Why does an encrypted message have to be sent all at the same time, and therefore by the same route? If you were to split a message into an arbitrary number of pieces, with each one getting to its destination through a slightly different route, it might be a little more difficult to intercept.

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (1)

asterisk_man (18358) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471553)

It becomes a little bit easier to intercept when all your traffic has to flow through a few routes FBI style [slashdot.org]

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471585)

Yes, but the path that sound wave takes in water is an other matter. It can sometime travel in a wave guide in layers of water that have different densities (due to variation of water temperature).

Internet routing does not always follows tha same path, so your ping time might vary.

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (0, Redundant)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471589)

Speed of sound through seawater isn't constant; it can vary dramatically with temperature and salinity.

I question the usefulness of this technique. As described in the article, then went between a land-based station and a hydrophone. The article claimed that for it to work, they needed to know the location of the hydrophone. It also seems that water conditions needed to remain static; if they change significantly, I don't think you have a link anymore.

And more importantly, when communicating with subs at sea, you don't know their precise location. Subs go out on patrol, and might be assigned to a given area, but they don't constantly update COMSUBLANT or whoever of their position and depth. Generally, they're alerted to incoming message traffic by ELF radio transmission, which tells them to go shallow and talk to a satellite for more detailed information.

A transmission system that requires the person sending the message to know exactly where the submarine is kind of defeats the entire purpose of having submarines in the first place.

Re:Speed of sound versus ping times (1)

friscolr (124774) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471647)

The article claimed that for it to work, they needed to know the location of the hydrophone.

I can;t wait for Dug Song to release dsniff v3.0 [monkey.org] with an implementation of the Sub-in-the-Middle (sitm) attack.

That's refreshing... (2, Insightful)

John Leeming (160817) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471019)


...which leaves the question...

Does this mean that they need more "big rocks" under the Great Lakes, or can they still use the same "big rock" to use this?

Radio? (3, Interesting)

redcliffe (466773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471020)

Could this be used to secure wireless networking? This would be an ideal way, because it is only understandable at one location. I don't know if it would work well though on Seattle Wireless or Brismesh style 802.11 networks.

David

Re:Radio? (1)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471107)

Yes radio is a good approach. Running thru holographic sonar cryptography is a good way to protect the content of your data stream but it WILL NOT protect your internal network, mind you MANY of these systems act as BRIDGES and not routers/switches.

Re:Radio? (2, Interesting)

sandgroper (145126) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471148)

Could this be used to secure wireless networking?


Secure??? Who knows. What it should allow with radio is something I've been calling "Space Division Multiple Access". In effect, using scatterers in the environment (e.g. buildings, mountains, what have you) the "cell size" could be brought down to a few tens of meters using the same number of base-station transceivers as currently exist. Who needs more spectrum when you can focus the same bandwidth on multiple physical locations?


BTW, the New Scientist article is talking about kinda old work. NS had a blurb on this back in '97 or so.

yeah, but... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471021)

sound through water is a little more consistent than packets through routers...

Great (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471269)

good.

now go get me a goddamn grog!

four X, yahear?!

Beer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471022)

Finally. Beer in Australia after a goddamn long flight.

Wohoo!

Meanwhile back in the States (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471294)

The career highpoints of three presidents:

"No more taxes!"
-George I

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman!"
-Bill C.

"I don't have anthrax!"
-George II

Interesting, but too scientific? (3, Insightful)

friday2k (205692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471025)

I think the idea Edelmann is pursuing here has some very interesting implications but also limitations. I wonder how stable the environment on greater distances might be, current, the seabed itself, and other environmental influences. The same goes for the suggested idea of using ping times and number of hop points to encrypt a message. These are highly unstable factors and in order to encrypt the message the environment shall be the same for both sides for the time of the communication flow. But I am also not enough cryptographer to really tell. Maybe others can shed some light on this?

The web is not wet, and is there a risk here (2, Interesting)

bLanark (123342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471035)

The internet lag times on each leg vary from moment to moment, so there's not the same degree of certainty that the speed of sound in water has. This probably wouldn't work. Plus, we've got asymetric crypto, which works very well, thank you.

Also, in the sonar field, would it be possible to guess at the location of a recipient by catching some of the signals? One wouldn't want to give away the location of your subs, would one?

