[E-Lang] MintMaker with ACLs
Wed, 31 Jan 2001 11:37:56 -0800
HP Labs has a very active group working in the area of quantum computation.
Anyone interested in this topic should check out
http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/index.html. A search on "quantum
computing" turned up a long list of papers, several of which are on security
Decision Technology Department
Hewlett-Packard Laboratories MS 1U-2
1501 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(650) 857-3967, fax (650) 857-6278
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ralph Hartley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2001 11:01 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [E-Lang] MintMaker with ACLs
> Mark S. Miller wrote:
> > In fact, in terms of the kinds of vulnerability MarcS
> explains -- reliance
> > on the Mint or Bank, the MintMaker is vastly closer to
> Hal's bank than it is
> > to MarcS' example -- physical cash.
> > Cash has better security properties than seem possible in
> the electronic
> > realm. The MintMaker is not only vastly weaker than cash,
> it is vastly
> > weaker than possible electronic monies, as the text introducing the
> > MintMaker should make clear. Finally, I believe the
> MintMaker is somewhat
> > stronger than Hal's bank for reasons related to MarcS'
> message, but I
> > haven't yet had the time to examine Hal's bank closely.
> > At 11:46 AM Tuesday 1/30/01, Marc Stiegler wrote:
> >> This new version may or may not answer an issue that I
> have that is not
> >> quite Tyler's issue, though it is related to the
> difference between a mint
> >> that makes money and a bank that tracks people's accounts.
> >> Physical metaphor: My car breaks down in the Appalachians,
> a barefoot
> >> 14-year-old kid comes down from a ramshackle shanty and
> helps me get it
> >> started. I give him a 20-dollar bill as thanks for helping out.
> > The security properties of this put anything possible with
> computers to
> > shame. (Assuming non-counterfeitable bills, of course.)
> This reminds me of something I was thinking of bringing up anyway.
> What would be the effect of quantum computation on the basic
> design of
> security systems? It is clear that the effect would be
> substantial, but
> would it be total? That is, could old principles and designs still be
> used, with relatively small changes to block new threats and
> exploit new
> possibilities, or would you have to basically start over from
> Is the design of E one that would survive?
> Quantum computing would allow new threats to security, and new
> capabilities, some of which might be completely impossible in
> conventional computation.
> An example of a new threat would be the fact that quantum
> computers are
> known to efficiently solve some problems believed to be very hard for
> conventional computers. The most famous of these if factoring the
> product of two primes, but there are others. Anything that
> relied on the
> difficulty of such a problem for its security would be compromised.
> More interesting to me are the new possibilities.
> For instance quantum cryptography allows transmission of information
> that absolutely cannot be intercepted. A one time pad is perfectly
> secure, once it has been distributed, but the parties have no way to
> know if someone has made a copy. Quantum states, however, are
> known to
> have the property that they cannot be copied by any physical process
> whatsoever, so using them it is possible for Bob and Alice
> to be sure
> that they have the only two copies of the key.
> It is possible to build objects that have many of the
> properties desired
> of a coin. For instance, quantum states, though they cannot
> be copied,
> can be transferred. If Bob and alice each have half of a sufficient
> number of generic objects called EPR pairs. They can transfer any
> quantum state from Bob to Alice using only classical communication
> (which need not be encrypted as it is random already), Alice
> obtains a
> copy of the object Bob had, while Bob's version is inevitably
> The EPR pairs required for this need to be distributed to to Bob and
> Alice from a common source, but neither the source nor the means of
> distribution need be trusted, any attempt to copy or tamper with the
> pairs will ruin them. This is the "quantum teleportation"
> there was such
> a fuss about lately.
> I think there are also methods that would allow a coin to be
> verified as
> valid, without allowing individual coins to be tracked (or
> one from another). I'm not sure to what extent a trusted
> third party is
> required for this, but I'm pretty sure that if one is required, there
> are fewer things he needs to be trusted to do (or not to do)
> than with
> phisical or clasically computational money.
> Of course this technology seams a long way out now. The
> biggest quantum
> computing device build so far has less than 5 bits, runs at a
> of a degree above absolute zero, and doesn't work for very
> long. No one
> really even knows if quantum computation will ever be practical.
> It might seem premature to worry about this sort of thing
> now. I don't
> think it is at all premature.
> Security infrastructure needs to last a long time. If a language
> designed now lacks the expressiveness to describe a behavior that it
> becomes possible to implement after the language becomes
> widely popular,
> the realization of the new possibilities could be seriously inhibited.
> Ralph Hartley
> e-lang mailing list