US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden.
Pretty much what I said a week ago. The NSA has destroyed trust on the Internet for really nothing useful. From Bruce Schneier, an encryption specialist and fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society:
“By deliberately undermining online security in a short-sighted effort to eavesdrop, the NSA is undermining the very fabric of the internet.”
Because even if they can’t break something, everyone will think they can.
They have inserted vulnerabilities into commercial software designed to provide security, giving them a back door.
This destabilizes everything as this becomes an exploitable weakness for bad guys also.
So, no one will ever trust any commercial security solution. The NSA just killed an entire industry. No one can trust online banking transactons. With backdoors, the ability for people to access our accounts increases tremendously. And none of those ‘encrypted’ transactions are really secret. Amazon transactions are not secure.
There is a multi-trillion dollar industry severely damaged. Every company that collaborated with them – and it will comes out eventually – will be harmed. Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo are specifically named. The possible economic destruction is unimaginable.
And even if you can find a safe strong encryption system to use, the NSA can get around that by implanting collection software on computers that get the text ‘before’ it is encrypted.
They knew the problem that would occur if this got out and why they had to keep it secret (GCHQ is the British NSA):
“Some exploitable products are used by the general public; some exploitable weaknesses are well known eg possibility of recovering poorly chosen passwords,” it said. “Knowledge that GCHQ exploits these products and the scale of our capability would raise public awareness generating unwelcome publicity for us and our political masters.”
I think some of those political masters need to hauled in front of some very public committees.