Items tagged with Government

It's been proven that some tech companies have been willing to cater to the government's every need, but others -- namely Google -- remain adamant about transparency regarding shady practices. Earlier this year, we reported on Google's new feature that informs users if they've become the target of state-sponsored attackers, so as to help you better protect yourself via whatever means you have available. We can't imagine what it's like to receive a notification like this, but it can't be a great feeling. Now, we're reminded that this functionality exists, as a slew of journalists and professors... Read more...
This past summer, we learned that even though the US government is adamant about fighting piracy, it found itself in a "Do as I say, not as I do" situation. So far, it's managed to - but given hard evidence, we can't imagine that it's likely to last for long. Starting back in 2011, the Department of Defense's US Navy worked with German company Bitmanagement to license 38 copies of its BS Contact Geo software, with the intent of giving the software a test run. Later, that installation number burst to over 100,000, and ultimately reached a staggering 558,466. The problem? The DoD didn't want... Read more...
As tension continues to build between Russia and the US over alleged cyber attacks, the US has begun contemplating issuing its own set of cyber attacks against the Kremlin. As we covered last weekend, the US government has formally accused Russia of being responsible for breaking into official servers and walking away with a trove of emails relating to the DNC. While as of last weekend, we were unaware of what counter-action the US might take, the picture this week has just become a little clearer. According to officials close to the matter, the US government is in the planning stages of deciding... Read more...
As if relations between US and Russia governments weren't sensitive enough, both the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have officially accused Russia of being responsible for breaking into official government servers and stealing more than 19,000 emails relating to the DNC this past summer. While some US government officials, including Hillary Clinton, have already made their own accusations towards the Kremlin, this is the first time the US government as a whole has directed blame specifically. It's unclear at this time whether or not this accusation... Read more...
We wrote earlier about the kind of success Google has been seeing with its Android bug bounty program -- success that has led the company to actually increase its rewards. Over the years, we've seen other major companies offer bug bounties as well, such as Facebook and Microsoft, so it's clear that they can provide some real value. Could that value be important enough for the US government to get in on the action? It appears that "yes", it certainly can. In a new report from the Pentagon, the groundwork is laid for future programs that target much more than some front-facing websites, which is... Read more...
It's no secret that law enforcement agencies and governments at large want to have access to our personal data whether we like it or not. Hot on the heels of the FBI managing to bypass security measures that should have protected the data on a terrorist's iPhone 5c, we see that the case is definitely not closed. As many had suspected, now that the floodgates are open, agencies like the FBI are not content to let this one win be the last. This week, draft legislation leaked out of the U.S. Senate that to some highlights the government's ignorance about encryption. Within the bill is an... Read more...
In December, HotHardware reported that Microsoft had entered the planning stages for introducing a tweaked version of its Windows 10 operating system in China, and just three months later, the first iteration is being delivered. You have Windows 10 Pro? China has Windows 10 'Zhuangongban'. That rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? The Chinese government has in the past made it no secret that it's skeptical of potential spying code that could run on software (or hardware) produced by American companies, which results in companies such as Microsoft having... Read more...
Over the past couple of years, law enforcement at large has ramped up its efforts to try to gain access to communication mediums, which can include being able to browse unlocked smartphones. As it stands today, most jurisdictions do not give a member of law enforcement the ability to gain access to a smartphone without a warrant, and because a PIN code is personal information, it cannot simply be asked of someone to provide it. That hasn't halted efforts to get rid of such roadblocks, though. Even if it requires brute force, agencies like the FBI want in, especially in high stakes, high profile... Read more...
Last week, we learned about the company teaming up with others, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, to make SMTP 'Strict Transport Security' a reality, a protocol that would make it even harder for malicious users to gain access to our email. In a new blog post, the company draws our attention to SMTP STS as well as a couple of other recent (and not so recent) ways the company has improved our security. On Safer Internet Day, which happened a month-and-a-half ago, the company introduced a new Gmail feature that highlights when email is received or being sent to a domain... Read more...
It's been an incredible month for Apple, the FBI, and all of us. We've been sitting back, watching the battle of these two giants, as a conclusion about whether or not the FBI should have a right to access encrypted data on someone's smartphone is reached. It seems like not a day can go by without an update to this interesting saga, and we've been keeping you informed throughout it all. Late last week, we saw an interesting twist: the FBI came out and said that if Apple doesn't want to help it out, or invest its own time to help the FBI accomplish its goal, then the company could simply hand over... Read more...
We have been hearing so much about the FBI's pressure on Apple in its encryption fight in recent weeks that it might be easy to forget that it's only just begun in recent weeks. But what a few weeks it's been! In the middle of February, a federal judge ordered Apple to break encryption on an iPhone that belonged to a terrorist part of the San Bernardino attack in December, and Apple wasted no time in defending its stance on things. In gist, CEO Tim Cook and the rest of Apple want to continue giving their customers a phone they can trust, and the government is working hard to cripple that.... Read more...
It's not often that people feel compelled to side with Google on the topic of privacy, but the company's newest CEO, Sundar Pinchai, gives us a great reason to. As Brandon covered in great detail yesterday, Apple has been ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym to provide the FBI access to an iPhone 5c that was used by the terrorists in December's San Bernardino shootings - but, there are a couple of problems with that. Apple insists that the backdoor the U.S. government wants doesn't exist, and CEO Tim Cook rages against the idea that his company should build one for any of its products. If... Read more...
If you think that the likes of the NSA needs to rely on zero-day exploits to get their job done, you apparently have things completely wrong. At the USENIX Enigma security conference in San Francisco this week, the NSA's chief of Tailored Access Operations, Rob Joyce said that it's his team's sheer talent makes its attacks successful, not simple flaws waiting to be exploited. While it does seem likely that the NSA makes use of zero-day exploits when the juicier ones are found, Joyce says that it's not as though his team simply has a "skeleton key" that's able to open any door it chooses. Instead,... Read more...
A hot topic brought up often in the search for America's next president is the security and privacy of the country's citizens. Unfortunately, such matters rarely find themselves in the hands of politicians who truly understand what they're talking about, and we saw just such an example again Saturday night, during the Democratic presidential debate. During the debate, Hillary Clinton tried to put viewers at ease with the assurance that she has no desire to force companies to engineer back doors in their software that the government could access. "I would not want to go to that point." In her next... Read more...
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