NSA paid security company $10 million for secret access to users’ software

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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A new investigation into the National Security Agency’s relationship with computer-security provider RSA reveals the company accepted $10 million from the agency to let it access security software RSA sold to customers.

Reuters reports that documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show RSA let the NSA embed “back door” encryption entryways into its computer security products, and that it accepted an amount equal to more than one-third of the product division’s profit from the prior year in the deal.

RSA put the NSA’s encryption formula in its “BSafe” software, meant to increase security on computers and other devices. After the Snowden leaks revealed the company’s entanglement, the company has since told consumers to not use the product.

Prior to the leaks, the company enjoyed a reputation for advocating electronic privacy concerns, including helping to prevent the NSA from installing spy chips into computer products in the 1990s.

“RSA always acts in the best interest of its customers and under no circumstances does RSA design or enable any back doors in our products,” the company said in a statement. “Decisions about the features and functionality of RSA products are our own.”

A Reuters source familiar with the RSA deal said the NSA did not accurately identify the formula placed in the product, and indicated the company was misled by the signals intelligence agency.

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