Items tagged with Government

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...
Over the past couple of years, we've discovered case after case that highlights the extent the US government is willing to go to spy on whoever it can. It's an interesting juxtaposition, then, to keep learning about new revelations that show how the US government itself has been spied on, while remaining completely oblivious to it. This past summer, it was revealed that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management agency was breached, ultimately resulting in the leaking of data on 4 million government employees. Not long after, we learned that China had managed to gain access to US security clearance... Read more...
A task force for the Federal Aviation Administration has laid out a proposal that would require owners of unmanned aircraft to register their drones with the government. The registration system is one that's based on the weight of such aircraft and would only exempt ones that weigh less than 250 grams, or just over half a pound. The Task Force crunched a lot of numbers dealing with ground level velocity, drag coefficient, air density at sea level, kinetic energy, and other factors in determining that drones weighing 250 grams or more should be registered. It also took into consideration things... Read more...
As great as it was to win the battle for net neutrality, it would have also been great to experience the same victory with CISA. Alas, it has not happened, and the reality of it couldn't be more unfortunate, or perhaps discouraging. CISA stands for "Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act", and its name doesn't leave much to the imagination. It allows corporations to share information with the government that's deemed important to national security, and is designed to prevent the sharing of irrelevant information - or, in better terms, "everything else." It's no secret, though, that the US government... Read more...
Last month, US and Chinese governments agreed to a "digital truce", where neither country would knowingly support cyberattacks against each other to steal commercial secrets. While the agreement is solid overall, it does have a number of caveats, including the lack of protection where government secrets are concerned. Nonetheless, based on the findings of security research firm CrowdStrike, it seems like this agreement could be considered pointless. Since the agreement took place, CrowdStrike monitored seven different instances where Chinese-based hackers tried to penetrate U.S. businesses. Five... Read more...
When Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the significant spying efforts conducted by the NSA two summers ago, it was hard to grasp at first what ramifications would result from the documents release. Since then, the world has been hit by one leak after the other, and ultimately, we've seen that it's not surprising to see the US government do whatever it has to do in order to monitor the people it wants to, regardless of whether or not you feel this type of mass surveillance constitutional. Now, nearly six years after Chelsea Manning released a staggering collection of sensitive classified and unclassified... Read more...
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