crutchy writes "When I was setting up my secure website I got really paranoid about SSL encryption, so I created a certificate using OpenSSL for SHA-512 encryption. I don't know much about SHA (except bits that I can remember from Wikipedia), but I figure that if you're going to go to the trouble (or expense) of setting up SSL, you may as well go for the best you can get, right? Also, what would be the minimum level of encryption required for, say, online banking? I've read about how SHA-1 was 'broken', but from what I can tell it still takes many hours. What is the practical risk to the real internet from this capability? Would a sort of rolling key be a possible next step, where each SSL-encrypted stream has its own private/public key pair generated on the fly, and things like passwords and bank account numbers were broken up and sent in multiple streams with different private/public key pairs? This would of course require more server grunt to generate these keys (or we could take a leaf from Google's book and just have separate server clusters designed solely for that job), but then if computing performance was a limiting factor, the threat to security of these hashes wouldn't be a problem in the first place."
"I guess with all security infrastructure, trust becomes a more important factor than technical abilities. Can I trust that my SSL provider hasn't been hacked (or at least snooped)? How do I know some disgruntled IT admin hasn't sold the private key of his company's root CA to the same organization that developed the conficker virus? It would certainly make for a more profitable payload. I've read some of Bruce Schneier's work (I'm subscribed to Cryptogram) and he tends to highlight the FUD that surrounds internet security, and I agree that there is a lot of FUD, but complete ignorance and blase attitude toward security can also be taken advantage of. Where is the middle ground?"