Since BYOD and Implications for Network Security and Protocols, Packets and Prototypes, recently I've been learning about cryptography, primarily within the computing discipline, which essentially means encryption. 

Prior to this was setting up firewall ACLs to inhibit or permit traffic from certain parts of the network. Then prior to that, the focus was mostly concerned with layer 2 security such as Port Security, VLANs and Layer 2 protocols such as Spanning Tree protocol and then even further back, was network vulnerabilities and techniques that attacker use to break into networks which I'm writing a separate Common network attacks and the shortcomings of standard network defences:

However, it doesn't stop there - that would be too easy, almost sane.

I've recently surveyed a great deal of technology so far, including MD5/SHA/HMAC integrity mechanisms (and authentication in the case of HMAC), symmetric block ciphers (DES, AES, RCx), stream ciphers(RC4, A5, DES), asymmetric ciphers(Diffie-Hellman, DSS, DSA, RSA, ElGamal, Elliptical Curve) - for confidentiality, as well as public key infrastructure including digital signatures, certificates, code signing (which can service a variety of purposes) and then protocols that use them, such as SSL/TLS and IPSec. 

I've also had a look into how the DES algorithm is actually implemented and it's interesting: splitting binary up and glueing it all back together through 16 rounds moving in and out of constructs called P-Boxes and S-boxes, that permeate and obfuscate while using the key and plain text as input. Interesting, however, I don't claim to fully understand it which perhaps is a side project for some other time, as that might lift the lid on it. The patent has been royalty-free since 1997.

I've recently learnt how to establish a secure link (read VPN) between two sites using IPSec from two routers/firewalls using particular SAs (Security Associations - these establish an agreed stack of technology based on the aforementioned technologies) using ISAKMP/IKE and learnt how to up an SSL VPN using Cisco ADSM. I've still got a bit more practical work to do before I'm entirely comfortable.

I've come across some interesting research into the implication of conventional computing when it comes to encryption, particularly in light unconventional methods such as using light and the potential for quantum-based encryption. I've written an article about it but its not fnished yet however my inspiration comes from the follownig sources, listed here for posterity's sake:

  • Naughton, J., 2019. We’re still a long way from making a quantum leap in web code-breaking | John Naughton. The Guardian.
  • Scarani, V. and Kurtsiefer, C. (2014) ‘The black paper of quantum cryptography: Real implementation problems’, Theoretical Computer Science, 560(1), pp. 27–32. doi: 10.1016/j.tcs.2014.09.015.
  • Greg Vetter (2010) ‘PATENTING CRYPTOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGY’, Chicago-Kent Law Review, 84, pp. 757–1027.
  • Salimi Sartakhti, J. and Jalili, S. (2019) ‘On the computational power of the light: A plan for breaking data encryption standard’, Theoretical Computer Science. Elsevier B.V, 773, pp. 71–78. doi: 10.1016/j.tcs.2018.08.015.
  • Cesare, C. (2015) ‘Encryption faces quantum foe: researchers urge readiness against attacks from future-generation computers.’, Nature. Nature Publishing Group, 525(7568), pp. 167–168. 
  • Kolata, G. (1983) ‘Flaws found in popular code’, Science (New York, N.Y.), 219(4583), pp. 369–370. doi: 10.1126/science.219.4583.369. 
  • Putra, S. D. et al. (2019) ‘Power analysis attack against encryption devices: a comprehensive analysis of AES, DES, and BC3’, TELKOMNIKA (Telecommunication Computing Electronics and Control), 17(3), pp. 1282–1289. doi: 10.12928/telkomnika.v17i3.9384. 
  • Calmels, B. et al. (2006) ‘Low-Cost Cryptography for Privacy in RFID Systems’, in Smart Card Research and Advanced Applications: 7th IFIP WG 8.8/11.2 International Conference, CARDIS 2006, Tarragona, Spain, April 19-21, 2006. Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 237–251. doi: 10.1007/11733447_17. 
  • Velan, P. et al. (2015) ‘A survey of methods for encrypted traffic classification and analysis’, International Journal of Network Management, 25(5), pp. 355–374. doi: 10.1002/nem.1901. 
  • Kapoor, B., Pandya, P. and Sherif, J. S. (2011) ‘Cryptography’, Kybernetes. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 40(9/10), pp. 1422–1439. doi: 10.1108/03684921111169468.
  • Lian, J.H. & Chen, K. 2011, "Implementation of DES Encryption Algorithm Based on FPGA and Performance Analysis", Applied Mechanics and Materials, vol. 130-134, pp. 2953-2956.

