Items tagged with NSA

Several Samsung Galaxy mobile devices are now cleared to store classified information, paving the way for Samsung to tap a broad market of government agencies and private contractors that handle sensitive data. The green light for Samsung’s Knox security platform comes from the NSA, among other security agencies. Samsung Knox is cleared for storing classified data on several Galaxy devices. Knox initially met with resistance from some in the security industry, due to fears that it might be vulnerable, but the Department of Defense cleared Samsung devices earlier this year. The nod from the... Read more...
Zero-day exploits are a nightmare for end-users and vendors alike as both groups have to scramble to patch and resolve problems. Today, Microsoft got tagged with one of the worst types of disclosures -- not only is there a vulnerability in every single shipping version of Windows, the vulnerability has been exploited for years by a team of Russian hackers, codenamed Sandworm. According to the iSight Partners, the Sandworm Team has been caught seeking data on the Ukrainian crisis (further undercutting the idea that the crisis in that state was anything but a Russian operation -- if such evidence... Read more...
One of the downsides to the news cycle is that no matter how big or hot a story is, something else inevitably comes along. The advent of ISIS and Ebola, combined with the passing of time, have pushed national security concerns out of the limelight -- until, that is, someone at the NSA helps out by reminding us that yes, the agency still exists and yes, it still has some insane policies and restrictions. Earlier this year, the Federation of American Scientists filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the NSA. The group was seeking information it thought would be relatively low-key... Read more...
Twitter announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government stating that the company’s right to free speech is being violated since it is being prevented from disclosing the number of national security requests it receives. While the social networking service is able to provide a general number of requests received Twitter is not happy with this and wishes to disclose the exact number of national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court orders it has received. “It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to... Read more...
Apple is making a big deal about its encryption scheme in iOS 8 and is championing itself as a purveyor of user privacy. The way Apple chief Tim Cook explains it, Apple wouldn't be able to help law enforcement infiltrate your iPhone even if it wanted to because the encryption is too strong. Google's been echoing a similar sentiment in regards to its forthcoming Android L release, which will turn on encryption by default. But are such mechanisms truly secure? That depends on the context. Using encryption is certainly more secure than not using it, but when it comes to the U.S. government and its... Read more...
The Edward Snowden revelations have faded a bit from public view in light of other, more recent political activities, but a new report regarding the NSA and Yahoo has people talking about it once more. Reportedly, the United States government threatened to fine Yahoo a quarter of a million dollars <i>per day</i> in 2008 "if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications." Yahoo's stance was that doing so would violate the U.S. constitution, but that didn't stop the feds from pressuring with such staggering fines to comply with its PRISM program. Unsealed documents... Read more...
Grab your tin hat: your cellphone might be giving away your location to spy agencies and sophisticated gangs even as you read this. The Washington Post is reporting that certain companies are selling technology that gives governments and criminals tracking capabilities similar to what the NSA is believed to have. Image Credit: sNowFleikuN at deviantART CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons The tracking systems are believed to use data from mobile carriers, though it’s not clear how they’re accessing that presumably protected data. The report suggests that there are potentially dozens of organizations... Read more...
News is out today of a survey from video advertising platform Ebuzzing claiming that it would cost an average of E140 per year per UK citizen to pay for an ad-free Internet and that the majority of users (98% of them, in fact) would never, ever be willing to pay such fees. I'm not surprised by results like this -- if someone asked me "Would you pay $185 a year to avoid pop-up ads?" my first thought would be "No, I'd install Ad Block" or "No, I'd just avoid the websites that show obnoxious ads I don't want to see." According to Ebuzzing's results, that's precisely what most of its respondents do.... Read more...
It took almost no time at all after Edward Snowden exposed some of the NSA's more questionable goings-on that a divide of public opinion could be seen. Some consider Snowden to be a national hero, while others consider him to be nothing more than a traitor. Some might even consider it a grave insult if Snowden were to be seen with an American flag, much less grasping it close to hits heart. Thanks to WIRED, we're soon to see if that's the case. The feature in the magazine's latest issue is the result of WIRED traveling to Snowden's unknown community in Russia, and spending more than a half-of-a-week... Read more...
Call it the 'Edward Snowden' impact if you must, but there's no doubt that insight on the NSA's activities have technology companies working overtime to restore and regain trust. Following Google's lead to encrypt email communication, Yahoo will now do similarly by crafting a secure email system that should go online in 2015. The platform will be fortified in a way that Yahoo Mail is not currently, and will reportedly make it "nearly impossible for hackers or government officials to read users' messages." Of course, suggesting such a thing will only incite hackers to attempt to prove them wrong,... Read more...
Over the past year, as criticism and anger have built over the NSA's numerous excesses and abuses of American civil rights, it's been easy to forget that underneath the justified anger, a genuine war has been raging. The NSA may have overreached in many respects, but that doesn't mean the government agency has invented problems from whole cloth -- and a new report drives that point home. According to the New York Times, top government officials have stated that Chinese hackers penetrated US government networks in March, potentially gaining access to thousands of dossiers on exactly which US citizens... Read more...
So it’s not just us then. While we seethe over NSA spying allegations here in the U.S., ISPs across the pond who believe they were spied upon by the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks are taking action. According to BBC News, seven Internet providers, in conjunction with Privacy International, have filed a lawsuit against GCHQ. "These widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust we all place on the internet and greatly endangers the world's most powerful tool for democracy and free expression," Eric King, deputy director... Read more...
Ever since Edward Snowden leaked details on how the government had forced various IT companies to disclose information (or secured their willing cooperation), companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have been desperate to regain their users' trust. Six months ago, Microsoft announced that it would reengineer its products and services to provide a much higher level of security -- today, the company revealed that its reached an important milestone in that process. As of now, Outlook.com uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) to provide end-to-end encryption for inbound and outbound email -- assuming... Read more...
Today, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on data privacy, holding 9-0 that neither police officers nor federal law enforcement have a unilateral right to search cell phones without first procuring a warrant. Prior to today, the government had previously argued that the police could search a cell phone under previous court rulings that extended such rights in limited cases, including incidents where the officers on the scene had reason to believe evidence could be destroyed or that the evidence was on the individual (or within arms' reach). What the Court recognized today is that a cell... Read more...
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