The NSA Can Decrypt More Stuff Than You Think

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The Guardian and the New York Times have blockbuster stories today about the NSA’s surprising success in cracking encryption standards that until now everyone has considered safe. More about this later. But here’s a single tidbit from the Times story:

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.

I guess the lesson here is not to buy network equipment from US companies. I don’t imagine that US purveyors of network equipment are very happy about this revelation.

Awkward question: Was this story timed to coincide with the G20 meeting in Russia?

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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