Doubt that it would be useful.. (4, Interesting)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471036)



A well-seasoned network admin friend of mine and I once had a conversation over dinner about an idea I had brewing -- An application that would attempt to guesstimate where you were on earth based on triangulating distances from known servers by means of measuring ping time. A small network database that contained, say, a hundred servers nationwide that constantly maintained a list of ping times to a hundred other machines would provide enough coverage and enough data to allow a single machine to guesstimate where it is on earth based upon simple trig.

The only problem with this idea is that A) Network latency times can change erratically from moment to moment, and B) Some nodes may even drop out of the network due to upgrades or flaming death. Depending upon how fine-grained the mesh is, and depending how accurate you want the guesstimate to be, you could be reasonably certain of at least being able to determine your location within a couple hundred miles.

Not useful for you and I, I know.. But it would be kinda cool if people could buy PCs, set up them straight out of the box, and the box goes out on the mesh and figures out where it is in the U.S., and sets the time accordingly, suggests local IPs, other stuff.

Amazing what you can discuss over a bacon cheeseburger, eh?

Cheers, and yes, PROPAGANDA is still up,

Re:Doubt that it would be useful.. (2)

chris.bitmead (24598) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471114)

With error correction and a means of continual
adapting to the current situation it would be
definitely doable. The bandwidth may be poor
though.

Re:Doubt that it would be useful.. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471176)


> An application that would attempt to guesstimate where you were on earth based on triangulating distances from known servers by means of measuring ping time.

I can reliably locate Slashdotters in meatspace by observing the time it takes for them to accumulate three troll responses to their posts.

Re:Doubt that it would be useful.. (2, Informative)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471178)

Its been done. Read `the cuckoos egg` by clifford stoll. They worked out the hacker was in Germany via a similar method to the one you described.

Re:Doubt that it would be useful.. (1)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471185)

or even whether it is in the US.

Finally, a way to get rid around the horrible US_orientated software!

Re:Doubt that it would be useful.. (2, Interesting)

kc0dby (522118) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471506)

Much more reliable a method would be to use a traceroute and look at suffixes until a 'listed' suffix appeared. Just set it up to trace to a few different hosts, and see where the routes begin to diverge.

This has been quite useful for air based wireless-

The theory behind it is even a standard part of amateur packet radio. When your using typically 50 watts (or even 1500 watts, legally) you tend to connect to some interestingly distant stations that you'd have no idea where they were if they didn't leave a little identifying information in their 'hostname'

Ah, yes. Manual routing of packets. Really makes one appreciate all the neat tools we use now..

Re:Doubt that it would be useful.. (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471675)

Or you could ask the user for his area code / prefix. Which you probably did before you connected to the net anyway.

You should see my boner (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471040)

It is so hard, and the head is so purple that it is frightening. I'd love for this bad boy to errupt in Taco's face, jizzing him with a creamy white blizzard of man-juice.

Re:You should see my boner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471051)

Aren't you even a bit embarrassed?

You see, even though you are posting "anonymously", it's very easy for CmdrTaco to figure out your IP and correlate it with that of an account...

So, don't be surprised when CmdrTaco mails you and demands an apology.

Re:You should see my boner (-1)

xXgeneric nicknameXx (463142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471057)

So, don't be surprised when CmdrTaco mails you and demands an apology.

An invitation is more likely.

Re:You should see my boner (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471064)

Ever heard of Kathleen Fent [sarcasta.net] ?

CmdrTaco is by no means a butt-cowboy. Too bad Kathleen has removed the "plentyful bosom" picture from her site again.

Re:You should see my boner (0, Offtopic)

warez_d00d (122900) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471159)

That's what you think.
Try:
http://sarcasta.net/graphics/cleavage.JPG

or even

http://sarcasta.net/graphics/
for all the graphics on that shitty website.

Re:You should see my boner (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471279)

Thanks! You rock d00d!

I secured the image on my hard drive in case she decides to delete it altogether one day.

Mmmm.... once I get back from work, I've gotta shake my snake [jackinworld.com] to that image.

Writers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471075)

An invitation is more likely.

Any talented writers here?

I'd like to see a witty dialogue made of that.

secure mobile phones? (1)

jluxe (200281) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471043)

Every time my phone beeps to alert me that "Voice Pricacy is not active" I wonder who could be listening.
It seems like an approach somewhere between the holographic approach, and the web 'node' approach could be applied to digital/PCS/cell/mobile phones. Does anyone know about research being done into voice privacy on mobile phones?

