Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Deep Siren: It's the Laptop, Stupid

Back in November we introduced readers to the Deep Siren submarine comm's concept. Deep Siren brings submarines more fully into JC3I (joint Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) compatibility. This means improved interoperability for U.S. and friendly subs.

We noted then that if buoys were spotted they would certainly hint of a submarine within 150 miles (and much closer in shallower waters), which might make a boatload of bubbleheads sitting ducks, not to mention enable the enemy to recover one for close examination.

Scientific American recently described the Deep Siren (still with conspicuously cutt-off photos and shadowy detail) which hints strongly at why a buoy falling into enemy hands (before or after sinking at the end of 72 hours) is not a problem.

Public-key cryptography (asymmetric cryptography) is a form of cryptography in which a user has a pair of cryptographic keys - a public key and a private key. The private key would always be kept secret, while the public key may be widely distributed (as in a buoy). The keys are related mathematically, but the private key cannot be practically derived from the public key. A message encrypted with the public key can be decrypted only with the corresponding private key.

It would appear that Deep Siren buoys contain public keys, while the laptop (or whitebox)contains the private key algorithms. Maybe, maybe not.

Laptops seem to disappear daily. Do submarines ever misplace their laptops? See the first paragraph of this link for a reminder.



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