ok TY for this article. it is honestly frightening. and i don't hear anyone in the media talking about this (i admit i am pretty buried these days due to real world work). but it's scarey. i have a feeling most of the general public is completely disconnected and disinterested, thinking 'oh the government is just here to take care of me.'
Is this happening because of the NSA or because the NSA has no one they are accountable to? I guess congress is ignoring it too, and i know congress is the only entity that can protect us in this regard. As far as Administration goes, I am certain whoever is in the current Administration has and always will want this kind of scrutiny all in the name of keeping us safe, but IDK, we were pretty safe before the Patriot Act ever came along. This is so secretive too, and we wouldn't even know if we're compromised.
I need to get better passwords, this is a fact.
A quote from the article above:
Cracking the codes
Even if the National Security Agency or the FBI successfully obtains an encrypted password, salt, and details about the algorithm used, unearthing a user's original password is hardly guaranteed. The odds of success depend in large part on two factors: the type of algorithm and the complexity of the password.
Algorithms, known as hash functions, that are viewed as suitable for scrambling stored passwords are designed to be difficult to reverse. One popular hash function called MD5, for instance, transforms the phrase "National Security Agency" into this string of seemingly random characters: 84bd1c27b26f7be85b2742817bb8d43b. Computer scientists believe that, if a hash function is well-designed, the original phrase cannot be derived from the output.
But modern computers, especially ones equipped with high-performance video cards, can test passwords scrambled with MD5 and other well-known hash algorithms at the rate of billions a second. One system using 25 Radeon-powered GPUs that was demonstrated at a conference last December tested 348 billion hashes per second, meaning it would crack a 14-character Windows XP password in six minutes.