03 August, 2005

sci.crypt problems

The cryptography newsgroup sci.crypt appears to be having a few problems. In Google Groups, the very useful archive of past messages has vanished, and on my ISP's news server, the group doesn't even appear in the list of groups. According to one post, "sci.crypt is under massive attack, there are lots of forged cancel messages." Sounds unpleasant, although quite how cancel messages work — and how they might be forged — remains a mystery to me!

But even when working normally, sci.crypt is afflicted with a fairly poor signal-to-noise ratio; the good stuff is often buried under the copious output of trolls, cranks and flamewar participants...typical Usenet, really. An alternative that's worth checking out is the cryptography forum on the Security Forums website. One of those PHP-powered bulletin-board things, it seems to have some useful discussions and helpful regulars willing to answer newbie questions (without biting their heads off à la sci.crypt).