Title text: Actual actual reality: nobody cares about his secrets. (Also, I would be hard-pressed to find that wrench for $5.)
The "crypto nerd" would be concerned with strongly encrypting data on their personal machine. This would conceivably come in handy when villains attempt to steal information on his computer. He imagines that due to his advanced encryption, they will be ultimately defeated. Randall suggests that in the real world, people with the desire to access this information would simply use torture to coerce the nerd to give them the password. Both panels also reference the amount of money used to access the data. In the first the villain is willing to use millions of dollars to construct a super computer, while in the second, he simply uses a $5 wrench. The comic effectively states, completely accurately, that the weakest part of computer security is not the computer, but the user.
RSA is a commonly used, public key encryption method. Current standards typically use 1024, 2048, and (more recently) 4096 bit keys. These encryption methods are not yet (feasibly) breakable. A 4096-bit key will remain unbreakable for the foreseeable future.
The title text pokes fun at typical users, who do not have data that would be worth anything to anyone but themselves. Therefore, it is unlikely that the above situation would ever occur. Additionally, the wrench used in the second panel is large, and presumably more than the $5 referenced by the thug.
- A Crypto nerd's imagination:
- [Cueball is holding a laptop, and his friend is examining it.]
- Cueball: His laptop's encrypted. Let's build a million-dollar cluster to crack it.
- Friend: No good! It's 4096-bit RSA!
- Cueball: Blast! Our evil plan is foiled!
- What would actually happen:
- [Cueball is holding a piece of paper and giving his friend a wrench.]
- Cueball: His laptop's encrypted. Drug him and hit him with this $5 wrench until he tells us the password.
- Friend : Got it.