‘We have control’, Muhyiddin says amid concern over Malaysia’s purchase of CIA-rigged Crypto AG

Debra Chong
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today assured Malaysians that no important national secrets were transmitted through encryption devices the government bought from Swiss company Crypto AG that were allegedly rigged by the CIA. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today assured Malaysians that no important national secrets were transmitted through encryption devices the government bought from Swiss company Crypto AG that were allegedly rigged by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

He said steps had been taken to guard against the leak of high-level information, The Star reported today.

“I’ve discussed the matter with Police Inspector-General Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, and we have control over important information or secrets,” he was quoted telling reporters in Ipoh, after opening the national-level 48th anniversary celebration of Rela at the Indera Mulia Stadium.

Muhyiddin also played down the government’s purchase of the foreign encryption devices as “nothing new”, adding that it was not Malaysia alone that bought them.

The Washington Post reported last week that Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam were among over 120 countries that bought Crypto AG, which was secretly controlled by the CIA to listen in on communications.

According to the US daily, the devices were ostensibly designed to hide the communications of a country’s espionage and diplomatic corps as well as government officials from the prying eyes of other nations, but secretly compromised to let the CIA easily decipher such material.

Crypto AG became the go-to company for encryption devices that countries trusted to keep their lines of communication secure as the firm behind code-making devices for the US troops in World War Two.

The Washington Post report did not detail when Malaysia purchased the devices from Crypto AG or whether these remain in service.

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