From the papers intro:
“Galois Field, named after Evariste Galois, also known as finite field, refers to a field in which there exists finitely many elements. It is particularly useful in translating computer data as they are represented in binary forms. That is,computer data consist of combination of two numbers, 0 and 1, which are the components in Galois Field whose number of elements is two. Representing data as a vector in a Galois Field allows mathematical operations to scramble data easily and eeffectively.”
” Computer scientists have identified almost two dozen computers that were actively working to sabotage the Tor privacy network by carrying out attacks that can degrade encrypted connections between end users and the websites or servers they visit.”
Very interesting article. One could see government actors, companies, or organizations using these techniques to sabotage Bitcoin. Of course the more immediate threat is criminals but since many states see Bitcoin as a threat its not unlikely state actors or proxies might attack it this way. One could even see a state actor introduction legislation while simultaneously attacking a crypto-currency. Thus making it illegal, delegitimizing it among users, and in a recursive manner calling for more legislation to protect people from such attacks through further legislation and again weakening crypto-currency adoption.
via Bitcoin flaw could threaten booming virtual currency – tech – 06 November 2013 – New Scientist.
Information services that purport to allow for secure, encrypted, or foolproof ways for allowing exchanging or sharing of data without anyone but their intended recipient are almost always hype. One great example is SnapChat. While a number of people have come up with methods to exploit SnapChat it now comes to light that SnapChat may share your information with law enforcement.
‘ “Photos are automatically deleted from Snapchat’s servers once they’ve been opened by their recipients, but Schaffer says it is possible to grab the images from the servers before they’ve been viewed in some cases – such as when the law comes a-knockin’.
“For example, if we receive a search warrant from law enforcement for the contents of Snaps and those Snaps are still on our servers, a federal law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) obliges us to produce the Snaps to the requesting law enforcement agency,” Schaffer wrote.” ‘
While this is not so bad, responding to a legitimate warrant, but won wonders if they might not share information or imagery with organizations such as the NSA. More worrisome is the threat of malicious hackers targeting these servers and capturing huge amounts of potentially embarrassing photographs for black mail. As such it would be wise to not trust services that are not highly transparent about how they secure information and allow trusted third parties to audit them.