Items tagged with Encryption

The U.S. Government isn’t too happy about efforts by Silicon Valley to enable device encryption, which keeps user data protected and out of the reach of law enforcement agencies. FBI Director James Comey abhors smartphone encryption, and has come out against it on numerous occasions. “The notion that people have devices, again, that with court orders, based on a showing of probable cause in a case involving kidnapping or child exploitation or terrorism, we could never open that phone? My sense is that we've gone too far when we've gone there,” said Comey in 2014. “As a country, I don't know why... Read more...
A little over a week ago, officials from the Obama administration met with some of the biggest names in tech, including senior executives from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo. Administration officials in attendance included Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Although the meeting was primarily focused on “[Cyber] efforts to counter radicalization” and to “Make it harder for terrorists to use the Internet” to coordinate attacks, the controversial topic of device... Read more...
Legislatures in New York have drafted a bill that, if passed, would require Apple and other smartphone makers to provide backdoors to encrypted handsets for law enforcement officials or otherwise eliminate encryption altogether. Failure to do so would result in a $2,500 fine per device, a sum that would quickly add up. Apple and Google have been at the forefront of the encryption debate in favor of user privacy. New iPhone and most new Android devices come encrypted without any easy means of decrypting data without a key. Even if summoned by law enforcement to unlock a device, Apple and Google... Read more...
Apple is fighting hard to have shoot down a proposed UK law that would require tech firms to work hand-in-hand with government agencies to break encryption and provide easy access to customer data under court order. “We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat,” said Apple in a complaint filed against the Investigatory Powers Bill. For all its efforts to stop efforts in the UK to break down encryption walls and bend over for law enforcement, a new Chinese law looks to simply steamroll... Read more...
The debate over smartphone encryption is a contentious on these days in tech circles. On one side, you have companies like Apple and Google which employ full device encryption to secure user data and keep it out of prying eyes — even if those eyes belong to law enforcement. On the other side, you have politicians in Washington along with various city, state, and federal level enforcement agencies clamoring to get their hands on secret backdoors to defeat encryption (and criminals, and terrorists… so they say). Apple has been one of the strongest proponents of device encryption and has fought against... Read more...
The tensions between device makers like Apple and Google against law enforcement shows no signs of slowing down. As you may recall, the U.S. government is hell-bent on forcing Apple to unlock encrypted iPhone that are involved in criminal cases. Apple contends that the encryption that it provides on iPhones via the iOS operating system is meant to safeguard user data first and foremost, and that giving law enforcement the ability to snoop through private data sets a dangerous precedent. Comments made by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein this week bolster Apple’s position, and throw cold water... Read more...
It looks as though tech firms have gotten a reprieve on forcefully decrypting data at the behest of law enforcement officials; at least for now. FBI Director James Comey, who has been an outspoken voice against tech companies that have implemented system wide encryption for their mobile operating systems, delivered the welcome news while testifying at a Senate hearing before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “The administration has decided not to seek a legislative remedy now, but it makes sense to continue the conversations with [the] industry.” Those comments were echoed... Read more...
Mere days after it was revealed that crowdfunding website Patreon had been breached, the entire collection of stolen digital goods has been posted online. Making this leak even more severe than typical ones is that not only is user account information included, but so too is some site source code (or potentially all of it), as well as private messages. If the encrypted information can be cracked, that could result in the revealing of social security numbers and tax IDs. Patreon is a website where "patrons" are able to support their favorite content creators with a monthly subscription.... Read more...
It’s no secret that Obama Administration doesn’t think too highly of smartphone encryption. Officials for the Department of Justice and the FBI have railed against encryption, likening it to obstruction of justice. “The notion that we would market devices that would allow someone to place themselves beyond the law, troubles me a lot,” said FBI Director James Comey last year. “As a country, I don't know why we would want to put people beyond the law. “The notion that people have devices, again, that with court orders, based on a showing of probable cause in a case involving kidnapping or child exploitation... Read more...
Since he brought to light the enormous spying efforts of the US government two years ago, Edward Snowden has opened our eyes to a slew of related and (sometimes, not so related) topics. Some are not quite expected, though, such as one he revealed during a chat with Neil deGrasse Tyson on his StarTalk podcast. Essentially, encryption could harm our chances of making contact with aliens. E.T. phone home? Not easily done with encryption. During the chat, Snowden says that if encryption is implemented really well, then it wouldn't be recognizable as encryption at all. Instead, it'd simply be random... Read more...
Whether you use Snapchat to send goofy faces to friends and family, or fling more sultry looking photos to a lover, you probably don't want those snapshots falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately for users in the United Kingdom, new legislation could force messaging applications to be less secure so the government can peep encrypted communications.Apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Snapchat would all be banned as currently constructed if the new laws take effect. That's because the legislation being pushed would only allow apps to use encryption if there's a backdoor for government agents. The... Read more...
"Xara" might sound like a cool name for an exploit, but according to researchers at three different US universities, it's one that should cause some alarm. At its root, if Xara is properly exploited, attackers would be able to procure passwords stored in OS X's Keychain, which could be used for most or all of someone's applications. Specific details are not covered, but it seems that if an app is installed on OS X that takes advantage of this exploit, it can take control of the stored passwords, and other information that might be present (eg: the login username itself). Examples given are hijacking... Read more...
Microsoft this week announced that web searches made using the company's Bing search engine will soon be encrypted by default. In actuality, users have been able to encrypt searches made via Bing for around a year and a half now, though sometime before summer comes to an end, it will be a standard option for all users. The move will level the playing field with Google and Yahoo, both of which already offer encrypted searches by default. Of course, the bodies at Microsoft still need to eat and so the company will conintue to pass along referrer strings to marketers and webmasters that identify traffic... Read more...
At this point, the resetting of a mobile phone to a from-the-factory state is something we have all done, perhaps simply to get a fresh start with a device that has become sluggish and over-burdened with years of downloaded flotsam. But more likely, we do it for the purpose of selling the phone or passing it along to a friend or family member. We rely on such a reset to completely wipe the phone of any trace of our having used it, all settings and sensitive data. The results of a study performed in the UK by University of Cambridge researchers entitled Security Analysis of Android... Read more...
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