Technology

A second Swiss encryption company was piloted by the CIA

To ensure that your data was encrypted in recent years, it was best not to rely too much on Switzerland. Swiss TV station SRF aired a report on Thursday claiming that Omnisec AG had also supplied its customers with encryption devices with backdoors.

The revelations follow a previous scandal involving Omnisec AG’s direct competitor, Crypto AG. An investigation by Washington post, in collaboration with Swiss and German media, revealed earlier this year that this company, which sold cryptographic devices and devices to many foreign governments, had in fact been placed under the influence of the American and German intelligence services , which financed its operations. In return, the equipment sold by Crypto AG to certain governments contained backdoors and encryption flaws, allowing intelligence services to decrypt encrypted communications with these devices.

Following the revelations of the press on Crypto AG, a parliamentary inquiry was launched into the influence of foreign intelligence on Swiss companies. The report published in early November thus mentioned the fact that another company had suffered the same fate as Crypto AG, without directly naming it.

The SRF’s investigation therefore made it possible to put a name on this second company, and it turns out to be one of the Swiss competitors of Crypto AG. While Omnisec AG did not have the size or turnover of its competitor, the company sold its cryptographic tools to foreign governments and Swiss administrations and agencies, as well as to UBS bank, one of the most important banks in the country.

Of the past, let’s not talk about it anymore

Omnisec AG will however not have to worry too much about the impact of these revelations on its business, the company having filed for bankruptcy in 2018, after 31 years of good and (dis) loyal service. Crypto AG was also liquidated the same year, and its assets were sold to two other companies.

The news does not make people happy in Switzerland, and many political representatives have called for new investigations into the influence of foreign intelligence services and the role played by Swiss intelligence services in this affair. The first investigation carried out following the revelations of the Crypto AG affair thus concluded that the Swiss intelligence services knew that the company was controlled by foreign services, but that the government had not been informed.

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