[Cryptography] Does NSA break in to endpoints (was Re: Bruce Schneier has gotten seriously spooked)

Perry E. Metzger perry at piermont.com
Sat Sep 7 20:00:25 EDT 2013

On Sat, 07 Sep 2013 09:33:28 +0100
Brian Gladman <brg at gladman.plus.com> wrote:

> On 07/09/2013 01:48, Chris Palmer wrote:
> >> Q: "Could the NSA be intercepting downloads of open-source
> >> encryption software and silently replacing these with their own
> >> versions?"
> > 
> > Why would they perform the attack only for encryption software? They
> > could compromise people's laptops by spiking any popular app.
> Because NSA and GCHQ are much more interested in attacking
> communictions in transit rather than attacking endpoints.

Except, one implication of recent revelations is that stealing keys
from endpoints has been a major activity of NSA in the last decade.

I'm not going to claim that altering patches and software during
download has been a major attack vector they've used for that -- I have
no evidence for the contention whatsoever and besides, endpoints seem
to be fairly vulnerable without such games -- but clearly attacking
selected endpoints is now an NSA passtime.


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