Preventing Cyber Leaks: Responding to Washington Post Invitation to Leak

In the Watergate era government leaks were whispered in dark parking garages, but no more. Leakers are afraid of being recorded and implicated. It’s mostly cyber now: text and graphics, and crypto signatures. And in this realm leaks can also be prevented. Leak prevention cyber technology is largely under discussed for obvious reasons. Various tools have been developed following the Snowden embarrassment. Mostly they are based on subtle randomness-infused “stickers” that differentiate copies of ostensibly the same information. When the leaks surface, those ‘stickers’ identify the source. It’s a cat and mouse game: professional leakers try to spot these stickers, and scrub their leaks clean, as the leak preventers keep piling them up. Technology of secrets moves closer to the point where nothing is in plaintext except what meets the eye/ear and not a second longer. Ciphertext, in turn, can readily be dressed up with source identifying stickers, tipping the balance against the Washington Post, which five days into the new administration blazingly published an “invitation to leak” directed at Trump antagonists in the Federal Government.

Since my patent “Denial Cryptography” (US Patent #6,823,068) was published, the interest on the part of typical Washingtonians was remarkable. It’s the technology that allows you to encrypt a sensitive secret, and when confronted with the ciphertext, you pull out an innocent message and claim that this was the message encrypted into the ciphertext. And since the ciphertext decrypts to both messages you can not be implicated, at least not in a court of law.

We at BitMint developed the powerful technology of Tethered Money, which is readily applicable to tracking info-flow in complex cyber environments: passing of any information of any form is carried out against a cyber payment from the recipient to the sender. The counterflow of payment is necessary for the transaction. The message itself identifies what currency (tethered money) must be paid for it, and in what amount. The message is encrypted by its carrier, and decrypted only if paid for. The recipient must have been issued this currency to “buy” the information. BitMint cyber money carries in it its transactional history. Unlike bitcoin, BitMint is centralized so that a single trusted central authority can investigate the movement of confidential material.

Leak prevention cyber technology enables silent spotting of leakers, which is of great importance, allowing the spotters to (i) track all the recipients of the leak, and (ii) feed the leakers misleading information to achieve a strategic advantage.

Soon after fitting the streets of Washington, parking garages, and cafe entrances with CCTV, many un-forewarned leakers were spotted (including some dangerous spies). So leakers went cyber, and now spotters followed suit. What is next?