Intelligence Black Budget Reveals Major Focus By NSA On Cracking Encryption

from the how-safe-is-your-encryption dept

There are lots of people digging through the latest Ed Snowden leaks concerning the black budget for intelligence activities in the US trying to pick out various nuggets. Over at Wired, Kevin Poulsen has found one of the most interesting tidbits, highlighting how James Clapper cheers on the "groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptofgraphy and exploit internet traffic." In short, the NSA has gotten pretty good at breaking encrypted communications. Encryption is a strong protector, but can be broken -- and that's always been a part of the NSA's mission: code-breaking. But, there have long been questions about to what level the NSA can break today's popular encryption standards. What today's leaks show is that they're apparently pretty successful and are spending more and more money on it:
The pie chart above? That's $11 billion and it employes 35,000 people. Breaking your encryption. As Poulsen notes, James Bamford (who has followed the NSA closely for years) revealed last year that the NSA had recently made an "enormous breakthrough" in cryptanalysis, and this should raise some questions about just how secure various forms of encryption really are today.

Filed Under: black budget, encryption, nsa, nsa surveillance, spying, surveillance


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  1. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Aug 2013 @ 11:45pm

    Oh yes, please, tell me I'm wrong.

    Thanks, aldestrawk. While a tech-geek, my eyes still glaze over whenever they start talking about qubits.

    I'd really rather cryptanalysis of contemporary cyphers not exceed the rate at which we adopt and standardize new ones, and they seem very eager to decrypt everything with no concern as to who they target.

    This isn't going to go away, even if we completely defund the NSA: we end-users need strong encryption, and we need everyone to be in the habit of using it.

    It bring back the question of what is the enormous breakthrough.

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