GMAT Practice Question (One of Hundreds)
Years ago, some in the government's intelligence community feared the work of telecommunications researchers at then-emerging private security firms. The government experts concluded that these private firms posed the biggest risk to successful government espionage. As the private security firms began publicly releasing and advertising encryption algorithms and other security products, these government experts saw support for their conclusion when an encryption algorithm that government experts could not break began appearing in countless emails.
Which of the following, if true, most weakens the conclusion of the government experts referred to above?
Correct Answer: C
The government experts concluded that "private firms posed the biggest risk to successful government espionage" and they supported this conclusion by assuming that the unbreakable encryption algorithm in emails came from the private security firms, which had just begun selling encryption algorithms. In order to weaken the conclusion of the government experts, you need to find evidence supporting the belief that the unbreakable algorithm did not come from the private security firms but from another source (such as free open-source developers).
- This answer strengthens the conclusion of the government experts by bolstering the claim that the products developed by the private security firms were very difficult to break—and this was the fear of some government experts.
- This answer does not state that the "other members of the private sector and academia" broke the encryption algorithm and we cannot assume this. If this were true, the algorithm would not be as strong as the government experts suspected and it would almost certainly not be "encryption algorithm that government experts could not break."
- This answer undermines the government experts' conclusion that the private security firms posed "the biggest risk" as ex-government code breakers admitted that a public-sector open-source freely-available product posed the most difficulty in breaking.
- This answer is not relevant since a foreign government's ability to infiltrate an espionage operation is not related to the conclusion that the difficulty experienced in breaking email encryption occurred because of products released by private telecommunications companies. Further, this answer provides no basis to conclude or even assume that the private security firms were not the source of the unbreakable algorithm.
- The publication of information about the strength and benefit of the privately-developed encryption algorithms would not disprove that private security firms were behind the difficult to break email encryption algorithm experienced by the government.