- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
NSA wages secret war against encryption
Snowden documents show questionable deals to get ‘keys’ to systems
Question of the Day
Analysts note that, because of the open nature of the Internet, attack technologies tend to proliferate quickly, increasing the likelihood that criminals and others will get access to NSA cyberweapons.
Craig Mundie, a senior adviser to the CEO of Microsoft Corp., said that when a cyberweapon is used, “every bad guy in the world gets to watch.”
As a result, “this [cyberattack] capability escalates globally very rapidly,” he said.
The trust factor
In assuring the integrity of vital U.S. communications, the NSA relies on encryption and other technologies to make online communications secure. But as the government's premier surveillance agency, it is dedicated to defeating those same technologies.
The encryption revelations “highlight the problem of having information assurance and signals intelligence under the same roof,” said Kevin Bankston, senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit that advocates for Internet freedom.
The agency, Mr. Bankston notes, is supposed to play a key role in securing vital privately owned U.S. infrastructure from computer attack.
But as an Internet or telecommunications service provider, “you’d be crazy to ask the NSA for help now” fighting a virus or other computer attack, said Alan B. Davidson, who was head of public policy for Google Inc. for seven years until 2012.
“Government could and should have a role,” he said, “but it can’t if it’s not trusted.”
Many cryptologists believe the effort to subvert encryption and other means to achieve anonymity, privacy and security on the Internet also makes the U.S. — and the rest of the world — less safe online.
“Dependable computing is essential to our society. You have to be able to trust your computer,” Mr. Ylonen said.
Encryption is essential to the security of critical infrastructure such as major credit card companies and other financial services, he said. “Undermining them damages cybersecurity.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- New York Times reporter Carol Vogel accused of plagiarism
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- ISIL destroys key bridge leading to Baghdad; suicide truck bomb severed supply line
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world