NSA defeats many online encryption efforts
The agency has been working since 2000 to circumvent encryption through a variety of methods, a news report says
IDG News Service - The U.S. National Security Agency has been circumventing many online encryption efforts through a combination of supercomputers, back doors built into technology products, court orders and other efforts, according to a new report from The New York Times and ProPublica.
The NSA has cracked much of the encryption that protects global commerce, banking, trade secrets and medical records, according to the report, which cites documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The NSA has invested billions of dollars in efforts to defeat encryption since 2000, according to the report.
In addition to deploying supercomputers to crack encryption, the NSA has worked with U.S. and foreign technology companies to build entry points into their products, the report said. The agency spends more than $250 million a year on its Sigint Enabling Project, which engages the IT industry in an effort to get companies to make their commercial products "exploitable," the report said, citing documents from Snowden.
The report did not name companies that have cooperated with the NSA.
Representatives of the NSA and the U.S. Office of Director of National Intelligence didn't immediately respond to a request for comments on the news report.
In addition, British intelligence agency GCHQ, likely working with the NSA, has been attempting to hack into the protected traffic at Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft's Hotmail, the report said. GCHQ had developed "new access opportunities" into Google's system, according to a document from Snowden.
The NSA has also been working for years to weaken international encryption standards, the report said. NSA memos appear to confirm that the agency planted vulnerabilities in an encryption standard adopted in 2006 by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, the report said.
The NSA sees the ability to decrypt information a vital capacity, and the U.S. competes with China, Russia and other countries in that area, according to the documents referenced in the report.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A Survival Guide for Data in the Wild All corporate data used to reside in the data center. Safe and sound behind the corporate firewall. But now, employees have multiple devices...
- Transforming Security: Designing a State-of-the-Art Extended Team The information security mission is no longer about implementing and operating controls.
- The Big Data Security Analytics Era Is Here New security risks and old security challenges often overwhelm legacy security controls and analytical tools.
- Building an Intelligence-Driven Security Operations Center The openness of today's networks and the growing sophistication of advanced threats make it almost impossible to prevent cyber attacks and intrusions.
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!