US and UK intelligence agencies inserted “backdoors” into commercial encryption software allowing them to access the confidential personal data of hundreds of millions of people, according to new leaks from former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

The revelations suggest some technology firms cooperated with spy agencies, who have otherwise used “a battery of methods” to overcome encryption coding, according to an article in The Guardian and also published in the New York Times. The daily continues –

Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with ‘brute force’, and – the most closely guarded secret of all – collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.