Security: PGP to Android, NFC and beyond

Summary:Jon Callas has been at the centre of computer security since the olden days of the 1990s. On today's Patch Monday podcast he talks about the future. Cloud, smartphones, Android, the lot.

Jon Callas has been at the centre of computer security since the olden days of the 1990s. On today's Patch Monday podcast he talks about the future. Cloud, smartphones, Android, the lot.

Jon Callas
(Credit: Stilgherrian/ZDNet Australia)

Callas is now the chief technical officer at Entrust, a privately held company that does identity-based security work for clients ranging from the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security to the UK and Saudi governments.

He's been in the computer security game forever. He was principle software architect for mainframe giant DEC in the 1980s, with Apple for a couple of years in the 1990s and as director of software engineering at Bruce Schneier's company Counterpane.

He was also part of the 1990s crypto war over Phil Zimmerman's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) algorithm, one of the first civilian encryption systems created.

The emerging commercial information security industry needed its own cryptographic systems to protect data. But the US Government, and other governments around the world, had the Cold War view that encryption was a matter for the military, not civilians.

Times have changed. PGP and other civilian encryption systems are mature technology. All our email should be safely encrypted by now, but it's not. Why is that?

The podcast interview starts with Callas recounting those days and his thoughts on why the vast majority of our email is still in plain text. But it soon moves on to current and future matters, such as why your smartphone equipped with near-field communication (NFC) won't just be your wallet, but your key identity device.

Patch Monday also includes my usual look at some of last week's news headlines.

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone (02) 8011 3733.

Running time: 36 minutes, 37 seconds

Topics: Android, Cloud, Google, Security

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

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