Feeds

EU denies rumours NSA has broken its encryption system

The spy who didn't give up the codes

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Paranoia is alive and well at the European Union (EU) Commission, which has been forced to officially deny its encryption system has been compromised by the NSA (National Security Agency).

Fears of eavesdropping by the ultra-secretive US spy agency grew out of comments by a Commission employee, Briton Desmond Perkins, who told a EU Parliamentary committee of regular but unsuccessful attempts by the NSA to crack the Commission's encryption system.

As reported on the UK Crypto mailing list, Perkins told the EU Parliament Echelon Committee last month that he knew of the NSA's activities because he had a relative (now retired) who worked at the agency. However these comments resulted in speculation that Perkins was an NSA mole.

Lodewijk Briet, a senior Commission official, has stepped in to quash the speculation and tell the Echelon committee "the suggestion that US agencies control or have access to EU codes is complete rubbish, and simply not true". Furthermore, Perkins was an honest man and certainly not a spy, Briet added.

It's well known that the NSA attempts to intercept and decode the communications of government agencies including those between the Commission's missions. This might even be successful but the point here is that there's no evidence from what Perkins said to prove this one way or another.

Certainly official denial shouldn't be taken at face value but isn't it just as credulous to believe everything is compromised?

We're inclined to believe Brian Gladman, former technical director at Nato, and noted encryption expert, who told us that "the concern that there was someone in the Commission working to undermine its encryption system is a bit of a storm in a teacup." ®

External links

Tales of spies, bugs and back doors from the ukcrypto mailing list
European Parliament Echelon committee (not up to date)

Related stories

NSA and FBI big winners at Big Brother awards
CIA patching ECHELON shortcomings
French Echelon report says Europe should lock out US snoops
Echelon spy system wildly exaggerated - official
What the hell is - the Echelon scandal?
US National Security Agency (NSA) badly crippled

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.