It goes without even saying that encryption is an advanced method of keeping intruders out of reach from your personal information online. Without the proper encryption, it is true that any message sent over using the Internet would be vulnerable and easily intercepted by others. Organizations such as NSA are meant to protect their nation online and one of the ways for achieving that is through the full and deep comprehension of encryption.
More than that, the NSA has been appointed to highlight vulnerabilities to US businesses, agencies and citizens when it comes to encryption. In this way, they will become more aware of what they ought to follow and what they ought to reject online.
The oxymoron about NSA according to leaks from Edward Snowden and the ongoing revelations as to the tactics used by the agency is that it serves two different tasks at once. On the one hand, there is the service outlined earlier about detecting vulnerabilities, informing US agencies and citizens and thus recommending a much more thoroughly protected web environment.
On the other hand, though, there is the task that has to do with the penetration to encrypted environments for collecting data and becoming more powerful with the info gathered. Some say that these two tasks cannot be combined, leaving something for the sake of something else.
Based on the leaks of Edward Snowden, there have been cases of penetrating the systems of Skype and VPN service providers. Accessing the sensitive data from these services has been crucial toward gaining valuable information about potential enemies of the US (this has always been their primary goal and the cornerstone to what they do). Der Spiegel has been prompt to reveal the leaks as to the penetrating acts of the NSA, although there is evidence that AES (which is short for Advanced Encrypt Standard) is still immune to these acts.
Along with AES security protocol, there are several other services on the Internet that the NSA has not unblocked yet to its advantage. The Internet users who choose Tor (The Onion Router) for redirecting their traffic have not yet become prey of NSA. Truecrypt and Off-The Record (OTR) are also impenetrable and thus pose threats to the NSA and its main goal.
If you take a moment and look closely at the services that have not been conquered by the agency, you will see that they have got something in common; indeed, they are open source. This means that everybody can access the programs and amend them, modify them partially and thus change their structure significantly. They are like living things, which constantly change and progress.
According to Edward Snowden, if you combine these programs and if you are prudent in what you do, the NSA will have great trouble tracking you down and gathering the data required on their behalf. Snowden has commented on the issue, explaining that such an action would result in: “near-total loss/lack of insight to target communications, presence”.
Although this can be a solution for now, it is safe to say that the NSA is going to try even harder to satisfy its need to collect data – in a hunt against those who pose a threat to the US and, to some extent, opposing to its consulting role to NIST (U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology).
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