## Monday, July 09, 2007

### Its Huffman coded!' does make sense!

On the post Math Terms used in Real Life- Good or Bad I mentioned the following:
On 24, season two, there was a line we can't break in, its been Huffman coded!' This makes no sense mathematically but it raises awareness of security issues.
I had thought that Huffman Codes are just used to compress data and had nothing to do with hiding information. I was wrong! Yakov Nekrich pointed out the following to me:
Actually Huffman codes can be difficult to break, see for instance this article: On breaking a Huffman code by Gillman, D.W. Mohtashemi, M. Rivest, R.L.
I'm curious- did the writers of 24 know this or not? I would guess no, and they just lucked out. Unless Hillman or Mohtashemi is moonlightening as a writer for 24 (I doubt Rivest needs the money.)