In the wake of Edward Snowden once again making revelations about the NSA’s widespread and troubling spying and information gathering, we’re getting a better idea of the lengths the United States Government agency went through to soak in knowledge. We’re also finding out how hard it can be to get the information they desire. Though a single “secure” system may be easy to crack, Snowden says a layering of several might actually render you totally safe from the prying eyes of big brother.
According to Snowden, the NSA had a ranking system for those programs they wanted to hack. Some, like messaging apps, typically fall under level one, which is “trivial”. those would be easiest to snoop on.
Level five, however, is labeled as “catastrophic”. That is the hardest — sometimes impossible — protection layer, but also rarely comes via a single app or system.
When a few harder-to-crack layers were put together, the security was about as airtight as we can get as citizens. For instance, taking something like Tor and using it along with Zoho would fragment and encrypt your info to the point that piecing it together becomes extremely difficult.
The NSA also had trouble with Truecrypt, which encrypted files on your computer straight away. While none alone gave the NSA trouble beyond level four, or “major”, a combination could send a user into level five, giving the NSA fits.
Source: Der Spiegel