The Economic Impacts of the Advanced Encryption Standard

The Economic Impacts of the Advanced Encryption Standard

The costs of security for individual companies and government agencies have been getting higher and higher for several years now, even though these costs are becoming less and less costly than for governments and international organizations. Few security cases can be dismissed that can be easily identified and scrutinized. However, even though a determined inventor of a widely used encryption standard can be rewarded money, this is quite a stretch; when concerns are about future attacks on financial institutions, the costs would undoubtedly far exceed all legitimate security savings.


This article is about the United States government’s effort to block encryption that raises serious issues regarding national security. We will examine the causes of the dispute, explore alternatives to strong encryption and why the United States government’s efforts to restrict communications technology are justified.

Encryption is a highly technical, extremely powerful security tool. Each and every type of encryption is tailored for its use, and tailored to the particular work needs of each organization. It is only when the security of an organisation’s internal communications infrastructure is known or understood that they are vulnerable to attack. This practice is called “obfuscation”, and in the case of organizations implementing plaintext encryption, the message that needs to be decrypted by the “good guy” ISP has to be traced through such use of this technique.
The mystery surrounding the identity of the bad guy or good guy in an organization

This behavior makes it even more difficult to detect an individual in a group of thieves. In such circumstances, malicious individuals can choose to “janish” their movements within the organization in order to convince other nefarious actors that they are, in fact, only for friends. Thus, the clandestine scheme behind “wanted” criminals whose tracks are blazed by private eyes for hire may not reveal the group’s identity. As the scheme grew, secret authorities on the network became increasingly enticed and cautious about how they communicated, because they have all the information about the run-of-the-mill crimes that has already been committed.

When an external surveillance medium is discovered, an insider/operator in the organization learns how it will be used, thus introducing unknown risks and potential dangers. For this reason, some state agencies argue that weakening private encryption is a violation of their security. Security researchers have praised government intrusions on encrypted communications in the past, arguing that eavesdropping also serves to silence dissent. While this is indeed a theoretical argument, it is at the same time the Government’s attempt to restrict private encryption technologies and business methods that is likely to have long-term effects.

Beyond the legal issue
The costs of security for individual companies and government agencies have been getting higher and higher for several years now, even though these costs are becoming less and less costly than for governments and international organizations. Few security cases can be dismissed that can be easily identified and scrutinized. However, even though a determined inventor of a widely used encryption standard can be rewarded money, this is quite a stretch; when concerns are about future attacks on financial institutions, the costs would undoubtedly far exceed all legitimate security savings.

The financial costs for governments
Private organizations are only as secure as their systems are able to handle the infrastructure as a whole. And there is only one problem: public organizations have all the advantages over private industry. In an ideal world, legislation would not be enforced on private companies and countries would have a level playing field, but in many instances, it is a struggle to provide for accountability and mutual support; security solutions that are neither implemented nor expected fully. The cost to governments in the name of cybersecurity is substantial, while for private companies the concern is more hidden and poorly understood. This is of course a problem not limited to governments; consumers, who often rely on commercial services, are far more “paying for privacy” than they are expected to pay for security. The toll in that regard is already getting higher.

Lastly, securing an organization with some structure and some appropriate security settings is a crucial skill for any individual to acquire and evolve in his or her work. And these are precisely the risks that the Government seeks to minimize. According to UK/1U, “When this approach is applied correctly, potential attackers and disgruntled employees take only a fraction of a covert amount of time to disrupt an organization, as they would in an organised, sustained attack.”

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About Ann Jaye

Ann Jaye Brown is a 28-year-old resident artist at a studio who enjoys planking, writing and badminton. She is energetic and creative, but can also be very greedy and a bit impatient. She is a British Christian who defines herself as straight. She has a degree in chemistry.

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