Security & Fraud

Survey Says Security Professionals Doubt Effectiveness of Encryption Backdoors

Venafi, the provider of machine identity protection, announced Thursday (Aug. 17) that, based on survey results, the majority of IT security professionals think encryption backdoors aren’t effective and can be potentially dangerous.

The survey, which polled 296 IT security professionals on encryption backdoors found 72 percent of the respondents do not believe encryption backdoors would make their nations safer from terrorists. “Giving the government backdoors to encryption destroys our security and makes communications more vulnerable,” said Kevin Bocek, chief security strategist for Venafi, in a press release announcing the results of the survey. “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.”

Other findings in the survey include that only  nine percent believe the technology industry is doing enough to protect the public from the dangers of encryption backdoors, while 81 percent feel governments should not be able to force technology companies to give them access to encrypted user data. The survey also revealed 86 percent believe consumers don’t understand issues around encryption backdoors. Encryption backdoors create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a wide range of malicious actors, including hostile or abusive government agencies, said Venafi in the release. Billions of people worldwide rely on encryption to protect critical infrastructure – including global financial systems, electrical grids and transportation systems – from cyber criminals who steal data for financial gain or espionage, the company noted.

This isn’t the first time that IT professionals have expressed concerns about encryption backdoors. A survey in January of 2016 found 63 percent of IT professionals remain opposed to the idea.  According to a survey by global IT and cybersecurity association ISACA, nearly 59 percent of respondents said privacy was being compromised by the government’s effort to impose stricter cybersecurity laws. “The Cybersecurity Snapshot shows that the professionals on the front lines of the cyberthreat battle recognize the value of information sharing among consumers, businesses and government but also know the challenges associated with doing so,” Christos Dimitriadis, international president of ISACA and group director of information security at INTRALOT, said in a press release.

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