CIA has been secretly selling encryption equipment in 120 countries through Crypto AG...

nanoguy

Posts: 522   +7
Staff member

The Trump administration may be quick to show their mistrust of Huawei and Chinese tech companies in general, but it turns out it might actually be afraid the Chinese government could have been setting up the most powerful spying tools through mobile devices and telecom infrastructure.

According to a report from the Washington Post and German broadcaster ZDF, no less than 120 governments around the world have been buying encryption equipment and software from the same company called Crypto AG.

What they didn't know is that it's jointly owned by the US and German intelligence agencies, who signed a highly classified partnership to use it as a platform to sell products designed to be easy to crack and thus perform surveillance whenever they needed.

This has been supposedly going on for over half a century, and is described as "one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Cold War." The goal of the project -- dubbed "Thesaurus" and later "Rubicon" -- was to give the US and Germany access to sensitive communications from all allies and adversaries except China and the Soviets, taking their money and exploiting their gullibility to hoard their secrets.

Interestingly, there are some that speculate it was actually the NSA that rigged the Crypto AG equipment for the greatest sting operation in modern history, and documents cited by the Washington Post seem to confirm that it was indeed involved in weakening the encryption in devices sold by the company. But more importantly, among the clients of the Swiss company were Iran, India, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Nigeria, and even the Vatican.

The US and West German spies were able to monitor Iranian mullahs during the 1979 hostage crisis and see how Libyan officials were celebrating a bombing in a Berlin disco seven years later. However, the documents obtained by the Washington Post raise a lot of new questions, including whether the US had chosen to simply watch some of the world's biggest atrocities unfold without intervening as a way to preserve its intelligence advantage.

German BND withdrew its ownership of Crypto AG -- referred to as Minerva in documents -- in the 1990s, while the CIA hung to it until 2016. Today, only a small number of countries still use the company's encryption systems, but that could come to an abrupt end as the Swiss government revoked Crypto AG's export license soon after the report from Washington Post was published, pending an investigation.

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Bullwinkle M

Posts: 345   +214
"there are some that speculate it was actually the NSA that rigged the Crypto AG equipment for the greatest sting operation in modern history"
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LOL

There are far more who know for a fact that this was not the greatest sting operation in modern history

Not with modern smartphones, computers, routers and IOT devices all backdoored

Hey Cisco, find any new backdoors this week?
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,214   +5,600
Crypto-gear (what we called it years ago) was always mechanical and 100% reliable ... as long as nobody got to look under the cover. Moving the digital turned out to be very quick, very efficient, and very unreliable yet the lintel community has refused to go back to the old reliable stuff. Part of the reason is the ability that "traps" can be put in place to aid in the distribution of misinformation which can trip up the "enemy" very efficiently. Unfortunately it's just as easy to be the victim as it is to be the perpetrator. All of this is just the never ending cycle of the process so nothing will change until somebody invents the untraceable system, which certainly isn't going to happen the in the lifespan of anybody existing today ......
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,160   +1,923
Don't buy Chinese made equipment with unproven back doors, buy USA made equipment with proven back doors! We offer 3000 percent more back doors, all wrapped up with a guarantee of losing all your secrets since we have a much longer history of delivering insecure technology!

You can trust us, we're your benevolent overlords.
 
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Yynxs

Posts: 544   +183
TechSpot Elite
Thank you WaPo and ZDF for this incredibly useful revelation about our intel agencies and the work we hire them to do. Maybe you could turn your in-depth reporting and significant evaluation capabilities to compiling a complete report of all the corporate and online mega-marketers data collection companies spying in the homes, bedrooms, business, stores, credit cards, consoles, and phones of the US public. Inquiring minds would like to see it printed, unless you're owned, of course by a mega-marketer and you need the data yourself.
 

CharmsD

Posts: 411   +254
"dubbed "Thesaurus" and later "Rubicon" "

Searching YouTube for "thesaurus and Rubicon" I get a Tamil movie about Juk.

Too many similarities this movie has to be a plant.

 

Danny101

Posts: 1,318   +526
It would be nice if everyone just mind their own damn business and stop the spying. Instead of sticking their noses into everyone else's. As if they each have the right because of their so-called superiority. This world is so f^(k up.ets earth.jpg
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,065   +4,867
It would be nice if everyone just mind their own damn business and stop the spying. Instead of sticking their noses into everyone else's. As if they each have the right because of their so-called superiority. This world is so f^(k up.
I keep coming up with a different solution.

IMO, the world would be a much better place, if 4 out of 5 humans, never entered puberty.
 

Impudicus

Posts: 220   +187
Thing is, if the Chinese spy on our phones there is probably nothing that even interest them. Any criticism of the Chinese government doesn't matter much from an American. But if the Americans spy on our phones, well it's much closer to home. Imagine if they were to go after everyone who's made any kind of threatening comment one social media directed at the President...
 

Yynxs

Posts: 544   +183
TechSpot Elite
Thing is, if the Chinese spy on our phones there is probably nothing that even interest them. Any criticism of the Chinese government doesn't matter much from an American.
/sigh. Millions of comments don't make a difference but you can market and sell to a trend.

Someone penetrated the Office of Personnel Management and downloaded the names, socials, and most likely, the phones number of 21 million federal employees and applicants and people with security clearances. "...On August 27, 2017, the FBI arrested a Chinese national suspected of helping to create the malware used in the breach...."
For me, that underscores heavily the Chinese PLA's ability to target specific phone numbers and track them and listen in on them in their texts, online posts, emails, who they know and love, and especially their locations.
Pretty sure that 'interests them'.

Of course, maybe they're just trying to sell the government employees a new app?