Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Build Apps 5x Faster
For Half the Cost
Enterprise Cloud Computing

On Force.com
Enterprise I.T.
DDoS Protection Powered By Verisign
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
What Enterprises Can Learn from NSA Encryption Cracking

What Enterprises Can Learn from NSA Encryption Cracking
By Jennifer LeClaire

Share
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Share on Google Plus

The new revelations about the NSA cracking most Internet encryption tools should be starting a conversation among enterprises around just what constitutes strong cryptography, and how to implement it securely. That includes avoiding vendor-locked encryption that is susceptible to NSA influence, said CloudLock's Kevin O'Brien.
 


With a little help from supercomputers, court orders, arm twisting, and technical prowess, the National Security Agency (NSA) can beat your encryption. So says a report from the New York Times.

Specifically, the paper reports that secret documents show that the NSA has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world.

"Two decades ago, officials grew concerned about the spread of strong encryption software like Pretty Good Privacy, designed by a programmer named Phil Zimmermann," Times' reporters Nicole Perlroth, Jeff Larson and Scott Shane wrote in the article they penned together. "The Clinton administration fought back by proposing the Clipper Chip, which would have effectively neutered digital encryption by ensuring that the NSA always had the key."

Focusing in Network Layer

For insight into the headlines, we turned to Kevin O'Brien, an enterprise solution architect at CloudLock. He told us the lesson here is that the network layer is the principle means of access for the NSA, through its backdoor arrangements to capture data as it flows through various providers' systems.

"In analyzing that data, much of which is encrypted on the wire, their approach is to exploit systemic vulnerabilities rather than attempting brute-force attacks on the encryption keys themselves," O'Brien said.

"Calling these approaches 'groundbreaking analytic capabilities' is a stretch: dictionary attacks on poorly chosen passwords, well-known vulnerabilities in insecure protocols, and other recognized vectors of encryption breaking are not new," he said. "The scale and scope of these attacks by the NSA are noteworthy, however."

Troubling Secret Arrangements

But here is what's more trouble to O'Brien: There appears to be secret arrangements with platform providers. In other words, the NSA is apparently exerting pressure for software companies to design in mechanisms through which the NSA's monitoring network can gain access to data, presumably post-decryption, removing the need to crack the algorithms being used.

"While the full scope of what constitutes 'groundbreaking' is not known, it's probably safe to assume that the NSA is taking advantages of these mechanisms -- likely built-in flaws in random number generators, or software backdoors that externalize data during decryption -- to simply bypass strong cryptography," O'Brien said.

If anything, he noted, this new set of revelations should be starting a conversation around just what constitutes strong cryptography, and how to implement it securely. As he sees it, part of that entails using open standard algorithms from reputable organizations, and avoiding vendor-locked encryption that is susceptible to NSA influence.

"Similarly, making it more difficult to be a target for network-level access is important, as it increases the cost and challenge for the NSA -- or any other interested party -- to obtain the encrypted stream of data in the first place," O'Brien said. "One of the first principles in network and signal security is that defense-in-depth works, the maxim holds true even in light of revealed weaknesses in one layer of -- what should be -- a sophisticated data privacy strategy."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Brandt Hardin:

Posted: 2013-09-06 @ 5:25pm PT
The dystopian fantasies of yesteryear are now a reality. We’ve allowed the coming of an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day. Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent. We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago. Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 Enterprise I.T.
1.   Windows 9 Preview Date: Sept. 30?
2.   UPS Stores Hit by Data Breach
3.   Target Data Breach Cost: $148 Million
4.   Data Stolen from U.S. Health Network
5.   Cisco Axes 6,000 Employees


advertisement
UPS Stores Hit by Data Breach
Biz must adopt better security measures.
Average Rating:
Target Data Breach Cost: $148 Million
Better customer data protection needed.
Average Rating:
Data Stolen from U.S. Health Network
Chinese hackers targeted hospital firm.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
UPS Stores in 24 States Hit by Data Breach
Big Brown has been breached. UPS said that about 105,000 customer transactions at 51 of its UPS Store locations in 24 states could have been compromised between January and August.
 
Cost of Target Data Breach: $148 Million Plus Loss of Trust
The now infamous Target data breach is still costing the company -- and its shareholders -- plenty. In fact, the retailing giant forecast the December 2013 incident cost shareholders $148 million.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 
Three New Lenovo PCs Aimed at Business Users
Businesses everywhere want computing solutions that do more for less money, and Lenovo has unveiled three new desktop PCs that offer solid computing at a budget-minded price.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Google Glass Adds Voice Access to Phone Contacts
The latest update to Google Glass will let users access their top 20 phone contacts with voice commands alone. A user can then choose a phone call, Google hangouts, e-mail or text messaging.
 
Samsung, B&N Target Amazon with Nook Tablet
They've seen the enemy and it is Amazon. So Samsung and Barnes & Noble are teaming up to combat their common foe with a 7-inch tablet that blends Samsung’s tech, Nook’s content and e-reader platform.
 
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.