With Wikileaks' Assange Arrested, What Happens To Insurance.aes256?

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Now that Wikileaks’ Julian Assange is currently in police custody, curiosity turns towards the file insurance.aes256. The file, which first appeared online last July, is so named because it’s said to represent “insurance” against any possible disruption in Wikileaks’ work. Considering the site has been fighting tool and nail to stay online for the past few days, and considering that the site’s editor-in-chief has just been snagged, it’s time to wonder: what’s in there, and when can we expect to have access to it?

Insurance.aes256 (here’s a BitTorrent magnet link) is encrypted with 256-bit level AES encryption. Well, so the name would have us believe, as even that’s not fully clear just yet. Fox News says that not even the Defense Department has been able to crack the encryption despite having been available for several months now.

You have to assume the DoD’s best and brightest, not to mention its beefiest computers, have been trying non-stop to crack the file. Good luck with that.

There’s no indication of what could be contained within insurance.aes256, but that hasn’t stopped people from guessing. The Sunday Times in the UK surmises that it could contain the entire Wikileaks document archive, which includes files not yet published about topics such as Guantanamo Bay and Bank of America. (Remember: Wikileaks existed long before its sudden burst into the spotlight this year.) The Guardian, also in the UK, believes the file could contain unredacted cables related to the recent “cablegate” release.

Then there’s the possibility that insurance.aes256 could be nothing but garbage data.

In any event, the encryption key has still not been released, and at this point hazarding a guess as to what could be contained within the file is just that: a guess.

Wikileaks’ Twitter account is still going strong (how long until that is shut down?), however, so that should probably put to bed the notion that Assange was in charge of the account, or that, more bizarrely, Assange is Wikileaks, and therefore Wikileaks is now dead. It’s far too late for that.

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