Twofish Mentioned in Thriller Novel

I've been told that the Twofish encryption algorithm is mentioned in the book Abuse of Power, in the first paragraph of Chapter 3. Did the terrorists use it? Did our hero break it? I am unlikely to read it; can someone scan the page for me.

EDITED TO ADD (10/25): Google Books has it:

The line was picked up after three rings. The cell phones were encrypted using a Twofish algorithm and a 4096-bit Diffie-Hellman key exchange.

No one would be listening in.

Posted on October 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM • 27 Comments


PeteOctober 25, 2011 1:48 PM

In case at some point in the future, those links aren't available, the referenced text is: "The line was picked up after three rings. The cell phones were encrypted using a Twofish algorithm and a 4096-bit Diffie-Hellman key exchange. No one would be listening in."

IdoOctober 25, 2011 1:55 PM

Actually the link you gave (at amazon) shows a preview - up to where it is mentioned... click the "look inside" (the book image) and scroll.

I can send a screen capture if you want.

Petréa MitchellOctober 25, 2011 2:34 PM


Encrypting a physical object sounds like a neat trick.

I suppose someday when matter transmission is invented, it's going to be a necessity...

Emile BerlinerOctober 25, 2011 3:11 PM

"No one would be listening in"

One of these days someone will invent a device that can pick up audible communications.

Clive RobinsonOctober 25, 2011 3:20 PM

@ Lazlo,

"I've developed a thermite-based physical device hashing function..."

Sounds like a hot pick product...

Paula ProductOctober 25, 2011 3:57 PM

"The cell phones were encrypted using a Twofish algorithm and a 4096-bit Diffie-Hellman key exchange. No one would be listening in."

If only a similar process were applied to Michael Savage's radio program...

GabrielOctober 25, 2011 4:27 PM

Unfortunately, if Michael Savage's program were encrypted with ten different twofish keys, I'm afraid the hate will still leak out of the ciphertext.

Regarding encrypting a physical product, I'm sure we'll see that happen soon, in the form of copy protection against 3D printers. You will probably see a DRM path between PC and printer, and of course, scrambling of physical objects to make them harder to scan a 3D model.

Dirk PraetOctober 25, 2011 5:07 PM

@ Pete

I wonder what an encrypted cell phone would look like. Maybe whe should tip off the TSA that anyone observed at an airport holding a banana to his ear may actually be a high-tech terrorist. As most of them should be familiar with the legendary Sesame Street Bert and Ernie banana scenes, I have little doubt they'll buy it immediately.

Jan SchejbalOctober 25, 2011 5:36 PM

No one would be listening in. Or so they thought. Unknown to them, all their communication was being recorded and analyzed using a simple Man-in-the-middle attack, thanks to the stupid fact that they forgot to implement any kind of authentication for the Diffie-Hellman exchange.

pfoggOctober 25, 2011 6:56 PM

@Dirk Praet

Wouldn't that be steganography? An encrypted cell phone...maybe one that opens like a Chinese puzzle-box?

GabrielOctober 25, 2011 8:24 PM

Since we are on the topic of Michael Savage, does anyone know what his take on encryption is? Does he demonize it as a tool to enable drug dealers and terrorists to hide their evil deeds from law enforcement? Or does he understand how it is important for privacy and security?

DaveOctober 26, 2011 7:26 AM

"No one would be listening in."

Ah, but if you put the two fish in your ears, everything is translated perfectly.

Dave (again)October 26, 2011 7:35 AM

"[A] Twofish algorithm"?

Indeed. Surely it should be The Twofish algorithm.

That's the trouble with putting crypto in a thriller. You have to know what you're talking about.

Case in point: Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. One or two teensy-weensy mistakes! Although I did enjoy it when hyper-intelligent Susan Fletcher almost fell out of her chair with surprise.

Stupid Security QuestionsOctober 26, 2011 9:56 AM

@Dave: Digital Fortress was a nice turn-your-brain-off read for me the first time through, but I couldn't even get past the first few pages when trying to re-read it. Other websites have pointed out all the factual and even logical errors in it so I won't bother summarizing them but it was just painful.

Love Poems to GinsbergOctober 26, 2011 10:35 AM

He also has a fistfight with a terrorist trying to detonate a nuclear device at the very top of one of the Golden Gate Bridge's towers. One of the better unintentional comedies since Beck's "don't tease the panther" snoozefest.

Leave a comment

Allowed HTML: <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre>

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Co3 Systems, Inc..