Computer encryption - something new?

Professor Michael Rabin claims to have developed a new, unbreakable, encrypting algorithm based on taking “numbers out of the air” (my summarization of the method).

Isn’t it essentially the same method described by Tom Clancy in his novel “The Sum of All Fears” updated for the improvements in technology since then?

Anybody with half a background in cryptography knows this Rabin thing is a crock.

Basically his system is a one-time pad, using some central stream of random numbers to use as the pad. The sender and receiver agree on the start and stop time to get the key.

The system is provably unbreakable, but that’s based on the assumption that noone stores the stream of random numbers, which is the obvious thing that an intruder would do.

A total waste of newsprint, and a good example of why journalists shouldn’t write about things they don’t understand.

I am someone without half a background in cryptography, but it seemed to me that the Rabin approach was that storing the pad would require too much memory - basically putting the weight of cracking the code on storage techniques rather than computational techniques.

It seems to me that this approach is a way to build a much larger one time pad… person A and B meet agree that their next transmission will use the code consisting of the x digits (the large one time pad) following the first occurrence of pattern y (the small one time pad) in the stream. (Note - my knowledge of this technique doesn’t extend pass the NYTimes article so I don’t know what other sync. techniques have been proposed). To break this code then would require trying all keys generated by the stream between the original meeting and the first message, which given a long enough interval would be the same as cracking a one time pad of size x.

Which is all great but…

  1. Are ‘zipped’ pads very useful?
  2. Am I overlooking something?