A newly leaked document courtesy of Edward Snowden revealed that some U.S. officials are encouraging the use of encryption as a means to protect data, which contrasts with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent statements against encrypted communications, according to a report by The Guardian.
The 2009 document penned by the U.S. National Intelligence Council, which supports the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and acts as the middleman between the intelligence and policy communities, explained that companies and the government are prone to attacks by nation-states and criminal syndicates “due to the slower than expected adoption…of encryption and other technologies.”
The report detailed a five-year prognosis on the “global cyber threat to the US information infrastructure” and stated that encryption technology is the “[b]est defense to protect data.” Encryption makes it possible for documents and messages to be unreadable to people who don’t have the appropriate cryptographic key.
The authors of the document also encouraged the use of multi-factor authentication, which adds another step to the security process beyond simply entering a password; [company]Microsoft[/company] added this feature to its Azure cloud in 2013.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has made it clear that he does not support encryption in the case that the technology could hamper government or law enforcement investigations, and he’s reportedly set to egg on President Barack Obama to support his cause.
Both Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey have also been vocal against aspects of encryption technology that they feel lets criminals conceal their nefarious activities.
Encryption is no doubt a hot topic in the security space with the recent Sony hacking and the subsequent leaking of countless corporate documents taking a toll on the entertainment company.
Companies have been pushing for better encryption technology to secure what they deem are confidential files, and there’s been a wave of security startups focussing on encryption scoring millions of dollars in investment in recent months.
Despite political push back, it’s clear that companies won’t slow down on implementing encryption any time soon, so long as large-scale data breaches continue to occur on a seemingly weekly basis.