Reports of new Edward Snowden leaks of NSA documents claim that the agency has circumvented much of the encryption on which everyone relies on the Internet.
The Guardian and the New York Times claim that the NSA has cracked the encryption used on the Internet. UK's GCHQ and the NSA has used a variety of methods to gain access to data which should be unreadable by outsiders to the conversation. The reports are based on documents leaked by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
Intelligence officials have asked The Times not to report the story because "?it might prompt foreign targets to switch to new forms of encryption or communications that would be harder to collect or read." Times agreed to withhold some details, but ran the story because of the value of public debate.
According to The Times, the U.S. 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.
In another case reported by The Guardian,
the N.S.A. worked Microsoft officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft's most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company?s cloud storage service.
Many companies in the US sometimes receive FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court)-ordered requests for content belonging to specific individuals, and they comply with those orders by providing the unencrypted data to the government.
In another story, the NSA had reportedly submitted to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) a random number generation algorithm with a backdoor in it.