Also, part of my recent study I have been exposed to the ASA 5505 Next-Generation Firewall Gateway which is a bit more advanced than the Cisco IOS-based ISR routers I'd dealt with before, most notable is the ability to define 'objects' that can define aspects of networking which you can then use in expressions such as establishing firewall rules. Another is the first-class representation of VLANs (which, along with routing I've come to appreciate a lot more)

In other news, I watched 'The Gentleman' which is a classic Guy Ritchie film like 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' which I enjoyed immensely. I also saw the new Star-wars film which was better than the last one, perhaps even better than the last few and so quite enjoyable - though 'The Gentleman' was the hands-down favourite. 

I recently started running recently again, I stopped because I had too much work to do which unbalances things a bit and does start to affect my Zen. That being said, I'm back at it now. Anyway, some of my most recent runs are below.

Here we're looking at about a 4.36/km pace which is about right. This was my most recent run back (And I feel like I'm saying that a lot recently because things have become a lot more haphazard recently which is affecting pretty much my 'everything' right now).

It's back at my usual pace, however, it's still quite a jaunt. I feel like I'm still working to regain my usual comport and my VO2 max has dropped to 60.

My resting heart rate has been up and down over the past couple of months which is a bit worrying(but not that worrying). This took a relative effort of 31 which shows that I'm still not quite back yet.

Prior to that, there was this one which took an effort too, clocking in at 25 on the effort scale but managing a pretty decent pace at 4'34 over 8.5km.

It's pretty much at this point that I found that there was a 'little' improvement detected at some of the stages of the route that had previously been quite tough and uncomfortable, ie it was less uncomfortable this time around.

This was a bit of a weird one. I decided to go out on the canal again but this time I'd turn left and see what that looks like. It was a disaster.

It was like running around a sunny city where the roads were made out of chocolate. The roads melted as my trainers hit the turf and it wasn't because it was sunny - it wasn't - it was because it had rained the previous night. It was a slodgy, sludgy, mucky, squidgy, squelchy - a real melted milk-chocolate mess.

So I thought better of it and part way through, decided to explore other routes - hence the 4-legged spider-like route I made.

This one's a bit fast at 4'27 which for some reason I registered no HR for, so I can't say how it compares effort-wise compared to others only that it was faster, and a bit longer - not too sure why. Maybe I was dithering at pace. 

Also lost my heart here, but still a good steady pace for a dead guy at 4'35.

This was probably one of the nicest runs I've done in a long time, I ran towards Rickmansworth on the Canal and I'd never done that before around where I live  - surprisingly.

This was quite special because I discovered a new route that runs past a lake where you can catch fish and a Marina which was new!

The lake is perfect and the weather was great and I ran in complete bliss without a care in the world. That doesn't happen enough, but funnily - only happens while I'm running. It's usually when I start walking that things start slowing down and you notice problems and its like rewinding like some old record.

Anyway a good run none-the-less!

I've also just made a record recovery from a cold that I caught on Friday: I slept from 19:00 on Friday(left work early...and live 1 hour away) and basically hibernated until today. And it looks like it's done the trick, and come Monday no one will know any differently. 

I also took Sudafed for my blocked nose, Flu/Cold Hot drinks for my headache (I like the Blackcurrent flavour meds from Boots - I'm a cheap date) and I drank plenty of fluids - which is what every Doctor on the planet scratches into their consultation desks I'm sure.

I'm taking a new courseafter work working with Python and how to model digital signals with it. I'm also going to extend my foray into gaming by learning more about computer game Architectures, which should help my understanding of designing real-time systems - which should see me up to the point at which I perish and disintegrate entirely.



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