Re:secure mobile phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471056)

Every time my phone beeps to alert me that "Voice Pricacy is not active" I wonder who could be listening.

What kind of feature is that? I live in Europe and have never even heard of "Voice Privacy" on cell phones.

Re:secure mobile phones? (1)

jluxe (200281) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471059)

I have a nokia 8260 with ATT PCS (cdma) It actually beeped every time i placed a call, so i turned it off. May just be a feature that the phone has, but network doesnt.

pish posh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471050)

if you understood the algorithm, you could brute force through all possible points

or if you had intelligence about the destination...

this isn't so special.. a key is a key is a vector (even literally)

Sonar audio pollution more important (2, Offtopic)

sethdelackner (110929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471065)

While underwater encryption is a nifty idea, I would much rather we discuss the US government plans to start using powerful sonar communications that, in test runs, have caused whales to beach with under highly atypical signs of death (the equivalent of bleading ears).

Damn tree-huggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471080)

Terrorists have just struck us at the heart of our economy and we're currently at war with them.

If I were you I'd be more worried about my fellow American human beings than some goddamn whales. If defending our homeland takes powerful sonars, then by god those sonars we'll use.

Animals are stupid anyway. If they can't compete with us, they deserve to die. That's evolution.

Exactly (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471217)

Whales - the vermin of the seas. I say we should whale the blubbery buffoons.

Re:Damn tree-huggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471352)

precisely that arrogance that gets you targeted by the terrorists you talk about.

precisely that ignorance that gets us extinct as the climate/ecosytem around us undergoes to rapid a change for us to cope with - but that as you say is evolution , stupid americans die out.

Re:Damn tree-huggers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471528)

Somehow, I don't think the terrorists gave a flying shat about how many whales we kill/don't kill.

Re:Sonar audio pollution more important (2, Insightful)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471583)

You don't have a cite for that, do you?

net encryption (2, Interesting)

ruppel (82583) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471066)

Supposing one intercepted the signal underwater it could still be decrypted. Admittedly this would require formidable computing power since one would have to simulate the geometry of sender and reciever in a continuous medium.

In communications across the net this kind of playing around with different routings and time delays would not be as effective since once intercepted the decoding would be assuming a descreet medium (only so many different pathways). It isn't clear whether the effort put in this kind of scheme would be worth it, ie. it could bne much more effective to refine the encryption algorithm.

One should note that in descreet systems, like electronic locks that open when a transmitting key is waved in front of it, the principle of asynchronous signaling is already in use. These systems use clockless processors to make the recording and decoding of the transmitted signals near impossible.

Re:net encryption (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471123)

Supposing one intercepted the signal underwater it could still be decrypted. Admittedly this would require formidable computing power...
From the article:
The system works by broadcasting messages in such a way that they can only be received at one point in the water - so no one else can intercept them
The signal is uninterceptible, not encrypted. The only place in the water where the multiple split signals coincide is the destination.

Re:net encryption (2)

statusbar (314703) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471137)

Hmmm.... But it IS interceptable! All you need to do is have an array (or matrix) of listening devices near the transmitter. Then with (massive?) computing power you should be able to search for the sort of correlation that the transmitters form. Right? Probably would help if you knew the distance to the submarine too.

My question though is why not just steal the buoy?

--jeff

Re:net encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471424)

It seems like if you had prior knowledge of the
message, you could derive the location of the
intended submarine. Alternatively, decrypting
a message would require knowledge of the intended
submarine's location. I guess the location of
the intended submarine acts like a key, and the
propogation through the sea is (hopefully, but
probably not) a "one-way" function.

Impossible. (4, Interesting)

bornie (166046) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471078)

"This holographic approach suggests a method of web encryption using multiple hop paths and ping times to create a message which can only be decoded when received at a specific target node!"

This implies that all routes are static and no routers ever will go down. It also implies that pingtimes are constant between routers/hosts. Both with are false.

If the IP of all intermediate routers are used in the encryption (which isn't clear) a change of route will make the current 'key' unusable. Further, the ping-time between hosts/routers vary alot as the use of internet vary and will also make this system unusable. A simple DoS-attack will completly destroy any encrypted data in transit which will make it only more insecure.

--
Börnie

Re:Impossible. (1)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471542)

There's more.

