For decades, the Central Intelligence Agency, along with its West German counterpart the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), secretly controlled the Swiss-based company Crypto AG, which enabled them to engage in decades of communication interception.
Crypto AG, which went defunct in 2018, sold encryption devices to governments across the world. However, this CIA-owned company managed to covertly rig their devices by building in backdoors that allowed the U.S. and the German government to easily crack supposedly encrypted messages.
The firm was purchased by the two intelligence agencies back in 1970 through a shell organization registered in neighboring Liechtenstein. Over the course of nearly five decades, roughly one hundred countries were targeted.
States that purchased Crypto AG products include Iran, Pakistan, several Latin American states, India, as well as the Vatican.