Items tagged with Privacy

Could your smartphone be listening in on your life? If you download mobile apps without much care for their permissions requests, you might not ever know. The privacy threat is so significant though, that the Federal Trade Commission has stepped in and warned us to be aware of it. On Thursday, the FTC sent a letter to a dozen app developers warning them against their use of "audio beacons", which listen in on the environment and pick up hidden noise signals from TV shows. This is made possible with technology from an Indian company named Silverpush, and in effect it lets the app figure out what... 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...
It looks as though the National Security Agency (NSA) crown jewels are about to be fondled by the rest of America’s intelligence agencies. The NSA monitors and collects various types of communications including emails, phone calls, and even transmissions conducted by our foreign allies (and foes). As we learned from the the Edward Snowden leaks, this information is stored in bulk and is one of the reasons for the ever-increasing use of encryption in our smartphones (see Apple vs FBI). Historically, the data collected has mainly been kept within the halls of the NSA and only offered to other intelligence... Read more...
During his tenure as FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler has taken on the telecom industry with net neutrality, and more recently, is looking to upend the cable box market by forcing cable and satellite providers to open their services to third-party hardware manufacturers. Now, Wheeler is turning his attention to another hot topic in the tech sphere these days — privacy. Wheeler penned a blog post this afternoon that outlines the FCC’s proposal for new privacy regulations that would require your Internet Service Provider (ISP) — be it a home-based service like Comcast or Time Warner Cable, or a wireless... 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...
If you're passionate about the topics of privacy, government surveillance, and security and also how they relate to the FBI and DOJ's fight to unlock that fateful San Bernardino iPhone, the whole situation likely pales in comparison to what communist countries like China force their citizens to tolerate. In an effort to root out threats to society, the Chinese Communist Party has contracted for development of a data analytics technology of sorts that is best described as taking a page straight out of the 2002 movie staring Tom Cruise called Minority Report. Credit: Flickr TadokoroAs Bloomberg reports,... Read more...
We talk a lot about the importance of businesses beefing up security to protect from the threat of those who might want to gain access to internal networks. Last week, we were given another great example of why: an integral piece of Linux software suffered a bug that at first seemed modest but turned out to be quite severe. These issues can creep up out of nowhere, and those who actively beef up their security will be those who suffer the least amount of hassle in the future. As important as that kind of security is, though, some of the biggest flaws inside of a company can be the employees... Read more...
The greatest benefit wireless peripherals offer is what they help cut down on: wires. Fewer wires means that our desktops are easier to keep clean, and we're not kicking wires as often under our desk. It's a win-win overall. Or is it? As with most things convenient, wireless peripherals can suffer exploits just like anything else that's open to a wireless connection. While your keyboard is designed to handshake with an adapter that's plugged into your PC, there's usually nothing stopping the data stream from being intercepted. Though remote, no question, it could be a legitimate attack vector.... Read more...
Updated 2/20/2016 - 9:57PM: If there weren't such tragic events leading up to the unprecedented court case involving Apple, the FBI and DOJ, the whole San Bernardino iPhone government access affair might look like a complete comedy of errors at this point. The San Bernardino gunman's locked iPhone could indeed reveal information as to whether or not they acted alone or were supported by others. And it could offer a wealth of information beyond that, that could possibly even save lives some day in the future. However, the slippery slope of legal precedent that will be set, if Apple ever does give... Read more...
It's easier than ever to protect data online and elsewhere. Encryption is ubiquitous and while it's impossible to insure that your data well-secured from the likes of the government, there's no excuse for not taking important steps to increase your own personal protection as much as possible. That latter is especially true when you consider the fact that the FBI has a seemingly unlimited amount of resources to "counter the threat" of encryption. Humorously, many people who use encryption aim to "counter the threat" of the FBI or other government agencies. And according to the agency's 2017 budget... Read more...
The term "IoT" has been floating around for a while and many who care about privacy have been put on high alert. "Internet of Things" devices can help make our lives better. They can allow us to change the temperature with our smartphones or even unlock doors. They could help us track vital stats during a workout. They can optimize the use of our solar power. All great things... but... they can also act as a proxy that allows governments to peer into our lives. Again, this threat is nothing new, but what makes its reality just a bit clearer is that someone in power in the spying... Read more...
In the fall of 2014, Google lost a valuable man: Andy Rubin. While Rubin had his hands in a number of important projects at the big G, none were more important than his creation of Android in 2003. Today, Android is the most widely-used mobile OS; one that's even making its way to convertible PCs. To call that particular project a success would be a gross understatement. We learned just two months ago that Rubin has eyed making a return to smartphones, something he hasn't talked too much about openly. What he has talked about, though, is dashcams. Yup -- Rubin sees the lowly dashcam as... Read more...
It seems certain that we've all managed to wind up on a website at some point in time that had misleading elements, such as fake download buttons. While piracy is going to be the first thing that springs to many minds when this kind of sketchiness is brought up, it's hardly exclusive to that area. Some websites that host completely legitimate software still have misleading advertising, and let's face it: we've been dealing with it for way too long. Well, if Google has its way, we're not going to have to worry about such misleading advertising in the future. Back in November, the company released... 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...
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