Apostille by MEA (Ministry of External Affairs), India [PART 1]

I finally received my documents with apostille seal on them.  In this post, all the procedures and necessary steps in details along with some tips that might help people in getting their documents apostilled in timely and non-frustrated way, is listed.

All the information would be split into 2 parts. Second post would soon follow.

This information is current as of April 2nd 2014 and applicable for educational documents ONLY.

Pre-attestation:

My documents originated from Maharashtra state, hence I needed state attestation prior to submitting documents for apostille. According to the stated information at MEA Official Site, one needs to get educational documents attested by Joint Secretory of Higher and Technical Education.

Unfortunately, the information listed on the MEA site is incomplete, as before the Joint Secretory can affix the documents, it must be stamped by the originating university’s registrar/controller of examination followed Notary by notarized person, ending with stamp from Home department of the state government. Thus the following steps apply:

I.              Get all the originals that you wish to aspotille, stamped from the relevant university (incase of higher education documents) or relevant examination board (incase of secondary or higher secondary education documents).

  • Be sure that the stamp is on original and the stamp states: ‘This documents has been verified and found OK’ OR ‘This documents has been checked and found authentic’ etc.
  • The stamp must also accompany signature of relevant examination authority like registrar/controller of examination etc.
  • In my case, the people at University refused to provide me such stamp claiming such stamp is not provided on originals or even on provisional certificate. First day was spend trying to convince them, but when all option failed, a direct application to Vice-Chancellor (VC) did wonders. The VC ordered the authorities to provide me with the stamps as he was pretty much aware of what exactly apostille is and its purpose! Overall, this process took 3 days.

II.            Get all the documents notarized by a notary person. You can search for notary person near you from this page. The notary must be of Rs. 25 stamp.

  •  It might happen that the Notary person would deny notarizing the original documents, as happened in my case. The solution to this problem would be to approach the Notary person with reference from someone who knows him and if it still doesn’t work then contact the Home Department of your state and have the person talk with them to clarify the issue.
  • This process should at-most take 1 hour, but due to reasons above it took me around  5 hours to convince and then for them to provide me with notary.

Next part would be about state attestation and final apostille procedures.

Intensive course: Quantum computing, logic and cognition

I have just submitted application for registration for Sixth International Summer School in Cognitive Sciences and Semantics. To be more specific, for the intensive course: Quantum computing, logic and cognition.

This school takes place at University of Latvia in Riga from 27 July to 29 July. And tuition fee is 100 Euro which will cover meals and coffee breaks.

For more information: http://www.lu.lv/isscss/

Life so far…

Its almost 3 months since my last entry but alas life has been giving way to many lemons as such I was busy making lemonades 😛

To summarize, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in couple of days after my last entry. End of the last year and beginning of the new one was occupied with consulting medical peoples which immediately followed surgery and the recovery after that.

Meanwhile, as results for degree were yet to declared I could not apply for a program I had in mind 😦 Have applied for other programs after results and await the outcomes, which will start rolling out in a couple of weeks.

Additionally, attended two workshops, first being for Image processing and other Statistics for Experimental researcher.

The most frustrating, annoying and time consuming task during these months was getting Apostille certificates on all my documents. I will post up a separate entry detailing all the tasks about getting the process done in India.

That’s all for now. Hopefully blogging will be back not normal now.

Removing RSA keys by acoustic cryptanalysis

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Image from: xkcd

The famous cryptographer Adi Shamir and his colleagues published a scientific paper titled “RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis

Many computers emit high frequency sound during operation, because of the vibrations in some electronic components (capacitors) caused due to microscopic variations in the voltage of the CPU during different workload on it. In theory, these sound vibrations can be analyzed in order to obtain information about the running application software, including cryptographic calculations. In 2004 year, Shamir and his colleagues have shown that different RSA keys cause different sound patterns, but back then it could not be understood how to extract individual bits keys. The main problem was that the sound equipment was unable to record sound with a high sampling frequency: 20 Khz only for conventional microphones and a few hundred kilohertz for ultrasonic microphones. This is many orders of magnitude low than several GHz, which is operated in modern computers.

Now they have demonstrated it with a software that extracts the full 4096-bit keys with GnuPG computers of various models after an hour of listening, if the computer all the time performs decryption. Conducted successful demonstration of such an attack using a smartphone, which lay 30 cm from the computer.