The holographic system works, if I understand correctly, by integrating signal over many known paths, similar to a QED-style Langrangian. The number of possible paths for the sound to go must be large in order to 'encrypt' the message with sufficient complexity. One can integrate over many (i.e. an infinite) number of paths.

However, if done in net-space, you have only a small, integer number of paths.. perhaps 10 or 20 at most. This would just mean that you are breaking up your signal into 20 discrete packets that the listener can all find. Then the listener just needs to reconstruct the transmission times for all 20 paths to reconstruct the message. This might be difficult, but not impossible, if we make the necessary assumption that net-space transmission times are predictable.

Re:Impossible. (1)

bornie (166046) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471594)

And it is still easy to locate the point where all packet will converge in such way that the message will be plain since all packets has the same destination-adress. With omnidirectional sound that is not possible. This does not take in account that ones uplink (if one is an end host) will receive all packets and will be able to decrypt the message even though is is not meant for them.

If one want omnidirectionality in net-space one has to exclusivly use broadcast-packets which in this case should be routed indeffinitly. This is not only against several RFCs but are also foolish and will break the net. This still makes it possibly for the uplink for end-hosts to decrypt the message, it is not hard for that computer to calculate the result of the last hop for all relevant packets.

I don't want to see those broadcaststorms if this is used in a large scale. :)

--
Börnie

I am so sad. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471085)

And now I have to post AC cause my username is banned. Fucking slashcode. I bet if I read it all I could find a way to get past it. :(

heh (1)

newt3k (128812) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471086)

kewl, next time i fart in the pool, i'll have to try to encrypt it :)

Covert Operations (2, Insightful)

DMouse (7320) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471102)

So let me get this straight, they are suggesting that a submarine can communicate securely with something else in the water ... by being really noisy.

I can see that going down a treat when a sub is trying to keep itself invisible.

YRU : Your rights under-water (5, Funny)

TheMMaster (527904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471116)

will this article [slashdot.org] on slashdot mean that the FBI will now 'tap' the oceans too??

One time pad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471120)

So they've basically reinvented the one time pad, just using the environment as a key...

Multiple hop routes (1)

nysv (47963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471124)

Multiple routes seems to be pretty hard to come by.
I'm pretty sure huge majority of systems on the net can only send packets to one gateway and don't have any control in the route those packets take.

Re:Multiple hop routes (1)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471672)

True, if you're using TCP/IP and nothing higher. Shove a simple gateway on top of TCP/IP (or gateways, really, in multiple locations) and you can get the behavior you're looking for, I think.

I post this link every time something like this pops up. It's an idea I had last summer, I think, that's along these lines. One of these days, someone will actually read it:

It's Here. [digitech.org]

Ideas anyone? (2, Interesting)

sperling (524821) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471132)

I'm not a cryptographer at all, but i'm familiar with the basics and quite interested in the logics behind cryptographic techniques. I wonder, if anyone here have any ideas on a scheme that would let us use the routes (assuming they're static) or the pingtimes (assuming they vary very little) to improve security of a communcation channel? Maybe in a setup with 5-6 different computers all working together in a model designed to do key exchange and validations, to let a new computer into the circle.

If you think in term of a small distributed network with all point to point secure connections established, how can this be utilized to verify the identity of a new participant?

am i missing something here? (1)

larva (82883) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471136)

is ìt a crucial part of the article that i missed, or couldnt *anyone* just listen in on the conversation from whereever they like and distinguish two different sets of sounds? i mean, the sounds wouldnt be exactly like the ones the reciver gets, but wouldnt they still be able to
tell the two waves apart? if they can then this is pretty hopeless

k

That's pretty cool. (1)

Anton Anatopopov (529711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471140)

We could always use a new encryption technology. Although I would expect that the signal would probably need to go through some other encryption system to make it harder to crack.

It strikes me that this system is almost an 'obscurity' based encryption which we all know is never a good thing :-)

The technique reminds me of something I read a while back about a 'directional' loudspeaker that could target an individual person in a crowded area (e.g. an airport). It was sort of like 'laser' but using sound waves from different sources which created an interference sound at a certain point.

Is it really a good idea??? (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471146)

The exact location of a submarine is of the ultimate concern for its survival during the war time. The holographic approach seems to solve the communication problem.... But, I doubt if that will in fact expose the secret location of a sub.

Decrypting the msg will be hard, but finding out where the constructive/destructive interference zone s are should be much easier... Hopefully, the system won't become a sub location broadcaster.

Internet version probably not workable (2, Interesting)

Gumshoe (191490) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471151)

Although it is a fascinating idea, I seriously doubt you could
use a similar method for encrypting traffic on the present day
Internet.

The biggest show stopper will be the lack of reliable source
routing. Unless you can reliably specify the route the packet
takes (or alternatively, predict the route), the whole schema is
unworkable. IP/4 simply does not support source routing to any
usable degree. IP/6 does IIRC, but even then, I suspect the ping
times will not be consistant enough.

Secondly, a serious change will have to be made to the TCP stacks
as the time interval between the arrival of packets will be an
important factor in this system. Again, I don't see how you can
rely on the transit time given the infrastruture of the Internet.
Don't forget that this infrastructure is what gives the Internet
it's power.

Finally, in the Internet scenario (as opposed to the SONAR
version) this is as about as secure as private key encryption.
Unless my machine is multi-homed, there's likely to be at least
one router that sees every packet my machine sees. This is
fundamentally different to the SONAR version, where you have to
be a precise physical location to be be able to "hear" the
transmission.

Cute idea, but not feasible.

Under(sea)Net ? (1)

saqmaster (522261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471164)

I wonder who's going to be the first brainiac (sorry, excessive VC funded mulch) to try and build some form of network using sound and water as the carrier..

Imagine it in 5 years.. Worldcom advertising "dark water" - buy your unused water now for $$$$, expect high latency!

I suppose you've got a lot of bandwidth (wetwidth?)

Re:Under(sea)Net ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471592)

oh great. Talk about bigh pipes. I'll have to keep my water tap running to get my internet connection and flush the toilet for pings.

Taco bares all (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471165)

Get all your hot XXX here
Taco [sarcasta.net]
and
Ms Cleavage [sarcasta.net]

Then again, slutpost.com beats both of these any day.

Re:Taco bares all (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471288)

Excellent.

Sarcasta looks a bit like Scully in that picture. She's a hot gal!

Only in the real world (2, Insightful)

joe_fish (6037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471177)

It won't work on the net well, and there are problems with the idea in the real world too.

In effect the sea floor and positions of sender and reciever are acting as a secret key. They 'encrypt' the messages and you can only decrypt if you know the secret key in enough detail - i.e. you are the reciever, and the working with the sender. However the snooper in *theory* could decode the signal if he knew enough about the sender/reciever/sea bed, and could do some farily complex maths. How complex the maths is says if it will work in practice. But given that computer can model huricanes, I would guess that modeling the sea bed is plauible.

In the virtual world though all bets are off. The terrain is very mappable, and fairly simple. So if the problems of varing ping times can be worked out the encryption is very easily broken.

I wonder if the sea bed version stops working if the tide changes.

I did this 3 years ago (-1)

kiwipeso (467618) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471184)

I had an encryption scheme that relied on dns numbers to encrypt tself so that it could only be read by the intended receiver.

However, as the company I was doing it for stole it from me, I didn't mention the fact that having random numbers generated from DNS also was a bad thing.
They called it Bankonit and never figured out what it could really do.

http://www.netlogic.co.nz

Why Chaos makes this impossible... (1)

lkaos (187507) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471190)

While the system that governs this type of communication may not be as chaotic as say the weather, it definitely should have sensitive dependency on initial conditions.

Large amounts of packet loss would occur anytime a fish swims through the line of sight. My question is how sensitive is it to such things. My guess is that a minnow could render a message totally useless. I imagine that is what has kept the Navy from adopting such technology.

Better article: Scientific American Nov 1999 (5, Interesting)

Alsee (515537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471243)

A much more detailed (7 pages) article on time-reversed acoustics appeared in the November 1999 issue of Scientific American.

I pasted the summary below, but here's a link [sciam.com] to the summary just to make it official.
Time-Reversed Acoustics
Mathias Fink
Record sound waves, then replay them in reverse from a speaker array, and the waves will naturally travel back to the original sound source as if time had been running backward. That process can be used to destroy kidney stones, locate defects in materials and communicate with submarines.


I thought it was so cool that I wrote a program to simulate the effect. It simulates 1 or more waves emitted by 1 or more sources, and records the waves at 1 or more "microphones". It then treats the "microphones" as "speakers" and plays back the time reversal of the recording. At first the screen is filled with chatoic expanding circles, but after a while the expanding (and fading) circles combine to create a CONTRACTING and STRENGTHENING circle!

