The Doghouse: Vadium Technology

Yet another one-time pad system. Not a lot of detail on the website, but this bit says it all:

"Based on patent-pending technology and 18 years of exhaustive research, Vadium's AlphaCipher Encryption System (tm), implements a true digital One-Time-Pad ("OTP") cipher. The One-Time Pad is the only method of encrypting data where the strength of protection is immune to the mounting threats posed by breakthroughs in advanced mathematics and the ever-increasing processing power of computers. The consistently accelerated increases in computing power are proven to be a present and severe threat to all the other prevalent encryption methods."

I am continually amazed at the never-ending stream of one-time pad systems. Every few months another company believes that they have finally figured out how to make a commercial one-time pad system. They announce it, are uniformly laughed at, and then disappear. It's cryptography's perpetual motion machine.


Vadium Technology's website.

My essay on one-time pads.


Posted on November 4, 2004 at 12:08 PM • 48 Comments

Comments

Israel TorresNovember 4, 2004 3:30 PM

"They announce it, are uniformly laughed at, and then disappear."

hmm, perhaps they are one in the same... rinse, lather, repeat...

Israel Torres

SkyringNovember 4, 2004 7:56 PM

Thanks for posting the link to your essay on one-time pads. I noticed a reference to the historical use of OTP, replacing a system using memorised poetry. The use of codes for special agents in Occupied Europe at this time is described by Leo Marks in his book "Between Silk and Cyanide" which is a history of his part in improving WW2 cryptosystems. It is an incredibly funny and heartbreakingly poignant memoir. When we get weary of studying algorithms and tables, this book brings back to us that there is a human dimension to the field, and that sometimes there was a stark choice. If the silk (of the OTP) was not available, an agent might have to use his or her cyanide capsule to escape torture and death.

Peter in Canberra

w.h.November 4, 2004 11:14 PM

I think it's mostly because "everybody knows" that "One Time Pads are Uncrackable". It's an ultimate, therefore if you are either consciously or unconsciously trying to pull a fast one, you head straight for the ultimate, instead of the plausable.

Same thing as nobody sells a pill that makes you a little more... ehrm... studly. It has to enlarge your tool *and* increase production, durration, and everything else. ;)

malcomvetterNovember 5, 2004 10:59 AM

History warns us to not trust anyone who says "Trust Me" and to not believe there is an "unbreakable" cryptosystem. Yet, we still have pushy salesmen ...

Wolfgang HammersmithNovember 5, 2004 11:03 AM

Contrary to Mr. Schneier's comments, Vadium Technology, Inc. is not poping out and hiding again. We have designed, implemented, and have patents pending on the AlphaCipher System technology and peripheral developments that have long-since overcome all of Mr. Schneier's objections (and many others, more significant) about OTP Ciphers in practical computer-based usage for specific applications. Vadium has completed several contracts and AlphaCipher is being used as intended by design, in high-level crypto applications in sensitive areas. Publicly, Vadium is launching international marketing for the COTS AlphaCipher Product Line and the public announcements, press releases, and associated support from retired and currernt U.S. and foreign respected crypto authorities will be released as the international commercial debut accelerates through 2005. One of the first examples of this campaign is the airing of a segment on Gen. Haig's excellent show, "World Business Review" in October. We at Vadium are dedicated to creating a new future for cryptography, not repeating the past. It appears that the information sources available to Mr. Schneier are considerably behind the times not only in the knowledge that OTP Ciphers are the future of cryptography, but in current events, as well. For those who remain skeptics of the usefulness of OTP Cihpers, we suggest sitting back in a comfortable chair and watching what happens next.

ACNovember 5, 2004 5:31 PM

Is anyone going to respond to Mr. Hammersmith's comment? You can't just let something like that stand, can you?

I'll be in my comfy chair.

DanNovember 5, 2004 8:52 PM

"sources available to Mr. Schneier are considerably behind the times not only in the knowledge that OTP Ciphers are the future of cryptography, but in current events, as well."

How can a OTP be the future of cryptography? This is by all one can see, a step backwards.
One time pads are a very hard system to implement well, and many would be cautious to pick it up.
If you can pull it off, not just commercially, but securely, then props to you, but surely a OTP system cannot be called the 'way of the future'

Wolfgang HammersmithNovember 6, 2004 10:48 AM

Dan and AC, I apologize, but to be extensively involved in a forum here is not productive for Vadium. We spend our time with clients who already know the value of OTP Ciphers right now, see it in the future, and are working with us to develop new technologies and are currently using our existing products. Educating those who are adamantly opposed, or just curious without a purpose in mine, will generally have to wait until the beach head for this paradigm-breaking, disruptive technology expands. However, I did post a comment and I will reply for a short while to those who took their valuable time to write. Be aware that we normally do this in a technology briefing where we can interactively answer questions, and so we will eventually post a briefing PDF for download at www.vadiumtech.com that will address most issues. Briefly, it is impossible to assert that any one individual will not betray their assigned level of trust and so Vadium does not address the qualification of personnel - we leave that to our clients. No software program running on a computer connected to any type of net or running in an open environment is secure. Even power lines can provide a door into a otherwise secure system. Vadium does not address that in its software products and in fact, the field security procedures are written by our clients and ACS fits in perfectly with these. One solution now in use by our cilents (and different clients have other solutions as well) is to apply Air-Gap Procedures (AGP). There are various designs for AGP using AlphaCipher Systems (ACS). In one design, new laptops or a laptop is/are purchased from random sources and checked in to a secure room (specs vary, but generally a US Spec-rated SCIF (Secure Compartmented Information Facility) is provided by the client. KeyGen, the separate key generating component of the ACS is uploaded, a RNG approved by the client is connected (or bytes from an approved RNG are used) and keys are generated by approved personnel. The laptop then goes into a shredder resulting in particles of plastic and metal no larger than 1 cm in volume. These particles are then heated to the point of liquidity or vaporization for all subtances. The drive containing keys is shielded and the client-qualified person leaves with their key sets. All of the other attackers that prey on the keys and the secret holders now do their best with various degrees of success, but these defenses are handled by our clients. And now to your point: Our experiences in working in deeply within the high-security world are accelerating our development of OTP Cipher Technology tenfold. The basic job of ACS is to provide truely random keys and a fast, convenient method of key management and control, both internal and by procedure, that takes the complexity of the use of an OTP Cipher out of the user's hands. By keeping our focus small, by doing one thing very well, by providing key management, controls, and stable key hierarchies that are easy to use, we see paths for not only COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) applications but the groundwork for large-scale encryption solutions. For the moment, ACS is not a cipher for use by the masses, and with all due respect to Mr. Schneier, he was right in that regard. But then masses don't generally need to encrypt secret and above, or high-dollar value data that ACS is being used to encrypt now. With the powerful, creative minds we have engaged, we already see solutions to the mass encryption problems with OTP Ciphers and are working on the engineering and have filed patents to make this a reality. Ten years ago people told me that they absolutely knew that 5 Gigs of fast memory would never be as small as a postage stamp, and yet I have one on my desk (and 5 Gigs of ACS Key goes a long way with our compression-before-encryption process). What will people absolutely know in ten more years?

Matt RNovember 11, 2004 8:58 AM

As Nicolas Courtois points out, the AlphaCipher PDF brochure doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Another clanger is that, according to Vadium, within 7 years computers will be fast enough to brute force any non-OTP cryptosystem, including AES (which has up to 256 bit keys!).


Quote: "Over the next decade there will be new, revolutionary advances in the speed and processing capabilities of computers. This revolution will be led by stunning new advances in mathematics, parallel processing, and Quantum computing. Within the next six months computers will be running at clock speeds in excess of 50 teraflops and speeds of nearly 200 teraflops are predicted within five years. It has been estimated that pentaflop speeds will be achieved in the next seven years. With computers running at these speeds, it will be possible to break any crypto systems (RSA, PGP, AES, DES and Triple DES, etc.) not based on an OTP cipher in a relatively short, practical period of time."


By "pentaflop", I presume they mean a petaflop, which is 10^15 floating ops per second. For the sake of argument, let's be conservative and assume that testing a key takes time equivalent to one floating point operation. Let's also assume that we have a billion petaflop supercomputers at our disposal. Pushing the numbers through a calculator, I get that such a brute force effort could recover a 128 bit key in the "short, practical time" of 10 million years.

