Items tagged with security

When Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA's comprehensive spying efforts a few years ago, some might have thought that the agency (along with others) would cool their jets. After all, they were caught red-handed prying into our lives without our knowledge. As recent months have shown, however, the government, and especially the FBI, has no qualm about prying into our mobile devices if the desire is there. The FBI apparently even found a way into iPhones without Apple's help (which Apple has chosen to ignore). Fortunately for us, many software solution providers are capitalizing on consumer... Read more...
If you've ever tried to link someone to a Google Maps URL, you'll undoubtedly understand the benefit of URL shorteners. With them, we can take grossly long URLs and shorten them to a mere fraction of their original length, allowing your Facebook status update to retain a clean look and actually put a few words alongside a URL in a tweet. There's a reason services like Google Maps and Twitter offer their own URL shorteners... they're convenient and useful. According to a new report released out of Cornell Tech, however, we should be showing some concern over the use of URL shorteners. There's a... Read more...
Israeli tech firm Cellebrite has offered to help an Italian father hack into a locked iPhone 6 handset that belonged to his deceased son. It's the same tech firm that assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation with hacking an iPhone 5c after Apple refused over fears that cracking its own security would leave hundreds of millions of iPhones vulnerable to attack. Cellebrite was sympathetic to a story about Leondardo Fabbretti, who's 13-year-old son Dama, adopted from from Ethopia in 2007, passed away in September 2015 of bone cancer. Fabbretti wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking for help... Read more...
It's no secret that law enforcement agencies and governments at large want to have access to our personal data whether we like it or not. Hot on the heels of the FBI managing to bypass security measures that should have protected the data on a terrorist's iPhone 5c, we see that the case is definitely not closed. As many had suspected, now that the floodgates are open, agencies like the FBI are not content to let this one win be the last. This week, draft legislation leaked out of the U.S. Senate that to some highlights the government's ignorance about encryption. Within the bill is an... Read more...
Picking up where the FBI left off against Apple, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) are getting ready to introduce a bill that would force companies like Apple and Google to provide "technical assistance" to government authorities trying to access encrypted data on locked devices. "We're still working on finalizing a discussion draft and as a result can’t comment on language in specific versions of the bill," Burr and Feinstein said in a joint statement, according to The Hill. "We’re still in the process of soliciting input from stakeholders and hope to have final language... Read more...
Here's a tip for anyone who owns a smartphone (so pretty much everybody)—don't leave your handset out in the open and unattended, even if you've locked it. Case in point, an online video making the rounds showed how it was possible to bypass an iPhone's passcode using Siri to access the device's contacts and photos. The hack, if you want to call it that, was made possible by a rather odd bug in iOS 9.3.1. For it to work, Siri must have access to the iPhone owner's Twitter account. The handset must also support Force Touch, limiting the vulnerability to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6S Plus models. And the... Read more...
A prosecutor in Arkansas will get an assist from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a murder trial where key pieces of evidence may be contained in a pair of Apple devices. Having just recently thwarted the security on an iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, the FBI has agreed to help prosecuting attorney Cody Hiland with breaking into an iPhone and iPod that belonged to the two alleged teenagers assailants.The case involves the killing of Robert and Patricia Cogdell, both murdered at their home in Conway, a town that sits half an hour north of Little Rock. Authorities... Read more...
The FBI dropped its case against Apple yesterday claiming it had extracted the contents of the now infamous iPhone 5c model that belonged to Syed Farook, the terrorist involved in the San Bernardino shooting, with the assistance of a third-party. It's as much a win for Apple as it is for the FBI, though instead of celebrating, Apple released a statement saying the matter should never have went to court to begin with. "From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of... Read more...
In December, HotHardware reported that Microsoft had entered the planning stages for introducing a tweaked version of its Windows 10 operating system in China, and just three months later, the first iteration is being delivered. You have Windows 10 Pro? China has Windows 10 'Zhuangongban'. That rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? The Chinese government has in the past made it no secret that it's skeptical of potential spying code that could run on software (or hardware) produced by American companies, which results in companies such as Microsoft having... Read more...
Over the past couple of years, law enforcement at large has ramped up its efforts to try to gain access to communication mediums, which can include being able to browse unlocked smartphones. As it stands today, most jurisdictions do not give a member of law enforcement the ability to gain access to a smartphone without a warrant, and because a PIN code is personal information, it cannot simply be asked of someone to provide it. That hasn't halted efforts to get rid of such roadblocks, though. Even if it requires brute force, agencies like the FBI want in, especially in high stakes, high profile... Read more...
Last week, we learned about the company teaming up with others, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, to make SMTP 'Strict Transport Security' a reality, a protocol that would make it even harder for malicious users to gain access to our email. In a new blog post, the company draws our attention to SMTP STS as well as a couple of other recent (and not so recent) ways the company has improved our security. On Safer Internet Day, which happened a month-and-a-half ago, the company introduced a new Gmail feature that highlights when email is received or being sent to a domain... Read more...
Apple and the FBI have locked horns with one another over an iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, but what seems like a suddenly contentious relationship may have roots that go even deeper. If a new report is to be believed, Apple's distrust of the U.S. government runs so deep that it's started designing its own servers to avoid any shady tampering. Citing a paywalled report published by The Information on Thursday, ArsTechnica says Apple has long been suspicious that servers it orders get intercepted prior to delivery. As the story goes, Apple believes that third-parties... Read more...
With agencies like the NSA and FBI wanting to peer into our personal communications at will, we have to be proactive about keeping ourselves safe. But what if there's a fault we can't work around and simply have to live with? Unless you're a skilled developer, you have to rely on other to come up with an improved solution. All of us want to stay a step ahead of those who want to intrude on our digital lives, and thankfully, many major companies do too. The latest example is with an improvement of SMTP, an extremely popular email protocol that lets you interact with your email in real-time, unlike... Read more...
Tired of reading about the FBI and Apple trading blows over an encrypted iPhone yet?  Well relief may be in sight.  This evening, the FBI filed a request to delay Tuesday's court hearing on the matter, and now that request has been accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym. Why has the FBI suddenly changed course?  According to the brief, the FBI has not stopped working on trying to access the data on Syed Farook's government issued iPhone 5C.  They state that an "outside party" demonstrated a possible method for unlocking the phone on Sunday, March 20th, sparking this about... Read more...
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