Overheard in Portland

Scene: Busy Portland coffee shop, Sunday afternoon. VAL, a workaholic programmer transplanted from the Bay area, is typing intently on her laptop. Enter four middle-aged men, talking loudly. They choose the table next to VAL and engage in much good-natured (and loud and annoying) shuffling around and unpacking of laptops. Their leader finally calls them …

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Amusing cryptography apocrypha – the Rip van Winkle cipher

While writing an article on cryptographic hashing for programmers, I stumbled across the Rip Van Winkle Cipher in Applied Cryptography:James Massey and Ingemar Ingemarsson proposed the Rip Van Winkle cipher, so named because the receiver has to receive 2^n bits of ciphertext before attempting decryption. The algorithm, illustrated in Figure 17.10, is simple to implement, …

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