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
    Daniel Joseph Calvanese (profile), 29 Aug 2013 @ 5:46pm

    [SPOILERS]

    I wouldn't be surprised if the next leak says that some secret agency self-funds through drug trafficking. We already knew that, but for some reason... it's news!

    The NSA is spying on everyone, saving everything ever sent, and trying to break cryptography everywhere it is. This is news? No, this is history. We've been bullying countries for decades, getting into wars on false premises, obliterating our own middle class, hunting down a benign plant (which happens to be winning), blah blah prison industrial complex, and on and on and on. I mean, seriously, if someone blows up your neighbor for profit and then says 'trust us we will be good,' then explodes the next town over, and then the next country, do you really think they will show some restraint when you come under the microscope? Are these revelations really the kinds of things we should be surprised about?

    What I'm trying to say is this: I don't believe for a second that Edward Snowden is genuine. Look up the term 'limited hangout,' and then ask yourself what Snowden has revealed that we didn't already know. The only difference between pre-snowden and post-snowden worlds is that the establishment isn't even bothering with chicanery anymore. They are just out in the open with several contradictions at once, and the masses don't care.

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