MIT team develops ‘NSA-proof’ website platform

26 Mar 2014

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a web platform known as Mylar, which aims to allow website developers to prevent intrusion from government agencies, such as the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States.

The team, led by Raluca Ada Popa, explained the process of its platform on its website through a means of encryption which will prevent data from being retrieved by bodies and organisations before the website is connected to a server.

Continuous news headlines over the last number of years have shown that data mining and website intrusion have created an an atmosphere of paranoia among some web developers, who fear their websites might be one of thousands that are wide open to intrusion.

According to Popa, which developed the technology with MIT and a web development group known as Meteor Development Group, the average web user will not notice any change in service. “You don’t notice any difference, but your data gets encrypted using your password inside your browser before it goes to the server. If the government asks the company for your data, the server doesn’t have the ability to give unencrypted data.”

However, Ariel Friedman, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, doesn’t see the tough encryption service taking off on a mass scale, despite its obvious security advantages. “It would be a watershed moment if any of these types of systems actually got deployed to millions of users. The real obstacles to adoption are usability and the business case for deploying them.”

Encryption image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic