According to NSA documents newly obtained from the archive of former contractor Edward Snowden via the German magazine Der Spiegel, the NSA outlines the best way to avoid the NSA. Online, that is. Three technologies called Tor, CSpace, and ZRTP help hide individuals’ activities from the National Security Agency, according to NSA documents.
The combination of those three technologies — Tor, CSpace, and ZRTP — result in a level of online protection that NSA calls “catastrophic.” In other words, as a result of using those three things, you’d be almost completely out of sight, as far as the NSA is concerned.
Though the leaked documents are now almost 2-years-old, experts still consider it unlikely that the NSA’s digital spies have made much progress in cracking Tor, CSpace, and ZRTP. However, in comparison, cracking the security on something like someone’s Facebook messages or so-called “HTTPS” connections would be child’s play for the NSA
So, what are Tor, CSpace, and ZRTP exactly?
Tor is basically a network that offers an easy way for people to mask their location when communicating online. Anyone can download Tor’s web browser — it’s available on Mac, Windows, Linux, and smartphones. Beware, however — it’s not foolproof. When using Tor, you’re advised to sacrifice the convenience of browser plugins, torrent downloads, and websites that don’t use HTTPS encryption if you truly want to stay off the grid.
Ironically, Tor was originally built to be used by the U.S. Navy.
“Tor was originally designed, implemented, and deployed as a third-generation onion routing project of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It was originally developed with the U.S. Navy in mind, for the primary purpose of protecting government communications. Today, it is used every day for a wide variety of purposes by normal people, the military, journalists, law enforcement officers, activists, and many others.”
Here is an ‘official’ description of CSpace.
“CSpace provides a platform for secure, decentralized, user-to-user communication over the internet. The driving idea behind the CSpace platform is to provide a connect(user,service) primitive, similar to the sockets API connect(ip,port). Applications built on top of CSpace can simply invoke connect(user,service) to establish a connection. The CSpace platform will take care of locating the user and creating a secure, nat/firewall friendly connection. Thus the application developers are relieved of the burden of connection establishment, and can focus on the application-level logic!”
CSpace is a program that lets people text chat and transfer files, while ZRTP is a form of encryption that protects mobile phone calls and texting. Does that sound a little elaborate? Well, there are other options to stay more secure than the average online user without going to extremes. However, there are now special phones costing over $600 that reportedly keep a user’s information more secure than your average iPhone.
[Image via WW2CF2]