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  1. Author: Whitson Gordon Posted Today 7:00 AM Keep on hearing about encryption but still not sure what it involves? Heres a basic introductionto encryption, when you should use it, and how to set it up. What Is Encryption? Encryption is a method of protecting data from people you dont want to see it. For example, when you use your credit card on Amazon, your computer encrypts that information so that others cant steal your personal data as it is being transferred. Similarly, if you have a file on your computer you want to keep secret only for yourself, you can encrypt it so that no one can open that file without the password. Its useful for everything from sending sensitive information to securing your email, keeping your cloud storage safe, and even hiding your entire operating system. Encryption, at its core, is similar to those decoder rings you played with when you were younger. You have a message, you encode it using a secret cipher, and only other people with the cipher can read it. Anyone else just sees gibberish. Obviously, this is an incredibly simplified explanation. The encryption in your computer is far more complex and there are different types of encryption that use multiple decoder rings but thats the basic idea. There are also different levels of security when it comes to encryption. Some types, for example, are more secure but take longer to decode. Few, if any, encryption methods are 100 per cent foolproof. If you want a more detailed explainer on how encryption works, check out this article from the How-To Geek and this article from HowStuffWorks. They explain a few different kinds of encryption and how they keep you safe online. Should I Encrypt My Files? The short answer: yes. Things can be stolen even if you dont share your computer. All someone needs is a few minutes in front of the keyboard to retrieve anything they want. A login password wont protect you, either breaking into a password-protected computer is insanely easy. So should you encrypt your sensitive files? Yes. But theres a bit more to it than that. You have two big choices when it comes to encryption: do you just encrypt the important files , or do you encrypt your entire drive? Each has pros and cons: ◾ Encrypting a select group of files such as the ones that contain personal information keeps them safe without any extra complications. However, if someone had access to your computer, they could still break into it and view any non-encrypted files, access your browser, install malware, and so on. ◾ Encrypting your entire drive makes it difficult for anyone to access any of your data or even boot up your computer without your password. However, if you experience any corruption on your drive, its much less likely that youll be able to retrieve that data. We generally recommend against average users encrypting their entire drive. Unless you have sensitive files all over your computer, or have other reasons for encrypting the entire thing, its easier to encrypt the sensitive files and call it a day. Full disk encryption is more secure, but can also much more problematic if you dont put in the work to keep everything backed up safely (and then encrypt those backups as well). That said, well show you how to do both in this guide. Well talk a bit more about each situation in their individual sections below. How To Encrypt Individual Files Or Folders With TrueCrypt If you need to keep just a few files safe from prying eyes, you can encrypt them with the free, open-source, cross-platform TrueCrypt. These steps should work on Windows, Mac and Linux. Note that if youre encrypting files to send them over the internet, you can also use this previously mentioned 7-Zip method. Creating a TrueCrypt volume for your files is very easy just follow TrueCrypts step-by-step wizard. Heres an overview of what it entails: 1. Start TrueCrypt and click the Create Volume button. 2. On the first screen of the wizard, select Create an encrypted file container. 3. On the next screen, choose Standard TrueCrypt Volume. If you want to create a hidden volume (to further obscure your data), read more about how it works here. We wont cover it in this tutorial. 4. On the Volume Location screen, click the Select File button and navigate to the folder in which you want to store your encrypted files. Do not select an existing file as this will delete it instead, navigate to the folder, type the desired name of your encrypted volume in the File Name box, and click Save. Well add files to this TrueCrypt volume later. 5. Choose your encryption algorithm on the next screen. AES should be fine for most users 6. Choose the size of your volume. Make sure it has enough space to fit all your files, and any files you may want to add to it later. 7. Choose a password to protect your files. Remember, the stronger your password, the safer your files will be. Make sure you remember your password, because if you lose it, your data will be inaccessible. 8. On the next screen, follow the instructions and move your mouse around randomly for a bit. This will ensure TrueCrypt generates a strong, random key. Then click Next to continue with the wizard. 9. Choose a filesystem for your encrypted volume. If youre storing files over 4GB inside, youll need to choose NTFS. Click Format to create the volume. To mount your volume, open up TrueCrypt and click the Select File button. Navigate to the file you just created. Then, select an open drive letter from the list and click the Mount button. Type in your password when prompted, and when youre done, your encrypted volume should show up in Windows Explorer, as if it were a separate drive. You can drag files to it, move them around, or delete them just like you would any other folder. When youre done working with it, just head back into TrueCrypt, select it from the list, and click Dismount. Your files should stay safely hidden away. How To Encrypt Your Entire Hard Drive On Windows With TrueCrypt The process of encrypting your entire hard drive isnt that different from encrypting individual files and folders (though TrueCrypt can only do this in Windows). Once again, the process is quite simple thanks to TrueCrypts step-by-step wizard. Heres what you need to do: 1. Start TrueCrypt and click the Create Volume button. 2. On the first screen of the wizard, select Encrypt the System Partition or Entire System Drive. 3. On the next screen, choose Normal. If you want to create a hidden operating system (to further obscure your data), read more about how it works here. We wont cover it in this tutorial. 4. Next, choose Encrypt the Whole Drive. This should work for most people, though if you have other partitions on your drive that you dont want encrypted, you may want to choose the first option instead. 5. When asked to encrypt the Host Protected Area, we recommend choosing No, unless you have a specific reason to do this. 6. If you only have one operating system installed on your computer, choose Single-Boot at this next prompt. If you arent sure, youre probably using a single-boot setup. If youre dual booting (say, with Linux or another version of Windows), choose Multi-Boot. 7. Choose your encryption algorithm on the next screen. AES should be fine for most users. 8. Choose a password to protect your files. Remember, the stronger your password, the safer your files will be. Make sure you remember your password, because if you lose it, your computer will be unbootable and your data will be lost. 9. On the next screen, follow the instructions and move your mouse around randomly for a bit. This will ensure TrueCrypt generates a strong, random key. Then click Next to continue with the wizard. 10. Next, select a location for a TrueCrypt Rescue Disk, which will help you save your data if the bootloader, master key, or other important data gets corrupted. Give it a file name and save it. 11. Once youve saved the file (in ISO format), youll have the option to burn it to a CD or DVD. Do this now (using either Windows built-in tools or a program like ImgBurn) before you continue. Click Next when youve finished burning the disc (and keep the disc in a safe place!). 12. Choose a Wipe Mode for your data. None is the fastest, but if you want to ensure that your data is as secure as possible, choose one of the other options (3- or 7-pass is probably fine). 13. Run the System Encryption Pretest on the next screen. Youll need to restart your computer and enter your new TrueCrypt password when prompted. 14. If the test runs successfully, youll see the option to begin encrypting your drive. Let it run it will probably take a while (especially if you have a large drive). Thats it. From now on, when you start up your computer, youll need to enter your TrueCrypt password before you boot into Windows. Make sure you dont forget your password or lose that recovery disc if you do and something goes wrong, you wont be able to boot into your computer and youll lose all your data. How To Encrypt Your Entire Hard Drive On OS X With FileVault OS X has a built-in encryption tool called FileVault, and its incredibly easy to set up. All you need to do is: 1. Head to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault. 2. Click the lock in the bottom left-hand corner of the window to make changes. Type in your password when prompted. 3. Click the Turn on FileVault button. Copy down your recovery key and store it in a safe place (preferably not on your computer somewhere physically secure like a safe). We dont recommend storing it with Apple. 4. Restart your computer when prompted. When you boot back up, OS X will begin encrypting your disk, and your computer will probably run a little slowly while it goes. It could take an hour or more, depending on how big your hard drive is. Alternative Tools TrueCrypt has long been one of the most popular encryption tools out there, and its one of the easiest to set up. It isnt the only option, however. As we mentioned earlier, 7-Zip is also a great way to encrypt your files, as is BitLocker, which comes with the Pro version of Windows 8 (or the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows 7). Check out our Hive Five on encryption tools for a comparison of some of the more popular alternatives if you want to try them out. Final Words As we mentioned at the beginning, encryption is not 100 per cent foolproof, but its better than leaving your files out in the open. Remember what encryption cant do it cant secure your drive if its infected with malware, if you leave it turned on in public spaces, or if youre using a weak password. Even if you put your computer to sleep, its possible an experienced hacker could recover sensitive data from your computers RAM. Dont let encryption lure you into a false sense of security: its just one layer of the security process. Lastly, remember that this is just a beginners guide to what encryption is and how it works. Theres a lot more beyond basic encryption of files and folders, like transferring encrypted data to your friends, securing your email with PGP, encrypting your Dropbox, or creating a decoy operating system to further obscure your information. Now that you know the very basics, dont be afraid to branch out and learn more about encryption and what you can do to secure your data. Good luck! Author: Whitson Gordon Posted Today 7:00 AM Source
  2. Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional 5.96 Encryption Software - File encryption, Secure File Transfer, Batch File Encryption and Encrypted Backups - Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional - award-winning easy-to-use file encryption software for Windows. Features Easy to use for novices. It integrates nicely with Windows Explorer and made easy for novices.Strong and proven algorithms to protect your sensitive documents (20 encryption algorithms).File and/or text encryption.Symmetric and asymmetric algorithms (17 data destruction algorithms).Secure file deletion.Using USB flash drives to store [en]-decryption keys.Creating encrypted self-extracting file to send it as email attachement. No additional software is required on other end!Complete command line support to fully automate [en]-decryption tasks.We have been developing and improving Advanced Encryption Package for many years (the first version was released in 1998). In these years we've implemented hundreds of improvements suggested by thousands of our customers from around the world (aep pro is used in 80 countries) and now. AEP v5.96 new behaviour of the context menu. Different behaviour of the context menu when SHIFT key is holded.. Website: http://www.aeppro.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Crack Size: 7,38 Mb.
  3. Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional 5.95 Encryption Software - File encryption, Secure File Transfer, Batch File Encryption and Encrypted Backups - Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional - award-winning easy-to-use file encryption software for Windows. Features Easy to use for novices. It integrates nicely with Windows Explorer and made easy for novices.Strong and proven algorithms to protect your sensitive documents (20 encryption algorithms).File and/or text encryption.Symmetric and asymmetric algorithms (17 data destruction algorithms).Secure file deletion.Using USB flash drives to store [en]-decryption keys.Creating encrypted self-extracting file to send it as email attachement. No additional software is required on other end!Complete command line support to fully automate [en]-decryption tasks.We have been developing and improving Advanced Encryption Package for many years (the first version was released in 1998). In these years we've implemented hundreds of improvements suggested by thousands of our customers from around the world (aep pro is used in 80 countries) and now. AEP v5.95 improved user interface. Improved file encryption window.Website: http://www.aeppro.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Crack Size: 7,35 Mb.
  4. Read about five most popular and chosen by community as the most secure/trusted VPN Service Providers: Private Internet AccessTorGuardIPVanishDIYCyberGhostThere is a vote as well in order to determine the winner. Source
  5. Microsoft confirmed today it will support HTTPS Strict Transport Protocol (HSTS) in Internet Explorer 12, bringing its browser in line with other major vendors in its support of the protocol. Browsers supporting HSTS force any sessions sent over HTTP to be sent instead over HTTPS, encrypting communication to and from a website. According to OWASP, HSTS protects users from a number of threats, in particular man-in-the-middle attacks by not only forcing encrypted sessions, but also stopping attackers who use invalid digital certificates. The protocol denies users the ability to override invalid certificate messages. HSTS also protects users from HTTPS websites that also may include HTTP links or serve content unencrypted. IE 12 is expected to be released this year; IE 11 was introduced in October 2013 and is the default browser in Windows 8.1. IE 12’s support of HSTS puts it on an even keel with other browsers, some such as Chrome and Firefox have supported the protocol since 2011. Apple added HSTS support on Safari upon the release of Mavericks 10.9. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Encrypt the Web report, a few leading technology companies already support HSTS on their websites, including Dropbox, Foursquare, SpiderOak and Twitter. Others such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Yahoo also plan to do so this year; Google too for select domains. EFF staff technologist Jeremy Gillula said today that developers either are unaware of the availability of HSTS, or have been stymied by incomplete support in browsers. “This is changing though: we noticed that Apple quietly added HSTS support to Safari in OS X 10.9,” Gillula said. “For now, Internet Explorer doesn’t support HSTS—which means that there’s basically no such thing as a secure website in IE.” Until that happens, much of the security burden falls on the user to either rely on a browser that supports HSTS, or use something such as the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension. “For now all a savvy user can do is to always carefully examine the address of the site you’ve loaded, and verify that it’s secure by checking to make sure it has “https” in the front and is the precise address you want to visit,” Gillula said. “Unfortunately this assumes that you know ahead of time (and remember) whether or not a site should be secure, and are meticulous with every website you visit.” Secure protocols such as HTTPS, HSTS and Perfect Forward Secrecy have been given greater priority now that the depths of NSA and government surveillance have been exposed. Experts urge developers to consider encryption technologies such as these a minimum standard for web-based services such as email. Just this week, Yahoo caught up to many of its contemporaries when it announced that it had encrypted traffic moving between its data centers; Snowden documents revealed that the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ were able to tap into overseas fiber optic cables and copy data as it moved to the company’s data centers. Yahoo also announced its intention to support HSTS, Perfect Forward Secrecy and Certificate Transparency this year. Source
  6. The respected encryption and network security company RSA Security (now a division of EMC), whose respect was already on stack after revelation by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA created a flawed random number generation system (Dual_EC_DRBG), Dual Elliptic Curve, which the most trusted security provider company RSA used in its Bsafe security tool. Until then RSA wasn't able to come up from this aspersion, a new document by Snowden revealed that RSA received $10 million from NSA for keeping Encryption Weak. Researchers from Johns Hopkins, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois have claimed that the RSA adopted one more NSA recommended tool called Extended Random extension for secure websites, which actually helps NSA to crack a version of the Dual Elliptic Curve software tens of thousands of times faster, Reuters reported. Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC_DRBG) is a cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator, that was developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) cryptographers and later adopted by RSA in its BSafe security kit, which also adopted Dual Elliptic Curve. "While Extended Random was not widely adopted, the new research sheds light on how the NSA extended the reach of its surveillance under cover of advising companies on protection." RSA intently denying the allegations, said it had not intentionally weakened security on any product. Extended Random had been removed from RSA’s protection software in the last six months. "We could have been more skeptical of NSA's intentions," RSA Chief Technologist Sam Curry told Reuters. "We trusted them because they are charged with security for the U.S. government and U.S. critical infrastructure." Yet, it has not been disclosed that RSA has also taken any money from NSA for adding this second backdoor or not. But, the Story once again raised some disturbing questions in everyone’s mind about the relationship between the US intelligence agency NSA and the security provider company RSA. Source
  7. Data's encrypted in your browser before it even gets to the server. The cleverest clogs of MIT have squared up to the NSA after claiming to have developed a PRISM-proof encryption system. Dubbed Mylar, the spook-bane allows devs to build web applications which are protected from attackers, even if they have access to the server that stores the software. Its creators were upset that anyone who had access to a server, be they "an attacker, a curious administrator, or a government", were able to run riot through the data stored on there. “You don’t notice any difference, but your data gets encrypted using your password inside your browser before it goes to the server,” said Raluca Popa, the MIT researcher who designed Mylar. “If the government asks the company for your data, the server doesn’t have the ability to give unencrypted data.” Mylar sits atop the web service building tool Meteor and only decrypts data once it is viewed in trusted users' browsers. According to an abstract of a paper on Mylar, which will be presented at the NSDI conference next week, Mylar allows the server to perform keyword searches of encrypted documents, even if the data is all encrypted using different keys. Keys and data can also be shared securely, even if an "active adversary" is getting busy in the servers. The Mylar system is very efficient, it creators claimed, requiring only a few lines of extra code. The abstract said: First, Mylar allows the server to perform keyword search over encrypted documents, even if the documents are encrypted with different keys. Second, Mylar allows users to share keys and encrypted data securely in the presence of an active adversary. Finally, Mylar ensures that client-side application code is authentic, even if the server is malicious. Results with a prototype of Mylar built on top of the Meteor framework are promising: porting 6 applications required changing just 36 lines of code on average, and the performance overheads are modest, amounting to a 17% throughput loss and a 50 ms latency increase for sending a message in a chat application. Although El Reg wouldn't bet on the nerds of MIT in a straight fight against spooks, it's nice to see they are trying. So who do you think will win in this battle of the boffins? Source
  8. GiliSoft Full Disk Encryption 3.3.1 GiliSoft Full Disk Encryption's offers encryption of all disk partitions, including the system partition.Through password protecting a disk, disk partition or operating system launch, the program disables any unauthorized reading/writing activity on your disk or PC, restricts access and launch of specific disks and files. It provides automatic security for all information on endpoint hard drives, including user data, operating system files and temporary and erased files. For maximum data protection, multi-factor pre-boot authentication ensures user identity, while encryption prevents data loss from theft. Features and Benefits Website: http://www.gilisoft.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista /7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Keygen Size: 3,39 Mb
  9. Jetico BestCrypt Volume Encryption 3.60.21 Multilingual | 6.34 MB BestCrypt Volume Encryption – This is the first program that opens a new class of product that encrypts disk volumes (Disk Volume Encryption). With this software users can encrypt the disk partitions as usual, and modern disk volumes located on different disks, such as overlapping of volumes (Spanned volumes), Striped (Striped), Mirror (Mirrored) and RAID-5 volume. BestCrypt Volume Encryption is easy to install and easy to use. With BestCrypt Volume Encryption can encrypt volumes of users and access them without keeping in mind all the information about their location on disk. New features in version 3: Home Page : http://www.jetico.com/encryption-bestcrypt-volume-encryption/ http://www.tusfiles.net/8z3wkn36trve mirror http://180upload.com/jx2jypn60k26
