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Why transparency and accountability are important in cyber security

November 21, 2023


Let me introduce you – if you’re not already familiar with them – to two individuals who never met, and whose lifetimes didn’t even overlap: Auguste Kerckhoffs and Claude Shannon.

Auguste Kerckhoffs was a 19th century Dutch-born cryptographer. In what became his eponymously titled Principle, he asserted that any cryptosystem should be secure, even if everything about the system, except the key, is public knowledge. Over 50 years later, the American mathematician Claude Shannon rephrased Kerckhoffs’ Principle into what is known as Shannon’s Maxim, stating that “one ought to design systems under the assumption that the enemy will immediately gain full familiarity with them”.

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