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Noise keeps spooks out of the loop (Developer claims it's better than quantum cryptography)
NewScientist ^ | 5/23/07 | D. Jason Palmer

Posted on 05/26/2007 6:26:09 PM PDT by LibWhacker

SPYING is big business, and avoiding being spied on an even bigger one. So imagine if someone came up with a simple, cheap way of encrypting messages that is almost impossible to hack into?

American computer engineer Laszlo Kish at Texas A&M University in College Station claims to have done just that. He says the thermal properties of a simple wire can be exploited to create a secure communications channel, one that outperforms quantum cryptography keys.

His cipher device, which he first proposed in 2005, exploits a property called thermal noise. Thermal noise is generated by the natural agitation of electrons within a conductor, which happens regardless of any voltage passed through it. But it does change depending on the conductor's resistance.

Kish and his collaborators at the University of Szeged in Hungary say this can be used to securely pass information, or an encryption key, down any wire, including a telephone line or network cable. In their device, both the sender Alice and the receiver Bob have an identical pair of resistors, one producing high resistance, the other low resistance. The higher the total resistance on the line, the greater the thermal noise.

Both Alice and Bob randomly choose which resistor to use. A quarter of the time they will both choose the high resistor, producing a lot of noise on the line, while a quarter of the time they will both choose the low resistor, producing little noise. If either detect a high or a low amount of noise in the line, they ignore any communication.

Half the time, however, they will choose differently, producing an intermediate level of thermal noise, and it is now that a message can be sent. If Bob turns on his high resistor, and records an intermediate level of noise, he instantly knows that Alice has chosen her low resistor, in essence sending a bit of information such as 1 or 0. Kish's cipher does this many times, sending a random series of 1s and 0s that can form the basis of an encryption key, the researchers say (http://www.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0612153).

That message is also secure. For a start, as Kish notes, it takes an "educated eavesdropper" to even realise information is being sent when there seems to be just low-level noise on the line. If they do try to eavesdrop, they can only tell a message is being sent, not what it is, because it's impossible to tell whether Alice has a high or low resistor turned on, and whether the bit of information is a 1 or a 0. What's more, eavesdropping on the line will naturally alter the level of thermal noise, so Alice and Bob will know that someone is listening in.

Kish and his team have now successfully built a device that can send a secure message down a wire 2000 kilometres long, much further than the best quantum key distribution (QKD) devices tried so far. Tests show a signal sent via Kish's device is received with 99.98 per cent accuracy, and that a maximum of just 0.19 per cent of the bits sent are vulnerable to eavesdropping. The error rate is down to the inherent resistance of the wire, and choosing a larger wire in future models should help reduce it further. "A secure message can be sent down a wire 2000 kilometres long"

However, this level of security already beats QKD. What's more, the system works with fixed lines, rather than the optical fibres used to carry photons of light at the heart of quantum encryption devices. It is also more robust, as QKD devices are vulnerable to corruption by dust, heat and vibration. It is also much cheaper. "I guess it's around a hundred dollars, at most," Kish says.

"This is a system that should be taken seriously," says security specialist Bruce Schneier, who founded network security firm BT Counterpane. He says he was seduced by the simplicity of the idea when it was first proposed by Kish, and now wants to see independent tests of the working model. "I desperately want someone to analyse it," he says. "Assuming it works, it's way better than quantum."


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Technical
KEYWORDS: cipher; cryptography; noise; quantum
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1 posted on 05/26/2007 6:26:10 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
Rut Roh!

Z Group won't like this.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

2 posted on 05/26/2007 6:29:02 PM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: LibWhacker
I'm working in Taiwan right now, and I'm going to get my resident visa tomorrow. I've worked in Taiwan before, but one thing they've added to the visa is now I must go down personally and give a thumb print.

Whoop dee doo, so low tech, but it guarantees I'm me. I couldn't help thinking how easy it is to secure ID's, and enforce immigration rules, and security rules, with low-to-no tech methods.

From this guy's name and his collaboration with a university in Hungary, I'm assuming he's originally Hungarian. That would make sense, a practical outsider seeing the powerful potential of simple processes, while we claim nothing can be secured without spending $10 billion dollars!
3 posted on 05/26/2007 6:49:08 PM PDT by starbase (Understanding Written Propaganda (click "starbase" to learn 22 manipulating tricks!!))
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To: All

Amateurs. I just Planck my quantum foam through the pre-determined aperture and after delivery - it dissappears on its own. Nothing could be simpler. Hackproof.


