Items tagged with Privacy

It's no secret that Apple places a high value on customer security and privacy, and the company goes to great lengths to make sure that it's a market-leader in both regards. However, even the most careful companies can be exposed to crippling security vulnerabilities. If software contains a previously unidentified bug or exploit, it just sits there waiting for some enterprising user to spot it. And that's just what happened with Apple's Activation Lock. When an iPhone or iPad is lost, the user has the ability to enable "Find My iPhone", which can immediately locks the device, requiring correct... Read more...
The Supreme Court approved a series of changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure by the United States Department of Justice that go into effect today. Those changes, which the DoJ proposed earlier this year and that were never discussed by Congress, gives the FBI permission to hack into multiple computer systems here and abroad with a just a single warrant in cases where they're part of a botnet or otherwise can't be traced to a precise location.Any U.S. judge can authorize such a warrant, including magistrate judges who typically only issue warrants within their own jurisdiction.... Read more...
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...
There are steps you can take to reclaim your privacy, such as putting a piece of black tape over your laptop's webcam, but unless you're willing to disconnect completely, total privacy might be a myth. Case in point, researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University recently demonstrated how easy it is to hack a system so that the headphones record sound like a microphone. The proof-of-concept computer code at work is called "Speake(a)r" and what it does is repurpose the speakers inside headphones to record audio. It does this by capturing vibrations in the air and converting them into electromagnetic... Read more...
It seems that Apple may have a complicated relationship with device user privacy. Russian digital forensics firm Elcomsoft has recently discovered that iPhone users’ call histories are being sent to Apple’s servers. A user’s call history can be sent to Apple’s servers if iCloud is enabled. The data will include phone numbers, dates, times, and duration of phones calls as well as missed and bypassed calls. Facetime and third-party apps such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber, and that use Apple CallKit to make the calls, are also saved in iCloud. Apple retains this information for no longer than four... Read more...
2016 is going to be remembered for a number of fortunate and unfortunate things, with one topic that falls into the latter category being the debacle of U.S. law enforcement vs. Apple. The FBI and other US federal agencies have made it no secret that they would like to be able to gain access to any smartphone if the need arises - something that anyone who cares even remotely about their privacy shouldn't be okay with. In the months that followed, the FBI somehow managed to break into an iPhone 5C without any help from Apple. And while it's not clear if the agency is able to pull that off on more... Read more...
The Federal Bureau of Investigation made a big deal out of Apple's unwillingness to help it crack a locked iPhone 5c handset that was used by a terrorist in the deadly San Bernardino shooting, but it turns out it rarely needs assistance. Nine of out ten times, the FBI is successful in its attempts to unlock a secured smartphone or laptop, the agency admitted to attendees at a public meeting on encryption. Jim Baker, General Counsel for the FBI, provided some interesting numbers for the public to digest. According to Baker, the FBI's forensic labs analyzed 6,814 phones and laptops from October 1,... Read more...
What kind of information do ISP’s collect from their customers and what do they do with that information? The Federal Communications Commission just passed a new rule to protect online user’s privacy and regulate how and when ISPs can share information with third parties. The FCC rule was passed this morning with a 3-2 vote. It requires ISPs, or internet providers, to obtain a customer’s explicit consent before sharing certain information with third parties. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler remarked, “It's the consumers' information. How it is used should be the consumers' choice. Not the choice of some... Read more...
If you follow WikiLeaks on Twitter, you may have noticed a series of cryptic tweets consisting of strings of numbers and letters. These are hashes or keys of sorts, some of which are calling "dead man's keys." Regardless, they appear to be related to another WikiLeak post on Twitter claiming its co-founder, Julian Assange, is without Internet access after his connection was "intentionally severed by a state party." That action has reportedly activated WikiLeaks' "appropriate contingency plans" in response. Julian Assange's internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated... Read more...
We've talked a lot about IoT devices here at HotHardware, but over the past year, it's become increasingly clear that we have to be careful with how we roll out new devices. Companies are leading us on to believe that in the future, the world will simply be blanketed with IoT devices everywhere. We see that as a potentially major security risk. Our simple IoT devices could become part of a DDoS network, and we'd not even know it. Bear in mind that it was a mammoth cluster of IoT devices that helped bring an unprecedented deluge of traffic towards Brian Krebs' website last month. And, as if we needed... Read more...
"Yahoo" is a positive word, but in relation to the internet giant, it's starting to feel like it could describe some of the company's key management. Yahoo has been dealing with some troubling issues, but most of those issues were self-created, such as failing to disclose a security breach which took place years ago, and building a custom tool for the U.S. government - and the NSA in particular - to scan user emails. Now, it's being reported that Yahoo's tool is in effect a sophisticated "hacking tool", although it's supposedly not that much different from Yahoo's preexisting tools used to... Read more...
The battle between the FBI and locked phones is far from over. The FBI is currently trying to crack into another locked iPhone that once belonged to a now deceased terrorist. The iPhone in question belonged to Dahir Adan, who stabbed ten people in a Minnesota mall before a police officer shot and killed him. ISIS has claimed credit for the attack over social media. FBI special agent Rich Thorton recently stated, “Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked. We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.” It is unclear what what model... Read more...
In the wake of a report outing Yahoo's email scanning program for the government, a handful of other major tech firms have gone on record saying they don't snoop your incoming messages for Uncle Sam. Those firms include Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, four of which pretty much denied ever receiving such a request from the U.S. government. "We’ve never received a request like this, and were we to receive it we’d challenge it in a court. Separately, while federal law prohibits companies from being able to share information about certain types of national security related requests,... Read more...
To call this a stressful time for Yahoo would be an understatement. As the company is in the process of being scooped up by Verizon, it's also dealing with the aftermath of what could become the largest security breach in all of history - at least in terms of users impacted. We reported last week that the company was slapped with a class action suit a mere day after it was discovered that upwards of 500 million user accounts were affected in a security breach. Today, an insider and former Yahoo exec claims that the real number could be double that - cue diabolical pinky finger to mouth: 1 billion (Or... Read more...
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