Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

Business

'insurance.aes256', Julian Assange's contingency plan

©

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2010-12-15

A mammoth 1.39 GB computer file dubbed “insurance.aes256” contains explosive revelations which WikiLeaks has promised to release to the public should charges be pressed against its founder Julian Assange.

Even as crowds gathered outside a British court on Tuesday for the first hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a document circulating on the Internet appeared to be attracting ever more attention. A huge computer file known as “insurance.aes256”, available on Internet torrent sites since July, has seemingly offered the WikiLeaks founder a new lifeline. The so-called “life-insurance” file contains yet more political and diplomatic secrets which some say will prevent powerful opponents of the whistle-blowing website from threatening its founder.

If any harm befalls either the organisation or its extremely media-exposed representative Assange, WikiLeaks has promised to release the document’s decryption key to the public. During a recent interview to the American news channel Democracy Now!, Assange himself stressed the importance of the document. “It might be worth ensuring that important parts of history do not disappear,” he said.

“insurance.aes256” weighs in at a hefty 1.39 GB. “This is huge if it contains only text. So there is a chance that the document also contains images and other multimedia elements,” said Laurent Heslaut, director of security technology within the American anti-virus software firm Symantec.

3x1051 years

The contents of this “Sword of Damocles” being held above the heads of Assange’s powerful detractors have inevitably been the subject of much speculation. The possibility of uncovering secrets surrounding Guantanamo Bay or serious revelations regarding the background of the global economic crisis are the most frequently hypothesized. Most probable of all is that “insurance.aes256” contains the previously undisclosed identities of people WikiLeaks has so far sought to protect.

Yet to read the document one will need to get past an encryption key of 256 bits, which many believe uses the AES encryption algorithm also used, quite ironically, by NASA for documents classified as “Top Secret”.

The code is currently considered one of the most secure forms of data protection available. “It would take, a priori, 3x1051 years for an army of computers to decipher this code,” says Renaud Bidou, technical director of the French technology security firm Deny All. Unless, like the lottery, in one huge stroke of luck you find the winning number…
 

Date created : 2010-12-15

  • WIKILEAKS

    For WikiLeaks founder Assange, a life of secrets and shadows

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)