For centuries, secrets were kept secure by writing them in scrambled text. The sender and the intended receiver agreed on a method to scramble (encrypt) and unscramble (decrypt), and a key was devised to guide the process at each end. Traditional encryption used symmetric keys which means the sender and receiver each needed the same secret key to lock and unlock the scrambled text.
When computers came along, encryption became less labor intensive and more powerful -- in seconds, drawings, movies, absolutely anything that could be expressed in bits and bytes could be secured. At first, symmetric keys continued as the order of the day.
PROBLEM! By the 1970s symmetric keys began to fall out of favor. They are a pain:
- You have to dream up a key that cannot be guessed by someone who wants to get at your secret.
- You have to encrypt in a way that no-one can observe, physically or electronically, what you are doing.
- You have to spell your key correctly.
- You have to get that key to the intended receiver(s) on time and securely. That's a BIG problem.
- You have to maintain security of the key at your end, and destroy it in a timely way.
- The intended recipient has to input the key correctly, decrypt free of observation, maintain security of the key at her end, and destroy the key in a timely way.
This is called the symmetric key management problem. It's the reason that complex asymmetric key systems have become the order of the day in computer-based cryptography.
What if the symmetric key problem were killed dead, vanquished, terminated, abolished forever?
What if symmetric keys were resurrected in their full power and simplicity?
What if the end user who knows nothing about encryption were to regain control over personal privacy and security? What if it comes down to the user choosing the recipient, pointing to a file, and clicking an Encrypt button? No keys in sight. No keys in mind. Period.
What might be the implications of 3584 bit invisible keys for post-quantum strength encryption? What if the United States could scale up its defenses far faster than China might build its cyber attacks, despite China's massive investment in quantum technology?
What might be the implications for Internet of Things security?
What if "lawful access" or "back doors" did nothing to weaken encryption?
I'm Doug Lowry of Marpex Inc., Steubenville, Ohio. I am a total failure as a retiree. My poor wife has me for better, for worse, and for lunch. My most expensive bad habit is that I keep churning out patents as sole inventor... four active patents as of 2020. Worse yet: though three of the patents are about encryption, I am not a cryptographer. I am just a problem solver.
Despite all that, just maybe, perhaps, I have solved the symmetric key management problem.
Please prove that I am wrong. If you can. Seriously, I would value your help.
Here are resources that you would need to teach this old fogey in Steubenville some humility. ("Humility: Such an exquisite virtue and, alas, so few years left in which to learn it." - A. Sanford)
- Read the ten pages in Chapter 4 No Keys, Please of my Full Speed Ahead and Damn the Qubits!: How Extreme Encryption Works available for $9.99 ebook and $15.99 print at Amazon.com.
- Read U.S. Patent No. 10,637,837 as published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- Try out the free Windows MarpxPrivacy program available at BuyExtremeEncryption.com. It's not been upgraded for a year now, but it makes the point. It's too "busy" in the set-up stage. That's why I have gone on to the next item.
- If you are in the United States and if you are not on the government's Export Consolidated Screening list, ask for a beta version of Extreme Encryption, a Windows program due for release this summer (2020). If you represent the Cleveland branch of Al Shabaab, don't bother asking. If you think you should have a short term license for free for ten persons, tell me why. Actually, there is no "free". The price to you is constructive feedback, together with your pricing suggestions if you think the product has value.
For collaboration: Stephen Feher at 740 317-4847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For schmooze and general information: John Scott, Esq. at 740 275-4505 or email@example.com.
For technical insights: Doug Lowry at firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please.
If you are into reading patents (problem solutions immersed in legalese), here's three more of mine, for what they are worth:
"God, it is you who have accomplished all that we have done." - Isaiah 26:12 *
* Don't imagine that you can detect an American political posture in the Isaiah quote. It is simply a recognition of reality and an expression of gratitude to the One who provides the creative insights for my problem solving. As for politics, after 28 years of U.S. citizenship I remain devoutly Canadian through each U.S. election year.
-- Doug Lowry