The International Standards Organization and the NSA are back at it again. This time, they’re fighting over which cryptographic algorithms to use in our “Internet of Things” devices.
This leads us to pose the question: does the NSA sabotage and backdoor our gadgets?
A History Of NSA Sabotage
The ISO believes the NSA does, in fact, sabotage devices. Furthermore, cryptographic standards are already at risk of NSA sabotage. This has been made evident by the research of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Snowden’s documents prove the NSA has sabotaged the National Institution for Standards and Technology’s cryptographic standards. These documents effectively nullified and discredited the institution.
Even more so, numerous networking experts claim that the NSA meddled with the now-defunct WEP protocol, furthering these convictions.
A Win For The ISO
For the past three years, the ISO has rejected the NSA’s request that their cryptographic algorithms “Simon” and “Speck” should be the standard in all IoT devices.
These proposed cryptographic cyphers have been effectively shot down by the committee members of the ISO, citing:
Two delegates told WikiTribune that the opposition to adding these algorithms was led by Dr. Tomer Ashur from KU Leuven University, representing the Belgian delegation and it was supported by a large group of countries.
Israeli delegate Orr Dunkelman told Reuters he did not trust the U.S. designers following the September meetings.
“There are quite a lot of people in NSA who think their job is to subvert standards,” said Dunkelman. “My job is to secure standards.”
The NSA said Simon and Speck were developed to protect U.S. government equipment without requiring a lot of processing power, and firmly believes they are secure.
Securing Your Network from the NSA
While the ISO has won this battle, this does not mean that our struggle against the NSA is finished. It is important to take every step you can in order to secure your home network, not only from the NSA, but from all snooping and nefarious traffic.
Using a Virtual Private Network will allow you to tunnel your Internet traffic through a remote server, changing your geo-location and encrypting all of your traffic. However, most VPN providers offer subscriptions with device limitations. Furthermore, not all devices have native VPN support. Devices like gaming consoles and smart TVs require a VPN router for encryption.
With a FlashRouter, like the above-pictured Netgear R7800, you can take advantage of a wireless VPN network, wherein all connected devices will be encrypted by the VPN. This is the case whether or not a device has native VPN support.