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Security Implications of Cheaper Storage

An advert from Byte magazine dating from July 1980 proudly offers a 10MB hard disk drive for only US$3495. Accounting for the effects of inflation, that equates to approximately US$10,000 in today’s prices. If data storage prices had remained constant, this would mean that the 1GB flash drive in my pocket would cost in excess of US$1,000,000, with possibly a price premium for small size and portability. In fact, it cost me about US$10, evidence of the continuing drop in the price of electronic storage media in terms of price by stored byte. The amount of storage that can be acquired for a given cost has roughly doubled every 14 months since 1980 [1]. There is nothing to suggest that this trend won’t continue for the foreseeable future. We can look forward to larger and larger data storage devices at cheaper cost. But what are the implications of this trend for security professionals? Read More »

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Haystack, Diaspora, and Establishing Trust

Haystack was supposed to be a revolutionary tool in the cause of freedom. Billed as a sort of steganographic communications tool for censored Iranians, the software hurtled to popularity in the media. But last week, it seems to have fallen quickly out of favor. Code that was not made generally available was reviewed by Jacob Applebaum, who was frank in his assessment. Applebaum is well-positioned to offer an expert opinion here, as he works for the Tor Project, which has significant experience designing software to anonymize network traffic. In the wake of Haystack’s trouble, I’m reminded of how our fragile psychologies fall victim to trusting things that we should not.

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