Monday, August 08, 2005

Duncan's a Computer Whiz, Expert? MSM attempts to make Duncan seem larger than life.

Update 8/10/05:
I've heard from the author of this much-publicized- sensationalized- article which was picked up by the AP and used by dozens of MSM outlets as the hook-of-the-day: Dave Forster of In-Forum.com wrote the original article with the following headline: Secret files may be record of past crimes, which quickly exploded, carrying the new headlines mentioned in my earlier entry.

Now, Dave Forster (and in general, the whole of In-Forum.com publications) has been one of the few media voices whom I personally lend credence to concerning the Joe Duncan case. This blog references many- if not all- of his articles regarding Duncan and his life, and the Groene murders/kidnappings.

The "Duncan= Computer Whiz/Expert/Genius" headlines came not from Forster or In-Forum.com, but from other MSM outlets which CHOSE to re-title and repackage Mr. Forster's work in order to make it more sensational.

- - -

I've read many recent news articles from the MSM referring to Duncan as a "computer whiz" or "computer expert" based on the discovery of his "encrypted journals," and the apparent inability of authorities to "crack" the encryption.

To wit:
KARE11.com's Police: Duncan a computer whiz and Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Authorities say man accused of Idaho killings is computer expert (picked up from the AP) :
"At least one compact disc and a part of his hard drive were encrypted well enough that one of the region's top computer forensic specialists could not access it, The Forum reported Monday.
[...]

"Without a doubt the most challenging system I've looked at," [
Detective Jess] Schoon said of Duncan's encryption.

Most of the seized discs and computer files were accessible and revealed nothing significant, he said. But he could not get at the hidden data.

"Nobody that I know of has the ability to crack that encryption," Schoon said.
[...]
While basic encryption is not necessarily difficult to apply, Schoon said, Duncan appeared to be "very, very highly skilled" on the computer."


Among others.

I'm sure there are plenty of Cellar Dwellers and generally computer-savvy readers busting a gut over those headlines. As if the authorities don't know the score? The MainStream Media is selectively editing quotes by the authorities concerning Duncan's "electronic journal encryption" in attempts to create... what? World's Scariest Monster Du Jour? Yes, that's it. Be VERY wary of computer-savvy folk out there. You never know who they may be molesting and murdering when your back is turned!

Well here's a newsflash for the MSM: my 6-year old can encrypt his "journals" as easily as Duncan encrypted his, but I'm sure nobody is interested in reading about the proper Lego pieces to use, quantity as well as placement thereof, in order to construct a Lego fortress...

PGP is, at the least, a virtually "uncrackable" cryptography program which has been available free, via the internet, for more than ten years. Philip Zimmermann, the creator of PGP, has been targeted, hounded and persecuted by the government for creating this software and making it available to the unwashed masses. The "computer-whizzes-to-be," so to speak.

Recall, from his blog entry dated 5/13/05, Duncan wrote, "I wish I could be more honest about my feelings, but those demons made sure I'd never be able to do that. I might not know if it matters, but just in case, I am working on an encrypted journal that is hundreds of times more frank than this blog could ever be (that's why I keep it encrypted). I figure in 30 years or more we will have the technology to easily crack the encryption (currently very un-crackable, PGP) and then the world will know who I really was, and what I really did, and what I really thought." (emphasis added)

Pssst! Here's a tip on how to become a "computer whiz" or "expert" as outlined in the MSM re: Duncan's ecrypted journal. Pay close attention, because this is very, very difficult for mere mortals to comprehend:

1. Go here to download the PGP software.

2. Follow the simple instructions detailed in the software description and installation. If you are 6 or younger, you may need help from your mommy with the big words. Otherwise, you know the score.

3. Congratulations! Consume a Hoodsie, or a Guinness stout and maybe some Belgian chocolates, maybe a spliff or two... Hey, whatever ices your puck. Bottom line: you are now considered a "computer whiz" and "computer expert" by MSM standards.

Let me know when you feel like a scary monster, public enemy #1, for having this knowledge, eh?





14 comments:

Anonymous said...

So has his been encrypted?

JoJoFox said...

If we know how he encrypted his files and they have his hard drives......why can't they UN encrypt the files...?
Surely Jet is not the Einstein of Cyberspace..!

Can someone enlighten me a bit here...?

Capt. Fantastic said...

JoJo, read about PGP at the links I provided.

Zimmermann was not persecuted by the government for no reason. If decryption were as easy as just having the hard drive, there would not be such concern about it.

And there would not be such cool novels as "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson, either. ;)

bloo said...

lol... funny commentary on Duncan the "Computer Whiz". I too, laughed when I read those headlines.

Looking through all of Duncan's websites, I'd say he was an average computer user. He photoshopped a few pictures for his website and one fo his niece's website. Big deal. There's nothing unique about the design of his websites or his blog. Perhaps cross dressing and uploading the pictures to the internet is the latest thing in computer technology?

Anyone capable of reading directions can encrypt their files.

New reporters... bah!
:insert rolling eye smiley here:

Capt. Fantastic said...

Bloo, he didn't even do a good job PhotoShopping the fake boobs and fingernails on himself in the Jazzi-Jet swimsuit images. :D

Steve Huff said...

I am in complete agreement with you on this... and I also think there are methods to crack PGP out there. But he didn't have to be a genius to use it. He was smarter than your average serial killer, probably, but not like they are portraying. Keep on rockin'.

Anonymous said...

I am a CIS grad. A partner and I wrote a paper about 'Blowfish' (originally developed by Bruce Schneier) and wrote our own encryption method. This is a far better method of encryption than 'PGP.'

Have you ever heard of 'pi'? The number that translates into infinity? Turn it into hexadecimals.

Take you 'text' and divide into left and right halves. (Your 'encryption' program does this automatically. I am trying to give a simple view of what happens.) Actually, I cannot give a more simple view while looking at my paper aimed for CIS majors. Several algorithms are needed and the 'key' /password and text are hopelessly entwined by pi in hexadecimals.

What LE needs to do is to give us an 'extract' of the text to 'back translate' to find the 'key'/password.
The 'key' is the only way to open the rest of the 'file.'

Maybe by giving the public a chance to 'random search' possible 'keys', maybe it can be cracked sooner than '30' years'.

-GoTell


Earlier PGP methods proved 'crackable.' The government wanted you to feel secure while it can read your mail. Later methods were harder to 'crack.' I do not know which method jet used if he indeed used PGP.

Our Blowfish encryption is superior. So, if it is PGP, LE maybe willing to give us (websleuths/bloggers/whitehats) a shot at least to a small part of the encrypted file. Decrypting is the issue here. Not pride/credit.

-------------------------

Blessings to all who crossed the wrong side of Duncan's road.

XOOXOX

Anonymous said...

I need to add a comment here.

Even if you have a short key/password, it may be used up to 'x' number of times to fill the 'capacity' of the key/password length in the algorithm.

Example: 'jetd63' could be used over and over in the encryption over 21 times to 'fill in' the algorithm encrypting the text if it is a '128 key'.

That is why we need 'something' to 'play' with.

-GoTell.

Anonymous said...

OK, went to bed, but still 'itching' over this, so, back again.

Most block ciphers are 64 to 128 bits in size.

How did LE know Duncan used a 128 bit block?

If they knew that much, they must know which method Duncan used!

All the more reason for LE to give us a 'sample' for white caps to take a shot if their lead detecive could not crack it. I said all along it was on his HD or CD.

The final road is the truth. Not the route taken to get there.

-GoTell.

Neantaeus said...

You can be sure that the FBI will be able to decode Duncan's journals. And you can be equally certain that none of us will ever hear a thing about it.

If the FBI let it be known definitively that they knew how to decrypt PGP (or any other widely distributed encryption software) it would send a signal to terrorists and other slime who use it to switch.

Of course this is only my inexpert opinion, conjecture really. I've used PGP, but am no cryptogrpher for sure.

bloo said...

Do you suppose that the FBI has even tried the numbers "287565" to crack his encrypted files? After all, "these numbers tell tales".

CountryGirl said...

Great observation bloo!

Anonymous said...

I say they should offer him a plea bargain for the key/password... Maybe something like... Only 6 Death Penalty Sentences in exchange for access to these files

Anonymous said...

tHIS IS VERY SERIOUS AND THE REGIONAL FBI COULD NOT DECRPYT IT
AND IF SOMEONE OPENS IT, SURPRISE TO JET AND THE NATION WILL NOW GETA FULL CONFESSION TO MANY MURDERS AND CHILD HORROR STORIES.

SO INSTEAD OF SPENDING MANY THOUSANDS INVESTIGATING HERE AND THERE, WHY HOLD A $100,000
CHALLENGE...GERALDO AT FOX COULD DO IT AND MICROSOFT BE ITS SPONSER AND PUT UP THE CASH.GET DECRYTORS FROM ALL OVER TO SIGN UP TO DECRYPT DUNCAN AND BE AHERO PLUS WIN $100k. THE FBI COULD WORK WITH FOX AND DECIDE ON THE TOP TEN AND THAN LET EACH BEGIN TO TRY TO DECRYPT IT. THE 9 OTHERS GET $1K FOR BEINGA FINALIST. NO 'WINNER" NO PRIZE AND THE SEARCH CONTINUES. I BET THEY WOULD HAVE A LOT OF EXPERTS THAT WOULD SHOCK THEM THAT ARE FAR MORE
SHARPER THAN A KID IN PRISON.
THIS WOULD SOLVE THIS!