On Hacking, Encryption and Govt intervention.

The Govt is planning to cut down the encryption rate on the blackberrys from the standard 128 bit to 40 bit so that they can easily access encrypted data.

India says it needs access to RIM’s encryption algorithms, used to encrypt email sent and received by BlackBerry smartphones, to fight terrorism. The Indian government is delaying a license to offer BlackBerry services to wireless carrier Tata Teleservices, and may cancel the licenses already issued to other Indian wireless carriers— Vodafone Essar, Bharti Telecom and Reliance Communications, if RIM doesn’t comply by March 31st. The Information Technology Act of 2000 provides the government of India the right to intercept electronic communications for security reasons. read on

This is all well and good for the security agencies but it is a matter of grave concerns that this rule might be enforced across the board and ISPs might be asked to reduce the encryption from 128-bit to 40-bit, which is ridiculous. If true, this could make security of online banking and e-commerce transactions questionable, and may even pose threats to India’s growing outsourcing sector. And worse this can provide a fertile ground for phishing and cracking, and put a serious threat on the country’s digital financial backbone, that too when Americans and CNN are so worried on Chiese hacker threat. Well i hope commonsense will prevail on the babudom.

The govt’s record on terrorism is very well known , as they haven’t even managed to use the HUMINT, TECHINT and SIGINT resources correctly right since Kargil days , and things have gotten worse, as agencies blamed each other for the goof ups after multiple bomb blasts, ever since the current govt took over and the Home minister took the home affairs of 10 janpath more seriously than that of the Country, ferrying around madam on the IAF planes and the likes. Things are so bad that the media doesn’t take this issue as seriously as it takes cricket. All of the govts diktats right from the blog ban to the use of Oil psus to bear govt subsidy , to the changes in tax scrutiny norms and cutting return filing date by a month to the fm pushing the Govt banks to bear the interest burden of the Agri Loan waivers , and cut interest rates on deposits stink of more power consolidation by the central govt of the Indira times.

There is a lot of misconception about hacking and Hackers are treated as a dangerous lot and everyone including ethical hackers are clubbed together. Here is a very interesting article on Toms hardware about history of hack exploits which is a must read. All in all we must not shun hacking as it will be bad for our own country in the longer term.


4 thoughts on “On Hacking, Encryption and Govt intervention.

  1. I infact welcome this move my Indian Government.Don’t be scared to death. its only pertaining to blackberries.
    Wat if terrorist roam with Blackberries like my PM.I thought only project managers can afford blackberries, bcos of its hyper security features, it will be used by terrorist’s too.
    Maybe they have their own satellite phones..but taking precautions isn’t bad.

    Who say’s the same thing will happen in case of ISP.. Ankit phadia will be consulted before taking such suicidal decisions..

    am really worried about the implementation aspect.

    Nitin , terrorists like most other citizens are industrious , they will always find a solution, but the crux of the matter is that the govt itself is not serious about security then why all the shenanegan

  2. hey,
    not a tech buff and didn’t really understand what is govt trying to do with slowing down of blackberry but if it is trying to keep it on a lesser speed bcoz the govt cannot fathom the encryption at the given speed then it is simply PATHETIC!!
    Talk of retardation in times of exponential growth!! ahaa india!

    No Minal, the step will water down the encryption strength from 128 to 40, or the security feature used to protect confidential data from being read by the wrong people , so that security agencies can easily monitor transcripts of blackberrys

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