I wrote it for my own curiosity, and the code is "dirty". If there's some real intrest here I could dig it out and clean it up a bit.

Military radio communications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471245)

The same has been done for years in military radio communications.
Use two or more antennas at the transmitter applying phase and time shifts to the signals in the appropriate way and, taking into account the different paths the waves can take, you will have a signal that is combined to produce something useful in the desired spot; in all the other places it will look like noise.

Difference between water and the Internet (1)

darthtuttle (448989) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471264)

The difference between the water and the Internet is that it's possible to be at different places at the same time, and over a peroid of time on the Internet to intercept trafic.

Lookit me, I'm mister smartey science man!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471307)

Hoobajoob.

Quantum, this, applications of that, blah, blah blah. Some people use the big words just to make themselves sound interesting, if not smarter.

I really don't see how you can make the leap from submarine sonar pings to internet communication. You see, the pings are actually quite different, and have no relation that would make one draw this parallel. Barring some of that funky quantum-mojo you're throwing around.

It suggests no such thing (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471320)


"This holographic approach suggests a method of web encryption using multiple hop paths and ping times to create a message which can only be decoded when received at a specific target node!"

It suggests no such thing, and the post should be updated to reflect this. The way a sonar wave travels through water is so fundamentally different from the way packets move through the net that the comparison is in fact quite absurd. Indeed, the IP protocol in no way supports the kind of controlled packet delivery the poster is assuming.

WOW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471334)

You can use ping... underwater!

All I want to know is... (2)

hyrdra (260687) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471446)

Since when does the Internet considered a particle wave system? 'Holographic packets' sounds more like an invention of Steve Gibson than a method with sound scientific and technical backing...

This might be a stupid question, but (1)

pyramid termite (458232) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471449)

... wouldn't I have to get a waterproof computer case to do this?

Waves and Particals (1)

Nonsanity (531204) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471480)

Don't confuse waves and particles.

This holographic sonar communications system relies on the interference patterns of pressure waves in water (sound). Internet packets do not behave like waves, they behave like particles. There is no interference between them, nor are multiple packets ever combined into one packet.

Quantum effects allow the merging of particle and wave features, but we don't have that sort of technology in place in the internet at this time.

(Though such things ARE being researched [berkeley.edu] .)

~ Chris

use 'an' not 'a' with underwater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471486)


1. use an with vowels
1.a. except where the vowel makes a 'you' sound

k, thx

Re:use 'an' not 'a' with underwater (1)

TikkaMassala (411282) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471558)

If we're going to be picky, it's where the sound of the next word starts with a vowel. :)

But that's not the point. (1)

Pascal of S (23541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471498)

The point of the discovery is that you can send a message, possibly without revealing your exact location. This is not cryptography. There is probably not a lot of (public) research on this subject - it may be very possible to locate a ship regardless. If it is hard to locate a sender this way, the interesting thing seems to be the distance over which this works.

Even if distances don't go much beyond 10 kilometers, you can still create a buouy that a sub launches, and uses as a message relay. Or launch a few while enroute and leave a relay network behind.

Now, if and when this becomes a real world application *nobody* will be sending uncompressed, non-encrypted information over the link. The regular public and symmetric cryptography has a very calculatable 'risk' of decryption in it.

Btw, Like so many others said: the Internet idea is totally bonkers. That won't work.

Re:But that's not the point. (1)

O2n (325189) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471564)

possibly without revealing your exact location

I think that's the problem: sending the initial ping will almost guarantee detection, both in water and on the internet; the other problems, the changing (non-static) conditions only come to make this worse, 'cause you have to send additional 'pings' when the environment changes enough to make the transmissino incomprehensible.

Encryption not possible. (2)

TrixX (187353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2471548)

What makes this a viable option for underwater encryption, is that nobody can sample a big area of ocean entirely to be able to reconstruct the "holographic signal".

But in the internet, it just only obscures your data. Anyone can read it provided it has backdoors in routers in every path you are using. Yeah, it's harder than monitoring a single router, but still possible, so this approach wouldn't give Real Security[tm]

secret society of whales (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2471555)

The whale cabal has been using this method of communication to plot the overthrow and enslavement of human kind.
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