Canada: Yes, We Can Decrypt Everything (!!!) (and NSA stuff)

emember how I said cryptanalytic capability was generally the most-secret-secret thing you’d never in a million years hear a spy admit to having?

Well, hell called. They need a low-temperature thermometer stat.

First, an interesting anecdote from the Cold War. For a long time —
decades, not years — certain departments in the KGB research & development apparatus had free rein, governed largely by a seven-word order issued directly by KGB chief Andropov…

“We Must Catch Up With The Canadians!”

Read in that context a quote from a former head of Canada’s signals-intelligence agency CSEC. The guy basically says, yes, we can in fact break all the encryption people use on the Internet. And CSEC has “capabilities” that are — he claims — more advanced than any other country on the planet.

Yes, the “former Chekist” rule applies. (Particularly in light of the ex-CSIS dude’s “Brazil was just a training exercise!”*) And if you’re going for psychological effect, claiming you can break everything can be better than claiming you can break nothing.

* Tounge-in-cheek reference to a Gene Hackman/Will Smith film?

Given the context and the phrasing of the dude’s words, though… and the fact that I’ve been suspecting something similar for a while… and that this is an “informal” reponse to the Brazilian scandal…

Quote Of The Day: “The NSA really should release a style guide for press organizations publishing their secrets.” https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/10/how_the_nsa_att.html

NSA meltdowns:

Let me add an interesting historical note. A hundred years ago, the expansion of the AC power grid had outstripped engineers’ understanding of its associated phenomena. So many explosions were taking place that, in 1911, a fellow named Charles Steinmetz was received as a hero when he published a series of lectures on how to understand the new “Electric Discharges, Waves, And Impulses, And Other Transients.”

It seems the NSA is having some odd power distribution problems of their own 🙂

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304441404579119490744478398.html?mod=rss_mobile_uber_feed

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/spy-agency-csec-needs-mps-oversight-ex-director-says-1.1928983

“”We have got capability that is unique to this country. No one else has it,” Adams said.[…]

Adams won’t reveal details about how CSEC spies operate in this country, but they are apparently breaking through encryptions.

“The reality is encryption is ubiquitous, it’s everywhere, so clearly if intelligence agencies are going to seek information, they’re going to be able to breach encryption.”

All of which helps to explain Adams’s warning for average Canadians: if you think anything you read, write or send via the internet is private, think again.

“The reality is if you’re on the internet, you literally might as well be on the front page of the Globe and Mail,” Adams says.”

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