  10. N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption (The New York Times)The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. Associated PressThis undated photo released by the United States government shows the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. The agency 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, the documents show.Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way. The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, restricted to those cleared for a highly classified program code-named Bullrun, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth. The agency, according to the documents and interviews with industry officials, deployed custom-built, superfast computers to break codes, and began collaborating with technology companies in the United States and abroad to build entry points into their products. The documents do not identify which companies have participated. The N.S.A. hacked into target computers to snare messages before they were encrypted. In some cases, companies say they were coerced by the government into handing over their master encryption keys or building in a back door. And the agency used its influence as the world’s most experienced code maker to covertly introduce weaknesses into the encryption standards followed by hardware and software developers around the world. “For the past decade, N.S.A. has led an aggressive, multipronged effort to break widely used Internet encryption technologies,” said a 2010 memo describing a briefing about N.S.A. accomplishments for employees of its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. “Cryptanalytic capabilities are now coming online. Vast amounts of encrypted Internet data which have up till now been discarded are now exploitable.” When the British analysts, who often work side by side with N.S.A. officers, were first told about the program, another memo said, “those not already briefed were gobsmacked!” An intelligence budget document makes clear that the effort is still going strong. “We are investing in groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptography and exploit Internet traffic,” the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., wrote in his budget request for the current year. In recent months, the documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden have described the N.S.A.’s reach in scooping up vast amounts of communications around the world. The encryption documents now show, in striking detail, how the agency works to ensure that it is actually able to read the information it collects. The agency’s success in defeating many of the privacy protections offered by encryption does not change the rules that prohibit the deliberate targeting of Americans’ e-mails or phone calls without a warrant. But it shows that the agency, which was sharply rebuked by a federal judge in 2011 for violating the rules and misleading the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, cannot necessarily be restrained by privacy technology. N.S.A. rules permit the agency to store any encrypted communication, domestic or foreign, for as long as the agency is trying to decrypt it or analyze its technical features. The N.S.A., which has specialized in code-breaking since its creation in 1952, sees that task as essential to its mission. If it cannot decipher the messages of terrorists, foreign spies and other adversaries, the United States will be at serious risk, agency officials say. Just in recent weeks, the Obama administration has called on the intelligence agencies for details of communications by leaders of Al Qaeda about a terrorist plot and of Syrian officials’ messages about the chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. If such communications can be hidden by unbreakable encryption, N.S.A. officials say, the agency cannot do its work. But some experts say the N.S.A.’s campaign to bypass and weaken communications security may have serious unintended consequences. They say the agency is working at cross-purposes with its other major mission, apart from eavesdropping: ensuring the security of American communications. Some of the agency’s most intensive efforts have focused on the encryption in universal use in the United States, including Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL; virtual private networks, or VPNs; and the protection used on fourth-generation, or 4G, smartphones. Many Americans, often without realizing it, rely on such protection every time they send an e-mail, buy something online, consult with colleagues via their company’s computer network, or use a phone or a tablet on a 4G network. For at least three years, one document says, GCHQ, almost certainly in collaboration with the N.S.A., has been looking for ways into protected traffic of popular Internet companies: Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft’s Hotmail. By 2012, GCHQ had developed “new access opportunities” into Google’s systems, according to the document. (Google denied giving any government access and said it had no evidence its systems had been breached). “The risk is that when you build a back door into systems, you’re not the only one to exploit it,” said Matthew D. Green, a cryptography researcher at Johns Hopkins University. “Those back doors could work against U.S. communications, too.” Paul Kocher, a leading cryptographer who helped design the SSL protocol, recalled how the N.S.A. lost the heated national debate in the 1990s about inserting into all encryption a government back door called the Clipper Chip. “And they went and did it anyway, without telling anyone,” Mr. Kocher said. He said he understood the agency’s mission but was concerned about the danger of allowing it unbridled access to private information. “The intelligence community has worried about ‘going dark’ forever, but today they are conducting instant, total invasion of privacy with limited effort,” he said. “This is the golden age of spying.” A Vital Capability The documents are among more than 50,000 shared by The Guardian