SecurityBrief Europe - IT professionals say government-endorsed encryption backdoors are ‘dangerous’


IT professionals say government-endorsed encryption backdoors are ‘dangerous’

Venafi has announced the results of its recent survey of 296 IT security professionals on encryption backdoors.

The cybersecurity company asserts it is widely accepted that backdoors into encryption technology create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a wide range of malicious actors, including hostile or abusive government agencies.

Despite this, in mid-July Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called for a ban on end-to-end encryption, claiming that bad actors use it for criminal activities and more. Many other world leaders share these sentiments, with government officials wanting private companies to hand over their encrypted data and communication methods.

Advocates claim this would strengthen national security and hinder terrorism, but Venafi says this is not the case.

Currently billions of people around the world rely on encryption to protect critical infrastructure – including global financial systems, electrical grids and transportation systems – from cybercriminals who steal data for financial gain or espionage.

According to the survey that was conducted at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas over July 22-27, the majority of IT security professionals believe encryption backdoors are ineffective and potentially dangerous, with 91 percent saying cybercriminals could take advantage of government-mandated encryption backdoors.

Furthermore, 72 percent of respondents don’t believe encryption backdoors would have any effect in making nations safer from terrorists.

“Giving the government backdoors to encryption destroys our security and makes communications more vulnerable,” says Kevin Bocek, chief security strategist for Venafi.

“It’s not surprising that so many security professionals are concerned about backdoors; the tech industry has been fighting against them ever since global governments first called for unrestricted access. We need to spend more time protecting and supporting the security of our machines, not creating purposeful holes that are lucrative to cybercriminals.”

 Additional findings from the Venafi survey include:

  • Only 19 percent believe the technology industry is doing enough to protect the public from the dangers of encryption backdoors.
  • 81 percent feel governments should not be able to force technology companies to give them access to encrypted user data
  • 86 percent believe consumers don’t understand issues around encryption backdoors

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