Gemalto and the NSA

Gemalto has presented their findings regarding the allegations about being hacked by the NSA and GCHQ. They do admit that is probably true that they were indeed hacked, but that the encryption keys were not compromised. Only the office network is supposed to have been compromised and it is not where the encryption keys are stored. If they were, it would seriously surprise me. As these encryption keys are vital for securing our cellular communications, I trust that they are stored safely. In this case it is quite hard to really argue on what is safe or not, as they NSA and GCHQ often are described as having endless means of attacking anyone and anything.

The report from Kaspersky on the Equation Group leaves no doubt that the NSA has advanced capabilities. A company like Gemalto also has advanced capabilities and are probably well aware that intelligence agencies are very much interested in what they do. Therefor it is not unlikely that they had taken steps to secure their encryption keys even from such adversaries. They describe their network as a cross between an orange and an onion which is quite familiar to me. When dealing with critical infrastructure, different security zones are needed. Connecting such networks directly to the Internet is not something such a security model would allow.

The NSA and GCHQ on the other hand wants to be able to intercept and store any type of communication we use, whether it is by phone, email or the web. The use of encryption is a huge disadvantage for them, so of course, getting the encryption keys from a company like Gemalto would be a huge win.

In this case I do not think they got what they were looking for, but I am quite sure that they will try again. In their effort to protect us (at least thats what they say), they are pushing for the ban of encryption or that backdoors are implemented in the algorithms used. This is not something we can allow, as history has shown us many times that everyone has the right to privacy. It is one of the basic fundamentals for our modern society and it is a principle we must fight to protect. As I have written before, even if you have got nothing to hide today, who knows what tomorrow says about you and your ideas?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *