Pie in the sky explained, nearly.

4

January 24, 2013 by Doug Coutts

mega bloks

Like pretty much everyone in the world save a few small tribes in the Amazon (which Gareth Morgan is looking at doing once he’s got the cat issue licked), we are intrigued by Kim Dotcom’s latest attempt at world domination and/or pissing off the FBI.

It sounds complicated, this Mega thing, until you start to look into it.  Simply put, it means instead of storing your porn and illegal mp3s or your own computer, or your kids’ X-Box, you can store it on a chip somewhere else, somewhere far, far away.  And no one will be able to look at it but you.

The beauty of it is not only will you be the only one who can access your data (pronounced dadder,  Dotcom-speak for porn and illegal movies), but you’ll be the only one who can access it anywhere in the world.  And that means for just the price of a round trip to Botswana, you can sit in an internet café and watch that pirated copy of the Hobbit and no one will be any the wiser.  Especially if they’ve read the book.

And you’ll be able to share it with anyone in the world, which then means you won’t be the only one who can access it any more, but apparently that doesn’t defeat the whole purpose.  No, this will truly liberate the internet.  Just like the internet has liberated music and films, so we’ve come full circle.  Or we’re going round in them.

What’s harder to understand is how it all works.  The idea is you upload your bootlegged movie, sorry, data to Mega and they put it in a safe place that only they know about.  But before they do it, they give the files a good shake to jumble all the bits and bytes up.  Then when everyone else has gone to bed and you want to view your data, the Mega guys shake it in reverse and everything falls back into place.

At least I think that’s how it works.  This is what they say happens:

For bulk transfers, we use the AES-128 algorithm. Post-download integrity checking is done through a chunked variation of CCM, which is less efficient than OCB, but not encumbered by patents.
For establishing shared secrets between users and dropping files into your inbox, we use RSA-2048 (the key length was chosen as middle grounds between “too insecure” and “too slow”). All encryption, decryption and key generation is implemented in Javascript, which limits throughput to a few MB/s and causes significant CPU load. We are looking forward to the implementation of the proposed HTML5 WebCrypto API in all major browsers, which will eliminate this bottleneck.
Javascript’s random number generator is augmented by a mouse/keyboard timing-driven RC4 entropy pool.

So not only do they shake your data, but there’s a mouse swimming around in a pool to throw the authorities off the scent.  Fiendishly clever!

They are very keen to point out that you control the shaking – they have no idea of how many shakes up, or down or to the left have been done, which sort of stuffs up the allegory.  Pity, as it was going so well.

Mega is going very well too.  Millions of New Zealanders have already signed up, anxious to store their data somewhere other than where it’s easily accessible.  Of course, you’ll still have to keep it handy, just in case.  Although Mega says there’s little chance of an FBI drone scoring a direct hit on their secret bunkers, they still advise clients to have a couple of backups locked away in a drawer.  Or someone else’s drawer.  You can never be too careful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Pie in the sky explained, nearly.

  1. Pter says:

    Now now, it’s not nice to pick on the Hobbit… or the films he’s made recently.

  2. aliaspooryorick says:

    Dear Messers Coutts and Dotcom,
    I am very easily confused, you really don’t have to work this hard.

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