4 posted on 05/26/2007 6:52:14 PM PDT by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: ShadowAce

Interesting.


5 posted on 05/26/2007 6:57:12 PM PDT by KoRn (Just Say NO ....To Liberal Republicans - FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!)
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To: LibWhacker

Bookmarked


6 posted on 05/26/2007 7:01:40 PM PDT by chaosagent (Remember, no matter how you slice it, forbidden fruit still tastes the sweetest!)
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To: LibWhacker

Interesting.

The article doesn’t mention if this will work over a routed network. If it does, once authentication is performed, it seems to me to be extremely secure.

I don’t see how it would work over a router though if the packets are secured by noise.


7 posted on 05/26/2007 7:10:28 PM PDT by American_Centurion (No, I don't trust the government to automatically do the right thing.)
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To: LibWhacker

**** Secure Bookmark ****



8 posted on 05/26/2007 7:12:27 PM PDT by NonLinear (This is something almost unknown within Washington. It's called leadership.)
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To: BipolarBob

Hackresistant...


9 posted on 05/26/2007 7:13:22 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: LibWhacker

This seems to have a fundamental problem to me. It seems to depend on two users sharing a common direct hardwired connection. That way they both see the same thermal noise on the line. But suppose each connects to the other through a series of intermediate stops, such as you see on the internet. Then you simply dont see the same line noise and this system would seem to fall apart. What am I missing?


10 posted on 05/26/2007 7:14:22 PM PDT by pepsi_junkie (Often wrong, but never in doubt!)
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To: NonLinear
Oh? Not as secure as you think!

Tag! you're it...

11 posted on 05/26/2007 7:15:15 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: LibWhacker

I thought this was an article about housing discrimination in Chicago.


12 posted on 05/26/2007 7:15:32 PM PDT by Krankor (kROGER)
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To: starbase
It's a good idea to start writing software to deploy to servers / workstations that can leverage this super encryption technology. This is outstanding research -- an impressive combination of computer science and electronic engineering. Very impressive.

The pure randomness of electronic noise patterns would be orders of magnitude more difficult to crack than 128bit encryption is today. Check it out -- why don't we just encrypt all TCP/IP packets on all overseas routed fiber multiplexes - it would prevent terrorists in countries outside the encrypted networks from easily abusing the open internet to plan and execute attack missions.

13 posted on 05/26/2007 7:18:14 PM PDT by gcraig
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To: LibWhacker; ShadowAce

BTTT


14 posted on 05/26/2007 7:18:25 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own risk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: starbase

Instead of transmitting anything, it sounds like he’s exploiting a physical property of the line to communicate a passkey. (?)

Still, a signal is a signal. I could wave across the street to my neighbor while on the telephone, or tell him to dial the initial call that way. Nobody tapping our telephone line would hear us waving.


15 posted on 05/26/2007 7:20:27 PM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: Alas Babylon!; American_Centurion; An.American.Expatriate; ASA.Ranger; ASA Vet; Atigun; Ax; ...
MI Ping

ATTN: SIGINT SECTION

16 posted on 05/26/2007 7:22:15 PM PDT by ASA Vet (W)
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To: null and void
Keeping us spooks out? is more difficult than that.
17 posted on 05/26/2007 7:27:08 PM PDT by ASA Vet (W)
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To: LibWhacker

Very good post. I enjoyed that. thanks.


18 posted on 05/26/2007 7:34:49 PM PDT by DanielLongo (Don't tread on me)
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To: Krankor

LOL


19 posted on 05/26/2007 7:39:21 PM PDT by toddlintown (Six bullets and Lennon goes down. Yet not one hit Yoko. Discuss.)
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To: null and void
Sure.
Nice catch!

But of course, since you know the secret handshake,you're clearly authorized to see the secure bookmark!

How long do you think it will be untill folks start wonder about the almost meaningless 'posts' that surround the secret ones?

20 posted on 05/26/2007 8:26:50 PM PDT by NonLinear (This is something almost unknown within Washington. It's called leadership.)
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To: LibWhacker

The National Security Agency loves it when “others” develop these unbreakable transmission methods. Sorta like warm caramel on top of really good vanilla ice cream, w/nuts.

Yeah, we probably have no chance of breaking into that in the next decade.


21 posted on 05/26/2007 8:27:23 PM PDT by Rembrandt (We would have won Viet Nam w/o Dim interference.)
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To: ASA Vet
It's perhaps not so much the spooks I worry about as the devils in the details. Or was that møsqitøes in the møsques?
22 posted on 05/26/2007 8:30:34 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: ASA Vet
Pong.
Is MI what I think it is? Catchy theme song, and self-destructing tapes?