RajivNovember 13, 2004 10:48 AM

Matt's math is correct with regard to brute-forcing a 128-bit key (give or take a multiple of 2). However, his argument is weakened slightly by his interpretation of "break any crypto systems" as 'brute-force'. There are other ways to break a system, no?

Matt RNovember 15, 2004 10:31 AM

Sure, I did interpret "new, revolutionary advances in the speed and processing capabilities of computers" as a reference to brute force attack. You point out that there may be other ways to break a cipher. This is true, but I don't think we know of any way to break 128-bit AES faster than brute force. Vadium might have been arguing that a devastating attack on AES _will be_ found in the next 7 years (maybe "stunning advances in mathematics"). But they simply assert this as a known event, when, in fact, nobody knows.

Vadium argue that people need OTPs because current ciphers *will* be breakable in a "short, practical" amount of time within 7 years. This can only be FUD: there is no evidence to justify this assertion. Moreover, they strongly imply that current ciphers will be breakable because of advances in computer power. The above calculation (oh, and yes, divide by 2 for the average case) just points out that petaflop computing power alone isn't going to render current ciphers insecure.

Richard ThomasNovember 15, 2004 12:49 PM

AlphaCipher is best used to encrypt data that is worth "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" or has the damage potential of causing a governmental, military, or corporate collapse? I saw the graphs on page 5 and I'm still not buying it. Only a few lines above it is says "However, when used properly, it significantly reduces the risk of critical data being compromised." To me, it sounds like the sort of warning label found on a condom. I think one of the potential problems is that the information is stored on physical media which means if the CD or USB ReDrive gets broken, lost, stolen, or erased you're screwed right? Even so, the encryptions used in AES and RSA are monsterous, and I really do not see how they're system is any better then then what we have now.

Eric NormanNovember 15, 2004 4:13 PM

They claim a patent is pending. So let's look it up. Anyone
know the patent number or whatever it takes to see the patent
application. That should reveal all.

Keith MooreNovember 15, 2004 6:03 PM

Eric: A quick search on http://www.uspto.gov shows three pending patents. 20030016821 is my favorite -- "One-time-pad encryption with keyable characters". Basically, they're trying to patent the use of a OTP key that one can enter on a keyboard.

Duke WayneMarch 18, 2006 12:57 PM

As Nicolas Courtois points out, the AlphaCipher PDF brochure doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Another clanger is that, according to Vadium, within 7 years computers will be fast enough to brute force any non-OTP cryptosystem, including AES (which has up to 256 bit keys!).

Vadium apparently is using outdated material here. AES has been easily compromised. Also, Quantum computing breaks a 100 digit integer within 1K math operations and this takes just a couple of minutes.

SorockOctober 29, 2006 6:16 PM

Time to sit in your comfortable chairs and eat a sandwich, maybe one with a little crow in it?

SorockFebruary 14, 2007 11:25 PM

Now that a quantum computer chip has been developed does anyone care to recognize the validity of the "one-time pad" cipher, AlphaCipher of Vadium as the only remaining unbreakable cipher system?


VMarch 16, 2007 11:45 PM

I saw Vadium at a conference recently. Their reps were ignorant of even the most basic block diagram of competing products, keys have to be centrally managed, they are generated using the key generating computer's random numbers generator (a shaky proposition), they wouldn't address concerns about security during key distribution, and the answer to a compromised key was to void out issued key material and reissue new materials (a serious logistical and security consideration). They would not address the lag time between compromise and discovery of compromise.

I wouldn't bet my life or livelihood on it.

MeTooMarch 22, 2007 10:49 PM

"Now that a quantum chip has been developed..."
Well, not really. High-strung, fragile lab chips of a few bits that avoid decoherence for a few microseconds or milliseconds have been demonstrated. My old slide rule is still more versatile.

"Unbreakable cipher system"
Well, not that either. Key distribution? Security of archived messages? Key invalidation? User autonomy and confidentiality? Multicast? Who can I bribe? A "system" is a lot more than cleartext-in:ciphertext-out.

And, depending on how badly the "random" maxi-pad was generated, it's a sophomore exercise to recreate the rest of it independently. I want to know just exactly how random those random numbers are. Otherwise that quantum (i.e. magic) computer can reproduce the pad as easily as it could crack any deterministic algorithm.

