latest Snowden docs show NSA intercepts all Google and Yahoo DC-to-DC traffic

Harry Hoffman hhoffman at
Sat Nov 2 02:32:45 UTC 2013

So, I'm not sure if I'm being too simple-minded in my response. Please let me know if I am.
The purpose of encrypting data is so others can't read your secrets.
If you use a simple substitution cipher it's pretty easy to derive the set of substitution rules used.
Stronger encryption algorithms employ more "difficult" math. Figuring out how to get from the ciphertext to the plaintext becomes a, computationally, difficult task.
If your encryption algorithms are "good" *and* your source of random data is really random then the amount of time it takes to decrypt the data is so far out that it makes the data useless.


Mike Lyon <mike.lyon at> wrote:

>So even if Goog or Yahoo encrypt their data between DCs, what stops
>the NSA from decrypting that data? Or would it be done simply to make
>their lives a bit more of a PiTA to get the data they want?
>> On Nov 1, 2013, at 19:08, Harry Hoffman <hhoffman at> wrote:
>> That's with a recommendation of using RC4.
>> Head on over to the Wikipedia page for SSL/TLS and then decide if you want rc4 to be your preference when trying to defend against a adversary with the resources of a nation-state.
>> Cheers,
>> Harry
>> Niels Bakker <niels=nanog at> wrote:
>>> * mikal at (Michael Still) [Fri 01 Nov 2013, 05:27 CET]:
>>>> Its about the CPU cost of the crypto. I was once told the number of
>>>> CPUs required to do SSL on web search (which I have now forgotten)
>>>> and it was a bigger number than you'd expect -- certainly hundreds.
>>> False:
>>> "On our production frontend machines, SSL/TLS accounts for less than
>>> 1% of the CPU load, less than 10KB of memory per connection and less
>>> than 2% of network overhead. Many people believe that SSL takes a lot
>>> of CPU time and we hope the above numbers (public for the first time)
>>> will help to dispel that."
>>>    -- Niels.

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