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The security industry’s collective head is spinning, thanks to the NSA. A week after it emerged that the U.S. intelligence agency has “some capabilities” against basic internet security mechanisms, no one is much the wiser as to what those capabilities are — which means everything is in doubt.

There’s even a grain of doubt (just a grain) regarding the core math behind modern cryptography. Experts such asBruce Schneier and Phil Zimmermannare confident that the core math is sound, and that the NSA is exploiting weaknesses in today’s cryptographicimplementations. They’re almost certainly correct, but some experts, such as Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit, have noted that some kind of secret advance is not out of the question.

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