Wolfgang HammersmithMarch 26, 2007 3:58 PM

It has been some time since I have responded. During that time, AlphaCipher Systems have been proven effective and are in use by our Government and foriegn goverments as well, and some fortune 50 companies. While the distribution list grows, it should be noted that every government institution and corporation that has purchased AlphaCipher Systems has perfromed their own extensive evaluations under Vadium's "Verified Trust" policy whereby AlphaCipher Source Code can be openly reviewed and compiled by Vadium's clients into the products they use.

KeyGen, the system that creates AlphaCipher's Key Sets, has been purchased by foreign governments under the export laws of the United States, and has been operating successfully with zero problems for over 5 months with one major client, producing high-qualty random keys to hundreds of stations without error.

In answer to the misinformation posted above by "V," the source of most AlphaCipher Keys made today is from radioactive decay, or generators approved and purchased by Vadium's clients. Vadium does not manufacture random generators, and does not sell random generators to our clients.

There is much more that is inaccurate posted here, so rather than spend time here, I suggest that those with questions contact Vadium directly and request an in-depth demo.

In closing, with the release of the 80-core chip and NASA's D-Wave chip, with the promises to come in 2008, I beleve we'll all see tremendous changes in crypto very soon.

EHApril 9, 2007 2:50 PM

PKC anniversary event provided insights into the past, present, and future of cryptography

12/21/2006 Excerpt

On quantum computing, Brian Snow (retired technical director of the NSA) pointed out that the NSA had studied the possibility of quantum computers and initially set out to prove that it was impossible. But the harder the NSA studied, the more it came to the conclusion that quantum computing was simply a massively difficult engineering problem that may eventually be solved. He went on to warn that when quantum computing becomes a reality, it could severely compromise existing encryption algorithms (used for bulk payload encryption) and public key crypto algorithms (used for key exchange)…

Public key crypto key exchange algorithms, such as Diffie-Hellman and RSA, would essentially be "flat lined" by quantum computing, rendering them completely broken. This is an "open problem," Snow said, and he implored the research community to come up with public key crypto algorithms that could withstand a future quantum computer attack. At this point, Diffie said that some of the public key crypto research on the "lattice system" could potentially withstand an attack from quantum computers. I asked Snow about this via e-mail and he responded that it might work conceptually, but that it has "known problems under TRADITIONAL computing." He said that a lot of research still needs to be done.

See full story: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/...

Rather credible folks appear quite concerned about security of traditional cryptography.

Any comments?

SorockApril 19, 2007 8:56 PM

The future is now and sticking one's head into the sand will change the reality of quantum computing making all but the one time-pad system antique computer technology.

SorockApril 19, 2007 8:59 PM

........should be.... will not change the reality of quantum computing making all but the one time-pad system antique computer technology.

DLAMarch 28, 2008 3:27 PM

It seems as though Mr. Schneier should be 'weighing in' again on this subject. 2004 is ancient history in computing terms. Mr. Schneier, considering Vadium's continued march into the marketplace (no disappearing act, as suggested), are your comments still valid? I believe as resident expert a fresh look at this subject is required.

SorockApril 4, 2008 9:09 PM

The comments of Mr. Schneier were based on outdated thinking and ignored the advances occurring. Vadium carries the standard and is being recognized as such on an ever increasing basis. Vadium's AlphaCipher is the premier method, unbreakable and will be for many many years to come.

JonathanApril 21, 2008 9:26 AM

4 years adds 3 bits to required security levels, so AES and other existing ciphers are still secure.

Even if quantum computers could be scaled up from around 20 bits of storage to something useful, Grovers algorithm only halves the security levels, so 256-bit AES would still be secure for the next 10 years.

On the other hand, AlphaCipher has problems with key generation, distribution, and revocation which make its use essentially impossible in almost all situations.

