(Article changed on December 6, 2013 at 11:11)
The past three months since the publication of Free Yourself from Microsoft and the NSA has seen a steady stream of increasingly shocking revelations about the extent of NSA spying in the US and around the world. NSA operatives have been caught spying on their wives and girlfriends. The NSA has also been caught spying on dozens of world leaders including Angela Merkel, the elected leader of Germany and the Pope in the Vatican, the leader of the Catholic Church. Clearly Angela Merkel and the Pope are not "terrorist threats."
At the recent trial of hacker Jeremy Hammond, it was revealed that the NSA and FBI paid an informant named Sabu to help Jeremy Hammond hack into various government websites and computer systems all around the world. In November 2013, it was revealed that the NSA has hacked into more than 85,000 Windows computer networks around the world.
This diabolical plot was first exposed on September 5, 2013, six days before I published Free Yourself from Microsoft and the NSA. Glenn Greenwald (and several others) exposed a new batch of top-secret NSA documents with articles in the Guardian, the New York Times, and ProPublica.
These three articles described a $3.5 billion, 14-year NSA program called Bullrun, which has severely corrupted encryption standards used to secure financial and other sensitive records. The program is much bigger and much more dangerous than the NSA PRISM program exposed in June 2013. The following is from the actual 2010 NSA memos:
"For the past decade, NSA has led an aggressive, multipronged effort to break widely used Internet encryption technologies." This NSA plot "actively engages the U.S. and foreign IT industries to covertly influence and/or overtly leverage their commercial products' designs" to make them "exploitable. "
raises the question of how the NSA is gaining access to these computer
networks. One method is the backdoor key Microsoft gave the NSA in 1998, as I
describe in detail in my book. However, the Bullrun program means that the NSA
is also using deliberately flawed encryption programs to gain access to
computer networks. The NSA refers specifically to using encryption keys in
their 2013 budget request as being needed to "influence policies,
standards and specifications for commercial public key technologies."
Public key technologies are the most commonly
use of encryption methods. A public key is like a password. For example, if the
password to your bank account is TakeMyMoney, the encrypted version of your
password might be XQ4%zv20#49. A public/private key combination is used to
translate the password back into TakeMyMoney. At the heart of all "key"
programs are random number generators that make it hard for hackers to
translate the encrypted password unless they possess the all-important keys.