Can you add me to your ping list?

BTW, I recently got the pilot for the original series. It included Wally Cox as a safe cracker...


23 posted on 05/26/2007 8:32:10 PM PDT by NonLinear (This is something almost unknown within Washington. It's called leadership.)
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To: null and void
OK,
NOW I know the
RULEs!!
24 posted on 05/26/2007 8:45:07 PM PDT by NonLinear (This is something almost unknown within Washington. It's called leadership.)
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To: pepsi_junkie
What am I missing?

Not much.

YAWWWWWWN. FYI, this is not the first time a thing like this came up. I invented something kinda of this nature in early 1980s(!) but when I showed it to several big end users and hence potential customers they all agreed it was interesting and probably would work but so what. Nobody would buy it. Despite these many years of trying and failing to find someone who would put their money where their mouth was, if the cash was offered now I could still build the thing pretty fast and cheap. But I ain't holding my breath.

P.S. Could someone please post that "oh not this same old s**t again" picture.

25 posted on 05/26/2007 8:48:01 PM PDT by nevergiveup (There is the right way, the wrong way, and my way. The government always seeks the middle.)
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To: nevergiveup
Ummmm, remember your screen name...

Years ago I had essentially exactly this idea:

I couldn't think of a suitable way to commercialize it, but looking back, I think I should have pursued it anyway.

I mean, even if I never made a dime, working with the product testers would have been worth it...

26 posted on 05/26/2007 9:12:10 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: null and void

They have this now. I saw it on FR. Ipod audio vibrator just like your post suggests.


27 posted on 05/26/2007 9:16:43 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: loungitude

Yep.

But, but, but, it’s just an orange.

Yeah? Taste it...


28 posted on 05/26/2007 9:22:57 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: nevergiveup

29 posted on 05/26/2007 9:27:23 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: null and void

I don’t get it. Help me out.


30 posted on 05/26/2007 9:29:27 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: null and void

I don’t get it. Help me out.


31 posted on 05/26/2007 9:29:27 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: loungitude
It’s the punchline to a very long old story.

It starts with a guy who develops an orange flavored feminine hygiene spray...

32 posted on 05/26/2007 9:32:22 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: null and void

Both Alice and Bob randomly choose which resistor to use. A quarter of the time they will both choose the high resistor, producing a lot of noise on the line, while a quarter of the time they will both choose the low resistor, producing little noise. If either detect a high or a low amount of noise in the line, they ignore any communication.

::::::::::::::::::::
Bob and Alice each have two cans of spray....


33 posted on 05/26/2007 9:37:24 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: LibWhacker
Gig 'Em Texas A&M Aggies.

Trajan88; TAMU Class of '88; Law Hall (may it R.I.P.) Ramp 9 Mule; f.u.p.!

34 posted on 05/26/2007 9:53:17 PM PDT by Trajan88 (www.bullittclub.com)
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To: American_Centurion
I don’t see how it would work over a router though if the packets are secured by noise.

It won't. It relies on hardwired connections.

It's not securing packets, it's securing the bits that make up the packets.

35 posted on 05/26/2007 10:20:04 PM PDT by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: Krankor

LOL


36 posted on 05/26/2007 10:23:40 PM PDT by Wheee The People (Go FRed)
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To: Krankor

I thought this was an article about housing discrimination in Chicago.
::::::::::::::::::::::::
Pure hilarity!


37 posted on 05/26/2007 10:35:09 PM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: loungitude
Ah! Alice and Bob agree “in the clear” (on an open unencrypted line) that Alice will be sending bob a message at 10:00 AM

Alice wants to send Bob the following number: 666.

666 is 1001 1001 1001

At 10:00 AM Alice places a 1R resistor (High value) resistor on the line. Bob flips a coin and places a 1R on the line. Line reads high noise. Both Alice and Bob know that both bit were high. So does any casual listener. Everybody records a 1.

Alice steps to her next bit 0R Bob flips a coin and gets a 1R. The noise is at an intermediate level. Bob knows his was a 1R therefore he rights down a 0. A casual listener doesn’t know either Bob’s or Alice’s resistor He can’t determine the value of Alice’s bit.

Alice steps to her next bit 0R Bob flips a coin and gets a 0R. The noise is at an low level. Everyone knows that was supposed to be a 0.

See table, Col 1, Alice’s message, Col 2, Bob’s guess, Col 3 line noise, Col 4, Bob’s knows, Col 5, Casual listener knows:

A BLBC
MGNKK
1 1 1 1 1
0 1 ? 0 ?
0 0 0 0 0
1 0 ? 1 ?

1 1 1 1 1
0 1 ? 0 ?
0 1 ? 0 ?
1 0 ? 1 ?

1 0 ? 1 ?
0 1 ? 0 ?
0 0 0 0 0
1 0 ? 1 ?

So Bob sees:
1001 1001 1001 or 666

The casual listener sees:
1?0? 1??? ??0? or nada, as in nada thing...

On the average, the casual listener would lose 50% of the bits. In this example he lost 2/3 of the data. I did it table with literal con flips and that’s what I got...

38 posted on 05/26/2007 10:36:30 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: null and void

Ummm, I meant either 999 or 0110 0110 0110.

*sigh*


39 posted on 05/26/2007 10:39:24 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: null and void

Just for phun and more coin flips...

A BLBC
MGNKK
0 0 0 0 0
1 0 ? 1 ?
1 0 ? 1 ?
0 1 ? 0 ?

0 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 1
0 1 ? 0 ?

0 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1
1 0 ? 1 ?
0 0 0 0 0

Bob gets;
0110 0110 0110 or 666.

Casual listener gets:
0??? 011? 01?0 or nothing again...

7/12ths garbage this time.

Of course, if Bob sends the same message to Carl, and Carl send the same message to David, and David sends it on to Edward, the casual listener will have a pretty good handle on exactly what was said.


40 posted on 05/26/2007 10:52:17 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: null and void

HALF garbage this time.

That does it, I’m going to bed!


41 posted on 05/26/2007 10:54:20 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: null and void

I demand a recount!

5/12ths..


42 posted on 05/26/2007 10:55:23 PM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: LibWhacker
Four words...."man-in-the-middle".

'nuff said. :)

43 posted on 05/27/2007 12:41:41 AM PDT by The Duke (I have met the enemy, and he is named 'Apathy'!)
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: null and void

Thanks!


45 posted on 05/27/2007 7:30:11 AM PDT by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: loungitude
You’re welcome. I spend too much of my life answering the wrong question...
46 posted on 05/27/2007 9:07:05 AM PDT by null and void (Carter calling Bush worst president in U.S. history is like Michael Moore calling Ann Coulter fat...)
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To: The Duke

Regarding “Man in the Middle”...

But, Kish/Mingesz/Gingl claim in their paper (http://www.arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0612/0612153.pdf) that the scheme is immune to Man in the Middle Attack - though, they also point out that they have not yet shown that experimentally due to the high cost of the equipment required.

Best that I can tell, the reason is that the electrical characteristics change if you tap into the line - if you intercept bits and retransmit, there is no way to get the noise levels close enough not to be detected.

I don’t know enough about transmission lines etc to agree or not. I can see that something like that would probably introduce all sorts of usual reflections, change in VSWR and all that - but I especially am not sure what that would mean with, essentially, random high-frequency shot noise bouncing about.

Anyone have any ideas what they mean by the statement: “...because the KLJN can be installed as a computer card, similarly to Ethernet network cards...” I assume that they mean that an Ethernet card can be between the computer and the KLJN — i.e., they can implement the Ethernet protocol on their enciphered link - not that the enciphered link can communicate over a LAN...

Does that make sense??


47 posted on 05/27/2007 11:30:31 AM PDT by Frobenius
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To: BipolarBob
I just Planck my quantum foam through the pre-determined aperture and after delivery - it dissappears on its own

In other words, "this tape will self destruct in five seconds..."


48 posted on 05/27/2007 12:43:56 PM PDT by lowbridge ("The mainstream media IS the Democratic Party." - Rush Limbaugh)
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To: NonLinear

But will you know it if I type Ctrl-A?


49 posted on 05/27/2007 12:59:22 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: null and void
Even more important: Alice and Bob, if they have truly random random number generators, share random tables of binary without anybody eavesdropping in. Tables, which can then be used as One-Time Pads for real communication.

All in all, an interesting idea which IMHO warrants further investigation.

And no, if this works, NSA will not be particularly delighted as it will make their job much more difficult. If it doesn't work (but everybody else thinks it does), they will be extremely happy (but quietly) as it will enable them to decrypt anyone using this system.
50 posted on 05/27/2007 1:05:54 PM PDT by MirrorField (Just an opinion from atheist, minarchist and small-l libertarian.)
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