Wolfgang HammersmithJuly 4, 2008 3:44 PM

It's somewhat tiresome, once again, after the extensive client validations, subsequent purchases, and use of AlphaCipher products and SDKs by U.S. and foreign Governments, U.S. and foreign Military, corporations, and Police agencies all over the world, to see more uninformed comments like this emerge. Jonathan is completely incorrect, of course, having no knoledge of KeyGen 100 and 1000 appliances. Anyone who wants real facts and product information should make an inquiry to info@vadiumtech.net. AlphaCipher products are not only proving themselves to be strong, viable applications, but they are proving by sales that there is a rapidly-growing worldwide marketplace (in 21 nations, to date) that demand unbreakable AlphaCipher products and are looking forward to near-future releases of iAptus(tm), RECOGNOS(tm) and real-time VOIP products in development at Vadium and with significant international partners. Come and see! We're here to help.

otp_dJuly 8, 2008 4:49 PM

Jonathan, re-encrypting my secrets every 4 years (or so) is very expensive.

Why should I do it?

We know One Time Pads are truly secure (yes I know, if correctly implemented, and from my analysis Vadium's is), and there is no Mathematical Magic that is required to make or break them. Just a bunch of random bits, once encrypted it is secured for life.

Is it just too simple for Crypto Gear Heads to understand?

Do we need some new "Fishy" math every few years promising protection, only to find better math and more processing that weakens that protection?

I don't!

OTP D.

Wolfgang HammersmithApril 1, 2009 12:24 AM

Fascinating! All of this since I last posted, and yet Vadium's products have been researched, vetted, and accepted by so many clients within our Government and in foreign lands that Vadium is in the process of worldwide expansion with a new CEO on board, Mr. Jose Antonio Rios.

So let the controversy rage on! If anyone wants real answers, such as those proven valuable to our growing client list, make an appointment. We'll answer all your questions in a sincere attempt to bring Vadium's solutions into public view.

If, after a Vadium AlphaCipher InfoSeal/Stealth(tm), iAptus(tm), RECOGNOS(tm), or KeyGen 100/1000(tm) presentation, or, for qualified individuals, Spec Ops presentation of AlphaCipher Cayman(tm) Covert-Clandestine System, you still disagree with our solutions, then by all means post a comment. Such a post will, at least, have substance behind it and not in-substantive speculations leading to questions that Vadium has already solved with client-verified and proven answers in its products. And should you agree, we would be pleased if you posted as well.

Vadium is launching seminars throughout the world in Q3 and Q4 of 09. We'll post info on registration at Vadium's site as these seminars become scheduled. Or call directly for an appointment. We'll have coffee and donuts on hand and we take pleasure in enlightening our honored guests and in accepting informed criticism, especially when lively discussion can help make our already-powerful products even better.

RKMApril 1, 2009 12:45 AM

I'm not a scientist, like many posting here, but I worked in the field of Special Operations, and I have, recently, retired due to injuries. I just read Hammersmith's email he sent me with the post he is putting up tonight, and I want to post a thought in the middle of this pro and con debate.

We used AlphaCipher Stealth in battlefield ops. It works. It works so well that others still in identical situations are relying upon it in places where lives are at stake if information is intercepted and / or revealed and they are using it with perfect confidence in groups of more than 150 operatives.

So all of the people sitting in offices who haven't chewed the dirt of foreign lands while under stress can debate all they want, but AlphaCipher Stealth works. First time. Every time. And with no confusion that is rampant with other cyphers.

ModeratorApril 1, 2009 3:17 PM

Wolfgang Hammersmith, I don't mean to alarm you, but I've traced RKM's comment and *it's coming from your computer*.

I do hope there's a benign explanation. Perhaps you created a sockpuppet to praise your product as a sort of April Fools joke?

If not, please be careful. RKM could have broken in and be inside your house right now. He's ex-Special Ops and there's no knowing what he might be capable of.

SOROCKApril 18, 2009 3:41 PM

Here I am again, years later, reading the same concerns about AlphaCipher. It is unbreakable, it is the cutting edge and if it was defective in any way the defects would have been spread all over the internet by now.

SOROCKApril 18, 2009 3:41 PM

Here I am again, years later, reading the same concerns about AlphaCipher. It is unbreakable, it is the cutting edge and if it was defective in any way the defects would have been spread all over the internet by now.

YApril 28, 2009 8:52 AM

And once again, AlphaCipher has NOT been approved by NSA... so the government cannot use it!

rEdManMay 22, 2009 11:55 AM

Oh, but they do use it.

However I am sure as long as it is doing its job, you will not hear about it. It protects people and valuable messages everyday.

SorockAugust 30, 2009 10:40 PM

Alphacipher is getting better daily and the naysayers are getting fewer. It is Unbreakable. End of story.

PhooeyFebruary 12, 2010 12:30 AM

Where is the blowhard, Wolfgang Hammersmith now? He's a predictable as a former self-appointed Hollywood superstar that no one remembers or cares to remember. Wolfgang, I hope that RKM didn't cart you off after they conspired with you in your ridiculous attempt to form credibility around who you are and what you do.

Wolfgang HammersmithAugust 25, 2010 2:30 PM

What a fascinating post, and one that feeds the growing database of actions our attorneys are collecting! We have been completely successful on several fronts, and are working with a army of powerful attorneys and new investors to accomplish several amazing things. It is no wonder that the losers are bitter, as shown in the post by (we know who you are). No worries to the good guys. We're more than alive and well, and the invitation to review this remarkable technology stands. Very soon there will be a new worldwide emergence of Vadium with tremendous successes already in place. We are better, stronger, and more innovative than ever before. So here is my message into the void for the many good guys and the few bad guys: Wait a little while longer. Everything that is good, including justice itself, takes a bit of time and thorough preparation to complete.
The new products Vadium will reveal provide more than outstanding value, they are remarkable in every way. Our sincere thanks goes out to all those who were so incredibly supportive! We appreciate your faith and foresight. As you can see and will realize shortly, you backed the right horse in this odd race! Vadium is moving forward now.

Wolfgang HammersmithAugust 25, 2010 2:35 PM

To the Moderator: RKM and I were sitting together talking about this blog. He was frustrated by the text when, as he put it, the issue is simple. He asked to use my computer to post, and I pushed it over to him. There is no subterfuge here. If I wanted to post anonymously, I have many ways to do that and many volunteers who are better than me at using separate identities. Over that, I have many friends who would have posted it for me - if I was trying to obfuscate. Finally, yes, to address your concern, RKM is frequently in my house as I have known him for many years. Thanks for the observation, however. It was really useful and important.

Concerned "shareholder"December 6, 2010 11:08 AM

How about Vadium Technology spending some time to update those of us that invested in the company? It's been over 18 months since any communication was sent out to those that invested, and repeated attempts to get an update from your executive team have fallen on deaf ears. For all of this "backing the right horse" talk, you sure fail miserably when it comes to keeping those who backed you informed. This seems to be the only place where any semblance of an update is posted, so are you all talk or are you willing to share anything with your "shareholders"? I'm tired of having to do a google search to look for new updates and to see if the company still exists.

Poser HatrerDecember 23, 2010 4:35 PM

Wolfgang Hammersmith has been proven to be a fake.. a scam artist and guilty of stealing the valor of true combat professionals. Follow the above link, he was NEVER in the service. If you invested money with this tool, call your lawyers.

BenFebruary 1, 2011 12:27 AM

Why would anyone trust a turkey who calls himself Wolfgang Hammersmith when his real name is Steven J. Pyryezstov? He makes outlandish claims about his military service, starting at 12 years old in the Marine Corps, when the records center says he never served. Even the FBI says he never served in the military. He is a liar in every sense of the word. See link below;

http://military-posers-fakers.info/other/...

Military FakerFebruary 1, 2011 2:09 AM

Well, Pete or Wolfgang or whatever your going by today, you will be at the top of my list no later than tomorrow.. My Military Faker list that is.. Seems as though you have become rather popular in the world of phonies, fakes, wannabee, and down right liars..

Your Military Records, that you say can't be obtained, have already arrived.. And yes Petey, they are yours.. There is no wiggle room this time..

You may have some folks buffaloed here, but there are just to many that have what you wish we didn't..

You even tried to defend your self at PROFESSIONALS SOLDIERS.. http://www.professionalsoldiers.com/forums/... Didn't work did it Petey..?

Same thing happened over at SOCNET.COM.. http://socnet.com/showthread.php?... Didn't work there either did it Petey..?

Now Ben has you cornered at http://military-posers-fakers.info/other/...

I'll have you up and running tomorrow Petey.. Give it up Pete you can never win this.. Warm crow taste alot bettewr than cold.. ... ..MF

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