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Cryptography Pioneer: We Need Good Code

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cryptographer Whitfield Diffie

"All good code is expensive," and money is an obstacle to getting a full formal proof of code, cryptographer Whitfield Diffie told the Black Hat Europe conference.

Credit: World News Inc.

Whitfield Diffie, in the opening keynote of the recent Black Hat Europe conference, said a good plan to secure software is needed in the age of the Internet. Diffie, one of the pioneers of public-key cryptography, said that developers should know exactly what the purpose of an application will be. He said programmers need to write good code, but believes the state of the current programming languages is an obstacle.

Diffie also said more money should be spent on writing good code in order to secure applications. The rate of Internet technology development also is a hurdle, considering people often download software without thinking about security issues. Although browser sandboxes are created to confine code, Diffie said this way of working is not adequate for a lot of applications.

Diffie cited three challenges that need to be met, and the first is to learn good programming. The second challenge is to fix human interfaces so every Internet user can understand what is happening. The third challenge is to address liability issues. Diffie admits the third challenge is difficult, because correcting liability issues should go hand in hand with the technologies that system producers require.

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