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When using the directional microphone can attack from a distance of up to 4 metres.

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If miniature hidden microphones are used, the maximum distance is about 1 meter. All equipment on the photos, in addition to microphones, can be hidden under a desk or in another discrete location.

At large scale, it seriously pose a threat and perhaps having organizational severs in fully shielded rooms would prevent it.

Photos from the paper.

The TrueCrypt Audit

Given the recent news about NSA’s ability to foil encryption soft wares, cryptographer Matthew Green and Kenneth White has started an initiative to examine the Truecrypt disk encryption tool.

Why does it matter?

Since NSA has been snooping in our data without us knowing, decryption of SSL connections and tampering with established standards to make them vulnerable, there needs to be an audit to verify that encryption softwares are truly as secure as they should be. For this very purpose there needs to be an extensive audit of softwares like Truecrypt which is used by many people, including me to a certain extent, for storing sensitive information.

How would the ‘audit’ work?

  • First step would be to resolve license status on the current (v. 7.1a) TrueCrypt source code (license v. 3.0 ) copyright & distribution, in order to create a verified, independent version control history repository (signed source and binary)
  • Perform and document repeatable, deterministic builds of TC 7.1a from source code for current major operating systems: Windows 7, Mac Mac OS X (Lion 10.7 and Mountain Lion 10.8), Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and 13.04, RedHat 6.4, CentOS 6.4, Debian 7.1, Fedora 19
  • Conduct a public cryptanalysis and security audit of version 7.1a

I wholly support this cause and hope everyone would help ensure we have trustworthy encryption available.

Contribute

To contribute you can check the FundFill site, or IndieGoGo site. [Note: Both sites accept Credit cards; Fundfill accepts Bitcoins and IndieGoGo accepts Paypal and eChecks]

Contributions are not limited to monetary only but if you’re an information security professional/expert/hobbyist then you can help identify bugs in the software.

Official Site

Support the effort to audit TrueCrypt

Exact quantum query algorithms

For the paper “Exact quantum query complexity of EXACT and THRESHOLD” by Andris Ambainis, Jānis Iraids & Juris Smotrovs; Maris Ozols, on his blog has posted an excellent analysis of this paper.

Mamuta memuāri

Andris Ambainis, Jānis Iraids, and Juris Smotrovs recently have obtained some interesting quantum query algorithms [AIS13]. In this blog post I will explain my understanding of their result.

Throughout the post I will consider a specific type of quantum query algorithms which I will refer to as MCQ algorithms (the origin of this name will become clear shortly). They have the following two defining features:

  • they are exact (i.e., find answer with certainty)
  • they measure after each query

Quantum effects in an MCQ algorithm can take place only for a very short time — during the query. After the query the state is measured and becomes classical. Thus, answers obtained from two different queries do not interfere quantumly. This is very similar to deterministic classical algorithms that also find answer with certainty and whose state is deterministic after each query.

Basics of quantum query complexity

Our goal is…

View original post 1,265 more words

meQuanics – The Quantum Computing Game

Researchers from National Institute of Informatics(NII) have published a Web applications to advance the study of the quantum computer in the form of a game ‘meQuanics‘; previously called as “Qubit – the game“. It is basically a puzzle game where the puzzles are represented as circuit of the quantum computer. Each puzzle in meQuanics represents a real quantum algorithm. Even users who do not possess any knowledge of quantum mechanics can contribute to optimizing quantum circuits by solving the puzzles in the game. The stages/levels are divided into different circuits including : Shor, Josza, Bell, Muller and more.

The goal in the game is operating a ship that is loaded with quantum computer. If user can reduce the size of the puzzle that shows a quantum circuit, the speed of the ship is improved.

meQuanics is a project initiated in the Quantum Information Science Theory group (QIST) led by Prof. Kae Nemoto at the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Simon Devitt and Prof. Nemoto conceived the idea during their ongoing research into large-scale quantum architecture design.

Currently meQuanics is provided as a Web application called trial version for now, but will be further developed as a fully integrated crowd sourced game for iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms.

Here are some screenshots :

EDIT: For those who are curious in Quantum Algorithms visit : The quantum zoo