Friday Squid Blogging: Cipherlopods

This makes no sense to me, even though -- I suppose -- it's a squid cryptography joke.

Posted on March 12, 2010 at 4:21 PM • 16 Comments

Comments

Lou the TrollMarch 12, 2010 4:36 PM

It's cute, but I don't know if the seal is snooping on the squids to know where they'll be so it can eat them or the squids are snooping on the seal to avoid it. Maybe it's both and that's why it's funny...

chokMarch 12, 2010 5:33 PM

What's funny to me is that the squids have plenty of tentacles to wrap the paper around, but the poor Seal/Walrus guy doesn't have anything except short flippers.

Peter E RetepMarch 12, 2010 7:01 PM

Perhaps it's a Seal?
If so, that makes the cipher system a seal-tale.
What's funny is that, without the complete seal,
the cipher is undecipherable,
rather the opposite of usual practice.

FrancesMarch 12, 2010 9:34 PM

Be sure to turn the "pages". There are quite a number of other squid cartoons on the site. There are also cute little sculptures made of old vacuum tubes.

BCRMarch 13, 2010 5:35 AM

There is some text below the images which links to the wikipedia page for the Scytale cipher. That explains the joke...

GregWMarch 13, 2010 12:50 PM

I guess when an octopus wraps a Scytale cipher around its appropriately-shaped cylindrical appendages (as pictured), it turns from a "cephalopod" (the class of marine mollusks that includes squid, cuttlefish, and octopus) to a "cipherlopod" (marine mollusks that carry ciphers on their arms?)

And, as seen in that picture, the seal/sea-lion/walrus/whatever clearly is not as equipped to carry a cipher in a similarly proficient manner. So, by inspection, it does not fall in the aquarian class "cipherlopod".

Clive RobinsonMarch 13, 2010 2:50 PM

OT,

A couple of articles that may be of interest,

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9169658/...

Titled : Security industry faces attacks it cannot stop

It looks at the hows and whys of the AV industry dropping the ball and why they cannot pick it up again (although I disagre with it slightly I think "fire and forget" bot nets are more dangerous than "targeted attacks").

Speaking of bot nets the rise and rise of the ZeuS bot net to add in a "compleat control backdoor"

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/...

This is just one reason I think "covert bot nets" will be a very very major issue in the next couple of years.

We are already seeing a change in their usage, from Spam and DoS attacks to information gathering. The information being mainly gathered at the moment is financial for "on line" banking / share dealing etc. However a recent ZeuS attack on .mil and .gov was clearly designed to "hover up" document and PDF files. However it was not covert so was detected...

All that is needed to make covert botmets No.1 on the Ughh list is,

1, Unblockable control channel (I've already said how to do this).

2, Untracable uplink channel (I know how to do this)

3, Jump "air gap security" to infect machines. This is back to the old removable media "boot sector" style virus game prior to networks. And has been seen in the recent Mariposa Botnet takedown.

4, Jump "air gap security" for control channel, this should be almost as easy as (3).

5, Jump "air gap security" for the return channel to get the desired data back out. This is not going to be that much harder than (3) provided the bandwidth is kept down.

I can see all of this being done by the ZeuS writer in less than 6 month if the price was right (say 50,000USD).

At which point you had better cross your fingers and light candels whilst fingering your beads if you are responsable for IT security in a top 1000 company or other "interesting organisation".

I guess we are about to "live in interesting times"...

John BMarch 14, 2010 9:50 AM

Um, Clive?

Remember when cyphers were invented? Those were 'interesting times'.

Remember when those cyphers were improved? Repeatedly? Those were interesting times, too!

And today you've come back to find that we're living in, and heading into, interesting times? Wow, what a surprise! :D

Note this is not an argument against your scenario. Much of it makes a whole lot of sense to me, sadly. It's just that we humans have a propensity towards making our times interesting indeed.

RHMarch 15, 2010 11:29 AM

@Clive: and the moral of the story is?

I vote for: there is _WAY_ too much data in the world these days. There's hiding a needle in a haystack, and then there's hiding a bootsector virus in a 1TB removable raid drive.

Clive RobinsonMarch 15, 2010 12:31 PM

@ John B,

"It's just that we humans have a propensity towards making our times interesting indeed."

Yes we do... I've been told that as a sub-species we of the WASP nations are 'usually overly optomistic', 'can not assess risk' and 'don't look at the bottom line' which is encoraged by a 'very short term "go get them" attitude' of a 'gamblers lucky streak'. Oh and we legitimise it by using expressions like "open enterprise", "free market economies", when the oposit is normaly true ;)

@ RH,

"I vote for: there is _WAY_ too much data in the world these days."

Yes and most of it serves no real purpose other than foder for the "blaim game" in various ways.

And the only way to protect yourself from the blaim game is to either live in a hole in the ground or "record everything" thus perpetuating the data collection.

Then of course the legal bretherin just love records as the more there are the more money there is to be made from them...

So me personally I am looking for a nice quite place to build a well appointed Hobbit Hole with a very well stocked larder, where I can store other peoples records ;)

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