Snowden Claims ISIS Encrypted Email is Fake

A new video was released yesterday, which featured an encrypted message that supposedly contained plans for a future attack to be committed by ISIS or another group aligned with their goals. The video also featured shots of the gunmen behind last year’s attack in Paris and graphic shots of executions by radicals. The video also featured clips of London and RAF fighter aircraft, ending with a shot of David Cameron and the words “Whoever stands in the ranks of kufr (unbelievers) will be a target for our swords and will fall in humiliation.” As Edward Snowden was quick to point out on Twitter, the ‘encrypted email’ shown in the video was clearly fake.

The most obvious flaw he pointed out was in regards to the encrypted email’s key ID “1548OH76”, which is not a valid Hexadecimal string, being invalidated by the O and H. Further, the creation date on the PGP supposedly used to decrypt the instructions for both the Paris attacks and this new attack was the 16th of November 2015, after the Paris attacks. This could mean that the instructions for the attack on Paris were re-encrypted along with this new unknown message, which is implied to be the plans for a new attack.

Even taking into regard these flaws, the real question is what the video’s creators intend to achieve by showing this. Is it really plans for the next attack, or simply scare tactics designed to get the world’s intelligence agencies to crack it? More frighteningly, it could be an attempt by terrorist groups to spur on the adoption of encryption backdoors or bans by government agencies. Such groups would certainly have a lot to gain from the crippling of encryption, from potentially being able to access the backdoors themselves to them disregarding the requirements and continuing to use strong cryptography undeterred, causing even more grief for groups thinking they have all the backdoor keys. I have no doubt that this video should be taken seriously, as should any terrorist threat, but any influence it may have on cryptography should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Encrypted Communications May Make Discovering Aliens Impossible.

Well, it’s taken a bit longer than expected, but Edward Snowden has finally lost his sanity in Russia, this is rather a joke considering the headline sounds quite bizarre, but the cogent statement which Mr Snowden conveyed is, as expected a lot more sensible than that.

Snowden appeared on the astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Podcast from Moscow via a robot video link called a “beam remote presence system”. Basically this gadget is a virtual presence device which has been conveyed within the medical profession with the aim of allowing doctors to see patients without seeing them in person. The wide-ranging interview included the assertion by Edward Snowdon that “It took a very long time for me to develop any kind of scepticism at all even to the most over-extended claims of the extension of programs or policies [by the US security services],” he said.

This may sound slightly naïve, but when an individual is in an environment as in these case, scenarios and policies become normal, why you would question the day-to-day reality with which you have been accustomed to. Now for the alien bit, according to Snowden, “encrypted communication, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted, “You can’t distinguish a properly encrypted communication from random behaviour.” 

What Edward Snowdon was surmising is that if a life form on a distant planet was attempting to identify new signs of life, or vice versa, it would be impossible to decipher where those signals were emanating from if communications were encrypted. Theoretically therefore, if both sides used encrypted communications, it would make it impossible to read them or even recognise them.

This view of a new civilisations communications skills are as good a one as the next person, considering there haven’t been any recent sightings of aliens, or at least proven beyond all doubt 100% bona fide beings and not a 1990s video camera with a blurry shot .

Thank you techworm and startalkradio for providing us with this information.