Edward Snowden is now globally known as the man who blew the whistle on U.S. National Security Agency’s spying programs. He leaked a treasure trove of top secret documents detailing vast spying plans over the past year and he’s not stopping now. Der Spiegel has a new report up, backed by documents provided by Snowden, which reveal some of the encryption tools that proved a bit too much for the NSA to break into.
One of the tools that the NSA had “major problems” with is the infamous Tor network. It was difficult for the agency to follow users across the global anonymity network. Email messages sent through Zoho, an email provider that promises strong encryption, were troublesome as well. So were files encrypted with TrueCrypt, which was an open source disk-encryption program that was pulled a few months back.
Even if the NSA had problems with some tools this doesn’t mean it wasn’t able to break into many others. Leaked files show that the agency considers decrypting emails sent through Mail.ru, a popular Russian service, “moderate.” Documents also show that the NSA is building capacity to snoop on 20,000 VPN connections per hour, which is alarming to say the least.
The report also reveals how NSA was able to go past the HTTPS system, commonly used to secure connections between web browsers and websites. Documents from late 2012 show that the agency had capacity to capture 10 million HTTPS connections every single day.