Thursday, November 20, 2008

Public and private keys

One of the factors that contributed to the Crimean War was a struggle over control of Christianity's Holy Places - this between Roman Catholic and Easter Orthodox monks (and France and Russia's respective backing of the two factions).

Control over the various divine churches, shrines, and sepulchres had shifted back and forth over the years between the Catholic and the Orthodox churches. By the 1840s, it was the Orthodox Church that was dominant.

In 1850, Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III) of France decided to try and change the balance of  power and champion the Roman Catholics to control the Holy Places. Russia favoured the Orthodox Church. Caught in the middle (but not MITM) between the two superpowers was the Ottoman Empire that ruled over the Holy Land at the time.

Hoping to resolve the issue without upsetting either, the Ottoman Turks engaged in a wonderful bit of crypto bamboozlement. In February 1850 they sent a diplomatic note to the French, giving them two keys to the door of the Church of the Nativity. At the same time, they assured the Orthodox Church that the French keys would not fit the lock.

Sounds like a poorly implemented KDC.

No comments: