Items tagged with NSA

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...
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...
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