Items tagged with Encryption

One aspect of smartphones that largely gets overlooked is security. For many consumers, the technical details surrounding stronger encryption just isn't as interesting as advancements in camera technology and other prominent features. For those who do care to know more, however, Google wrote a blog post describing its Titan M chip that is the backbone of security for its recently launched Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL handsets. "Last year on Pixel 2, we also included a dedicated tamper-resistant hardware security module to protect your lock screen and strengthen disk encryption. This year, with Pixel... Read more...
Apple has a history of butting heads with government officials over the topic of encryption, and specifically whether the Cupertino outfit should be forced to install a backdoor into its iOS devices primarily for law enforcement to use. It's not just the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Apple disagrees with, though. Apple is taking the Australian government to task over a "dangerously ambiguous" bill that deals with encryption. Australia's draft Access and Assistance Bill grants authority to certain agencies "to secure critical assistance from the communications industry and enable... Read more...
A pair of macOS security experts have discovered a bug in the latest version of macOS that exposes the contents of files, including ones that are encrypted and are supposed to be safe from prying eyes. The security flaw exists within Apple's 'Quick Look' feature, which caches thumbnails and names of files, even when the files are stored within a password protected encrypted container, such as a hard drive or a separate partition. The issue with Quick Look is that it stores that data in a non-encrypted location. Even worse, they apparently remain on the hard drive, even if a user deletes the original... Read more...
Apple has confirmed plans to bolt shut a security hole in iPhone devices that law enforcement agencies have been using to gain entrance into locked handsets after seizing them from suspected criminals. As can be imagined, those same agencies are none too pleased with Apple's decision. As far as Apple is concerned, however, it's a matter of security and privacy for consumers, both of which are compromised by certain third-party devices. For example, companies like GrayShift and Cellebrite offer USB devices that enable customers to thwart existing security measures in iOS, and in particular a set... Read more...
The FBI has quoted statistics to the public and Congress that claimed investigators had been locked out of encrypted devices like smartphones nearly 7,800 times. It is now being reported that the actual number is much smaller in the area of between 1,000 and 2,000 incidents. The report claims that over a time frame of seven months, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray cited the inflated figure as evidence that the FBI needed to address what it calls "Going Dark." Going Dark is a term the FBI uses to describe the spread of encrypted software that can block investigators from accessing data... Read more...
Security researchers are warning anyone who uses PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) or S/MIME for email encryption to disable the scheme in their email clients right away, and to uninstall tools that automatically decrypt PGP-encrypted email, due to a security flaw. They've discovered a critical vulnerability dubbed EFAIL that could allow an attacker to view the contents of encrypted messages in plaintext, including emails that have been sent in the past. "There are currently no reliable fixes for the vulnerability. If you use PGP/GPG or S/MIME for very sensitive communication, you should disable it in... Read more...
The Federal Bureau of Investigation butted heads with Apple in 2016 and 2017 when the Cupertino company refused to build a backdoor into its iPhone handsets, which would allow law enforcement agencies to access locked devices at the expense of security for millions of iOS users. Fast forward to today and there's a report that law enforcement now has access to an inexpensive software tool that accomplishes the same thing. According to Motherboard, federal agencies and police forces across the country have been using a cheap tool called GrayKey thwart the encryption schemes of fully updated iPhone... Read more...
Skype has announced something that some users have wanted for a long time: end-to-end encryption for conversations. Skype Insiders can preview the new encryption feature right now, and it's called Private Conversations. With these conversations, end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text messages, images, audio files, and videos are now supported.  Private Conversations uses industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems. When you participate in one of the private sessions, that chat is hidden in notifications to keep what you share private. Microsoft's Ellen Kilbourne wrote, "Give... Read more...
Here we go again. In 2016, authorities tried to legally compel Apple to unlock an iPhone model that belonged to one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino shooting that left more than a dozen people dead. Apple resisted, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation dropped its lawsuit before the legal matter had a chance to fully play out in court. That may still happen, as authorities in Texas have searched Apple with a search warrant for various data contained on an iPhone belonging to Devin Patrick Kelley, the person behind the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs. Kelley slaughtered 26 people in... Read more...
Most people have probably never been to Cloudflare's San Francisco office, but those who have been there would have noticed a large wall of lava lamps in the lobby. It is hard to miss—after all, it is not everyday that you come across dozens of lava lamps arranged on a set of shelves, not even in Spencer's where these groovy items are commonly found. What is not immediately obvious, however, is that the wall of lava lamps is not for decoration. Cloudfare is using them for encryption. It sounds wild, but for all that computers are capable of doing, the are not that great at picking random numbers.... Read more...
There's no secret that the FBI is not a big fan of device encryption on devices like smartphones. As we saw in the San Bernardino incident, then FBI director James Comey attempted to bully Apple into providing a backdoor to iOS and the Touch ID safe enclave in order to break into an iPhone 5s that was used by one of the terrorists. Apple refused to cave in, and the FBI eventually went with an outside firm to crack the device. Comey's successor, Christopher Wray, is once again fanning the flames when it comes to the debate between giving law enforcement agencies the tools necessary to unlock... Read more...
In an effort to boost security on Android devices, Google is testing a feature called DNS (Domain Name Server) over TLS (Transport Layer Security) to protect users from hackers who might be spying on a site's traffic, according to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). This experimental feature is currently fielding comments at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). an Internet standards group.The DNS over TLS protocol encrypts DNS inquiries to same level as HTTPS, effectively blocking cyber snoops from logging or otherwise seeing the websites that users visit. HTTPS alone does not offer... Read more...
The new iStorage diskAshur2 is a specialized, external hard drive geared toward security conscious consumers. The diskAshur2 is a little pricey, and although it's no slouch in the speed department (we'll get into that in a bit), it's certainly not going to compete with that shiny new internal SSD you've got your eye on in terms of transfer speeds either. But here's the thing: It's plenty fast enough for just about anything you'd want to do, and just as importantly, it's both rugged and secure. So, despite a somewhat lofty asking price, the diskAshur2 is actually a pretty good deal. If you need... Read more...
In an era where high profile data breaches are becoming far too common, IBM has a solution that could help. The company on Monday unveiled IBM Z, a next generation mainframe that is is billing as the world's most powerful transaction system. Just as importantly, it offers pervasive encryption so that all data is encrypted all of the time, whether it is part of an application, cloud service, or chunks of bits in a database. "The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very difficult and expensive to do at scale," said Ross Mauri, General... Read more...
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