Leaked US cybersecurity report singles out crypto as essential for security of private data

A newly released document from the Snowden trove is a five-year "cyber-threat" forecast that stresses the importance of strong civilian use of cyrptography as crucial to protecting private data, especially the industrial secrets sought by foreign spies.

The publication of this comes as both the US and UK governments have attacked the civilian use of strong crypto, with David Cameron calling for an end to the use of effective crypto in the UK and asking the USG to assist him in this project, while the Attorney General of New York and the head of the FBI have made similar calls.

The report had some cause for optimism, especially in the light of Google and other US tech giants having in the months prior greatly increased their use of encryption efforts. "We assess with high confidence that security best practices applied to target networks would prevent the vast majority of intrusions," it concluded.

Official UK government security advice still recommends encryption among a range of other tools for effective network and information defence. However, end-to-end encryption – which means only the two people communicating with each other, and not the company carrying the message, can decode it – is problematic for intelligence agencies as it makes even warranted collection much more difficult.

Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data [James Ball/The Guardian]