Every single day, we as American rely on Web encryption to keep us safe when we’re online. Whether we are checking our Facebook page, sending email, or reading this blog, we expect the web encryption to keep our information and passwords safe from hackers. But in a report by internal U.S. documents, those secure web encryption codes may soon be a thing of the past.
The National Security Agency has been working with the British government using supercomputers to crack even the toughest encryptions, so they can gain access to users’ information before it is encrypted and sent over the internet. They have even spent millions if not billions of dollars since 2000 to break these digital codes.
The Seattle Times quoted a 2010 briefing document as saying “For the past decade, NSA has led an aggressive, multipronged effort to break widely used Internet encryption technologies.” In addition, breaking these codes could ultimately leave web users available to hackers and could completely undermine internet security.
It’s a tragedy, really; even though most Americans don’t have anything to hide from the NSA, I am sure they are not going to be pleased about this report. No one wants to be vulnerable to hackers; many Americans do their banking online nowadays, and they also put up pictures of their children on Facebook. If any of this personal data became available to a hacker, all hell would break loose!
We can thank Edward Snowden for this update; when he leaked those NSA documents earlier this summer before fleeing to Russia, it opened our eyes to just how vulnerable our internet life really is. And it showed Americans just how much data the United States government really is trying to get a hold of.
The Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ has been trying for years to gain access to encryptions from sites such as Yahoo, Facebook, MSN, and Google. So, in short, the government does want to see your Yahoo IM’s, your MSN IMs, your Facebook posts, and all of your emails on Google or Yahoo. Are you surprised? Probably not, but it does seem frightening and maddening that the government and NSA would be willing to open us up to hackers around the web. Might make you think twice about ordering those shoes from zappos.com!?
I know I don’t want my information compromised; I have been hacked before and it leaves you feeling helpless. It may be similar to the feeling one has when they come home to find they have been robbed. I personally don’t know that feeling, and I hope I never do.
When it comes to protecting ourselves and keeping our information private, however, I think we need to feel confident that we have nothing to hide. We’re not terrorists. We are simply hard-working Americans trying to enjoy what the internet has to offer; whether it’s Facebook, Yahoo chat, a blog, or a Youtube video, we have a right to enjoy those things without fear. However, I believe we should do all we can to protect ourselves. Whether the NSA gains access to our passwords, or not!
Source: The Seattle Times