with The New York Times and ProPublica, the nonprofit news organization. They focus on GCHQ but include thousands from or about the N.S.A. Intelligence officials asked The Times and ProPublica not to publish this article, saying it might prompt foreign targets to switch to new forms of encryption or communications that would be harder to collect or read. The news organizations removed some specific facts but decided to publish the article because of the value of a public debate about government actions that weaken the most powerful privacy tools. The files show that the agency is still stymied by some encryption, as Mr. Snowden suggested in a question-and-answer session on The Guardian’s Web site in June. “Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on,” he said, though cautioning that the N.S.A. often bypasses the encryption altogether by targeting the computers at one end or the other and grabbing text before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted. The documents make clear that the N.S.A. considers its ability to decrypt information a vital capability, one in which it competes with China, Russia and other intelligence powers. “In the future, superpowers will be made or broken based on the strength of their cryptanalytic programs,” a 2007 document said. “It is the price of admission for the U.S. to maintain unrestricted access to and use of cyberspace.” The full extent of the N.S.A.’s decoding capabilities is known only to a limited group of top analysts from the so-called Five Eyes: the N.S.A. and its counterparts in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Only they are cleared for the Bullrun program, the successor to one called Manassas — both names of an American Civil War battle. A parallel GCHQ counterencryption program is called Edgehill, named for the first battle of the English Civil War of the 17th century. Unlike some classified information that can be parceled out on a strict “need to know” basis, one document makes clear that with Bullrun, “there will be NO ‘need to know.’ ” Only a small cadre of trusted contractors were allowed to join Bullrun. It does not appear that Mr. Snowden was among them, but he nonetheless managed to obtain dozens of classified documents referring to the program’s capabilities, methods and sources. Ties to Internet Companies When the N.S.A. was founded, encryption was an obscure technology used mainly by diplomats and military officers. Over the last 20 years, it has become ubiquitous. Even novices can tell that their exchanges are being automatically encrypted when a tiny padlock appears next to a Web address. Because strong encryption can be so effective, classified N.S.A. documents make clear, the agency’s success depends on working with Internet companies — by getting their voluntary collaboration, forcing their cooperation with court orders or surreptitiously stealing their encryption keys or altering their software or hardware. According to an intelligence budget document leaked by Mr. Snowden, the N.S.A. spends more than $250 million a year on its Sigint Enabling Project, which “actively engages the U.S. and foreign IT industries to covertly influence and/or overtly leverage their commercial products’ designs” to make them “exploitable.” Sigint is the acronym for signals intelligence, the technical term for electronic eavesdropping. By this year, the Sigint Enabling Project had found ways inside some of the encryption chips that scramble information for businesses and governments, either by working with chipmakers to insert back doors or by surreptitiously exploiting existing security flaws, according to the documents. The agency also expected to gain full unencrypted access to an unnamed major Internet phone call and text service; to a Middle Eastern Internet service; and to the communications of three foreign governments. In one case, after the government learned that a foreign intelligence target had ordered new computer hardware, the American manufacturer agreed to insert a back door into the product before it was shipped, someone familiar with the request told The Times. The 2013 N.S.A. budget request highlights “partnerships with major telecommunications carriers to shape the global network to benefit other collection accesses” — that is, to allow more eavesdropping. At Microsoft, as The Guardian has reported, the N.S.A. worked with company officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft’s most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service. Microsoft asserted that it had merely complied with “lawful demands” of the government, and in some cases, the collaboration was clearly coerced. Some companies have been asked to hand the government the encryption keys to all customer communications, according to people familiar with the government’s requests. Executives who refuse to comply with secret court orders can face fines or jail time. N.S.A. documents show that the agency maintains an internal database of encryption keys for specific commercial products, called a Key Provisioning Service, which can automatically decode many messages. If the necessary key is not in the collection, a request goes to the separate Key Recovery Service, which tries to obtain it. How keys are acquired is shrouded in secrecy, but independent cryptographers say many are probably collected by hacking into companies’ computer servers, where they are stored. To keep such methods secret, the N.S.A. shares decrypted messages with other agencies only if the keys could have been acquired through legal means. “Approval to release to non-Sigint agencies,” a GCHQ document says, “will depend on there being a proven non-Sigint method of acquiring keys.” Simultaneously, the N.S.A. has been deliberately weakening the international encryption standards adopted by developers. One goal in the agency’s 2013 budget request was to “influence policies, standards and specifications for commercial public key technologies,” the most common encryption method. Cryptographers have long suspected that the agency planted vulnerabilities in a standard adopted in 2006 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and later by the International Organization for Standardization, which has 163 countries as members. Classified N.S.A. memos appear to confirm that the fatal weakness, discovered by two Microsoft cryptographers in 2007, was engineered by the agency. The N.S.A. wrote the standard and aggressively pushed it on the international group, privately calling the effort “a challenge in finesse.” “Eventually, N.S.A. became the sole editor,” the memo says. Even agency programs ostensibly intended to guard American communications are sometimes used to weaken protections. The N.S.A.’s Commercial Solutions Center, for instance, invites the makers of encryption technologies to present their products to the agency with the goal of improving American cybersecurity. But a top-secret N.S.A. document suggests that the agency’s hacking division uses that same program to develop and “leverage sensitive, cooperative relationships with specific industry partners” to insert vulnerabilities into Internet security products. By introducing such back doors, the N.S.A. has surreptitiously accomplished what it had failed to do in the open. Two decades ago, officials grew concerned about the spread of strong encryption software like Pretty Good Privacy, designed by a programmer named Phil Zimmermann. The Clinton administration fought back by proposing the Clipper Chip, which would have effectively neutered digital encryption by ensuring that the N.S.A. always had the key. That proposal met a backlash from an unlikely coalition that included political opposites like Senator John Ashcroft, the Missouri Republican, and Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, as well as the televangelist Pat Robertson, Silicon Valley executives and the American Civil Liberties Union. All argued that the Clipper would kill not only the Fourth Amendment, but also America’s global technology edge. By 1996, the White House backed down. But soon the N.S.A. began trying to anticipate and thwart encryption tools before they became mainstream. “Every new technology required new expertise in exploiting it, as soon as possible,” one classified document says. Each novel encryption effort generated anxiety. When Mr. Zimmermann introduced the Zfone, an encrypted phone technology, N.S.A. analysts circulated the announcement in an e-mail titled “This can’t be good.” But by 2006, an N.S.A. document notes, the agency had broken into communications for three foreign airlines, one travel reservation system, one foreign government’s nuclear department and another’s Internet service by cracking the virtual private networks that protected them. By 2010, the Edgehill program, the British counterencryption effort, was unscrambling VPN traffic for 30 targets and had set a goal of an additional 300. But the agencies’ goal was to move away from decrypting targets’ tools one by one and instead decode, in real time, all of the information flying over the world’s fiber optic cables and through its Internet hubs, only afterward searching the decrypted material for valuable intelligence. A 2010 document calls for “a new approach for opportunistic decryption, rather than targeted.” By that year, a Bullrun briefing document claims that the agency had developed “groundbreaking capabilities” against encrypted Web chats and phone calls. Its successes against Secure Sockets Layer and virtual private networks were gaining momentum. But the agency was concerned that it could lose the advantage it had worked so long to gain, if the mere “fact of” decryption became widely known. “These capabilities are among the Sigint community’s most fragile, and the inadvertent disclosure of the simple ‘fact of’ could alert the adversary and result in immediate loss of the capability,” a GCHQ document outlining the Bullrun program warned. Corporate Pushback Since Mr. Snowden’s disclosures ignited criticism of overreach and privacy infringements by the N.S.A., American technology companies have faced scrutiny from customers and the public over what some see as too cozy a relationship with the government. In response, some companies have begun to push back against what they describe as government bullying. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook have pressed for permission to reveal more about the government’s requests for cooperation. One e-mail encryption company, Lavabit, closed rather than comply with the agency’s demands for customer information; another, Silent Circle, ended its e-mail service rather than face such demands. In effect, facing the N.S.A.’s relentless advance, the companies surrendered. Ladar Levison, the founder of Lavabit, wrote a public letter to his disappointed customers, offering an ominous warning. “Without Congressional action or a strong judicial precedent,” he wrote, “I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.” Source: The New York Times And here's a follow up article: Secret Documents Reveal N.S.A. Campaign Against Encryption
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