Sep 6 2013
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.
A GCHQ team has been working to develop ways into encrypted traffic on the “big four” service providers, named as Hotmail, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
This network diagram, from a GCHQ pilot program, shows how the agency proposed a system to identify encrypted traffic from its internet cable-tapping programs and decrypt what it could in near-real time.
The agencies insist that the ability to defeat encryption is vital to their core missions of counter-terrorism and foreign intelligence gathering.
But security experts accused them of attacking the internet itself and the privacy of all users. “Cryptography forms the basis for trust online,” said 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.” Classified briefings between the agencies celebrate their success at “defeating network security and privacy”.
Read more: The Guardian
If I think about it, what does this mean for the possibility that organized crime also has the opportunity to use these techniques. Then our whole eCommerce will crumble. Something to think about.