Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

New Documents Reveal Which Encryption Tools the NSA Couldn’t Crack

A report in Der Spiegel has shed new light on the NSA’s encryption-breaking programs, and put a spotlight on the handful of programs that are still giving them trouble. The findings, based on leaked documents, were also presented onstage at the Chaos Computer Club Conference in Hamburg by researcher Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras, who took the findings as a call to action.

Reports describe “major problems” following users across the Tor network, or deciphering messages sent through heavily encrypted email providers like Zoho. The agency reported similar problems when deciphering files that had been encrypted with TrueCrypt, an open-source disk-encryption program that was discontinued earlier this year. PGP encryption tools and OTR chat encryption also caused major problems for the agency, causing entire messages to disappear from the system, leaving only the message: “No decrypt available for this PGP encrypted message.”

The report claims that the NSA has little difficulty in decoding VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections and that the NSA seems to have completely circumvented the HTTPS system, which is used to secure connections between websites and browsers. If the NSA can decode these “security” products, can other agencies, companies, and hackers?

If you prefer to keep your online activities private, you need to read the article by Russell Brandom in The Verge web site at

Categories: Online Privacy & Security

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