Crypto AG is a former Swiss company, founded in 1952, that specialized in communication security.
But in the 1970’s, the company was secretly sold to the CIA, and from 1970 to about 1993, the company operated for the CIA.
The company sold products and software that included security weaknesses. The weaknesses allowed the CIA to listen to conversations from other countries.
Products from the CIA-owned company were sold to over 100 countries.
One CIA expert said, “It was the intelligence coup of the century.”
“Foreign governments were paying good money to the U.S. for the privilege of having their most secret communications read.”
The CIA operation, code-named Thesaurus, provided a huge intelligence value that lasted decades.
It would be like countries around the world using the Chinese company Huawei to share sensitive information.
A spokeswoman for the Swiss government said, “The events under discussion date back to 1945 and are difficult to reconstruct and interpret in the present-day context.”
Operation Thesaurus gave the U.S. a huge intelligence-gathering boost.
One specific case was the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. The U.S. was able to spy on the revolutionary government during the ordeal.
Even as this was happening, many of the employees of the company were unaware of the big secret.
What is cryptology?:
Cryptology is the science of secure communications. In other words, cryptology is sending messages with hidden meanings.
It is something that most people associate with spies, but it is also something that anyone can use when it’s not safe to write in plain English.
It allows people to send messages back and forth without others being able to understand the meaning.
The two most common methods of cryptology are using a code or cipher.
An example of a code would be using the code word “cloud” to mean “plane.” Of course, the two people communicating would both need to know the code words.
On the other hand, a cipher changes each letter in the word to another letter. For example, an A might be a D.
Again, it would be something that the two people would need to know to easily decipher.
A cipher is going to be the easiest method to use.
How can I use it?:
There are several reasons encrypted messages might be needed.
For instance, during a disaster you might be using a CB radio to communicate with your family.
You might need to share private information with them, but anyone could be listening on the CB.
Or maybe you need to send an email or text to a loved one but don’t want to risk the information being intercepted.
Oftentimes people will use dead drops to exchange secret information. Yet, dead drops run the risk of being intercepted.
The best way to send secure messages is to encrypt them.
Cryptology makes it difficult to send and receive messages. It is more time-consuming compared to just saying what you need to say.
But there could come a time when exchanging information could mean the difference between life and death.
In those situations, as part of your overall survival plan, you want to have a safe, secure system in place to share information with your loved ones.
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