Items tagged with NSA

If you thought that there couldn't possibly be more unbelievable stories to stem from Edward Snowden's leaks, you're sorely mistaken. Today, we learn of a truly appalling effort that the NSA and its partners worked together on to intercept Android users' connections to install malware and soak up information. The NSA's partners in crime are part of a group called 'Five Eyes', and in addition to the US, included countries are Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. Given other revelations that have trickled out in the past, this list shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The UK's GCHQ, which... Read more...
In a 338-to-88 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday showed strong support for the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would effectively end the National Security Agency's ability to collect phone records on a mass scale. It would also make other changes to the scope of the NSA's surveillance program, though a similar bill was voted down in the Senate last year. "All I know is, these programs expire at the end of this month. They are critically important to keep Americans safe," House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said ahead of the vote. "The House is going to act, and I would hope the... Read more...
The NSA’s practice of collecting the phone records of Americans is illegal, a Federal appeals court ruled today. The new decision in the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) effectively kills the NSA’s position that its data collection practice was authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act. Overturning an earlier opinion, the Federal appeals court wrote that “the bulk telephone metadata program is not authorized by section 215 (of the Patriot Act).” The decision doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the government’s data collection program, however. In its opinion, the Federal... Read more...
Here we go again. This past November, the US' Department of Justice latched onto public heartstrings by saying that encryption on mobile phones could lead to the death of children, and in January, president Obama followed-up to plainly say that encryption should under no circumstance hinder police and spy agencies. The government can say what it wants, of course, but that doesn't mean that whatever it suggests will be kosher as far as our civil liberties go. Looking beyond the fact that criminals can benefit from encryption (just as they can benefit from a slew of other things), it stands to reason... Read more...
U.S. President Barack Obama is getting a little hot under the collar, and we’re not talking about the speech that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave this morning. Instead, President Obama is troubled over new regulations that are being proposed by the Chinese government, which would affect American tech companies that conduct business within China’s borders. President Obama is fearful that China’s plans — which include allowing the Chinese government to install security backdoors, requiring companies to hand over encryption keys, and keeping user data on Chinese soil — are an assault... Read more...
Dutch SIM card maker Gemalto has been enduring unwanted media attention for the past few weeks after reports surfaced that Britain’s GCHQ and the United States’ NSA may have breached the company’s networks. Today, Gemalto released a statement acknowledging that an attack in 2010 was probably the work of the spy agencies, but denied that they now had access to the encryption keys for millions of SIM cards.“If we look back at the period covered by the documents from the NSA and GCHQ, we can confirm that we experienced many attacks,” the company said in a statement. “In particular, in 2010 and 2011,... Read more...
As we reported on late last week, the world's largest SIM card maker was broken into digitally as part of a joint operation between the United States' NSA and United Kingdom's GCHQ. The attack, which began back in 2010, gave these agencies unparalleled access to the global smartphone network, ultimately enabling them to decrypt and record phone data of virtually anyone they wanted. As a result of the news, Gemalto's stock took a 7.5% hit on Friday, something I considered to be unfortunate given it seemed very likely that any company could have suffered the same attack. If the world's biggest intelligence... Read more...
When the U.S. State Department’s email was hacked back in November, it was a black eye for the government. But, to many of us, this seemed the sort of problem that would be quickly eradicated – after all, our guys are the no slouches when it comes to cyberattacks. But as it turns out, the State Department’s email woes don’t appear to be over, and the culprits have yet to be unmasked.Russia has been brought up as a possible suspect, though the NSA hasn’t (at least, publicly) nailed down a culprit at this point – three months after the hack was revealed to the public. The State Department is still... Read more...
It hasn't even been a single week since we learned that the NSA could have been involved in creating a bunch of malware that trickled out over the past decade, and already we have another scandal to munch on. Unfortunately, this one is even more disgusting -- if you can believe that. Via documents leaked to The Intercept by Edward Snowden, it's been revealed that both the US' NSA and Britain's GCHQ have been teaming-up since 2010 to bypass the security of mobile SIM cards the world over. Kicking this off, the intelligence agencies broke into the network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards,... Read more...
Security firms the world over dream of a day like this, but this one belongs to Kaspersky. The Russian-based firm has discovered the existence of a threat actor that could be linked to the US Government, and NSA in particular. Kaspersky has dubbed the group Equation, as it became clear that the folks involved loved advanced encryption algorithms and other obfuscation techniques. Through its Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), Kaspersky has discovered that Equation has itself created advanced malware - dating back to at least the early 2000s - and also had extremely close ties to groups responsible... Read more...
Hot on the heels of president Obama's insinuation that the government should never have an issue accessing a person's data comes an even scarier prospect -- being the victim of a search warrant just because you take steps to enhance your privacy.As it happens, that could become the reality, if the FBI gets its way. While it's no secret that government agencies spy on us as if we're all guilty of destabilizing national security, the Fourth Amendment has a number of protections in place that can prevent us from prosecution. So, the FBI has decided to go after a specific rule to help get rid of that... Read more...
If you believe that your privacy is important - so important that the government can't even breach it - you're not going to like president Obama's latest comments. During a meeting at the White House with UK prime minister Dave Cameron, it was established that both leaders share the same stance on user privacy: you're fine to have it, as long as the government can peer in. With the latest release of Apple's iOS and Google's Android, both companies have proven that they believe that consumers have the right to their privacy. Both of the latest OSes have introduced encryption that they claim they... Read more...
One of the more interesting stops on our recent trip to Amsterdam was at The Hague Security Delta. For those of you who might not be aware, The Hague is the name of the government seat of the Netherlands (and yes, the article is capitalized). The Hague Security Delta (HSD) is the official title of a collaborative effort between Netherlands businesses, the government, and multiple research institutions to identify emerging security threats, share best practices, and foster collaboration between industry, governments, and universities. One of the most interesting topics that came up during our visit... Read more...
Just how secure is your favorite chat app? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found out and is sharing the results of its research as part of its battle against NSA surveillance. As you’d probably expect, it has some complaints about the security of certain mainstream chat programs, but there are a few surprises on the EFF’s Secure Messaging Scorecard.  A portion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Secure Messaging Scorecard. Image Credit: EFF For one thing, Skype received poor marks, garnering only two positives (out of a possible seven). The video chat service encrypts... Read more...
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