Silicon Valley and Security Experts Face Off Over Encryption

A group of 14 preeminent international cryptographers and computer scientists reported that offering government access to encrypted communications puts the world’s confidential data and infrastructure at risk. The report is in response to demands by the U.S. and British governments that technology companies provide a digital key for encrypted data. Conflict has been heating up between privacy advocates and government agencies over encryption, and the report is the latest move by technologists to counter government demands. Continue reading Silicon Valley and Security Experts Face Off Over Encryption

Tech Companies Urge White House to Leave Encryption Alone

Tech companies in the U.S. are urging the Obama administration not to impose policies that could potentially weaken encryption systems created to protect the privacy of consumers. “We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool,” stated a letter to President Obama this week from the Information Technology Industry Council and the Software and Information Industry Association, representing companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft. Continue reading Tech Companies Urge White House to Leave Encryption Alone

NSA Preps Shutdown of Controversial Phone Tracking Program

After the Senate declined to reauthorize the bulk collection of phone records, the National Security Agency began shuttering its controversial counter-terrorism program over the weekend. The Senate failed to reach an agreement to extend the program beyond May 31, when the law used to authorize it will expire. Some intelligence and law enforcement officials have argued that the program is crucial to tracking terrorists. While the Senate rejected two bills that would have continued the program, some believe an agreement could still be reached before the deadline. Continue reading NSA Preps Shutdown of Controversial Phone Tracking Program

Tech Industry Urges President to Not Weaken Encryption Tech

Tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft joined Internet security experts and civil liberties organizations this week to draft a letter to President Obama warning that a “backdoor” for U.S. law enforcement could also serve as a backdoor for hackers and other governments. The Obama administration has been considering whether companies should only be allowed to use encryption that provides law enforcement with unscrambled access (or a “backdoor”). Critics are concerned about weakening encryption tech that protects Internet communications. Continue reading Tech Industry Urges President to Not Weaken Encryption Tech

French Term for American Tech Giants Reflects Resentment

France has an acronym for the American tech giants that they often criticize for privacy and tax issues. GAFA (as “Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon” are now known as in France), are the latest companies under fire in a long history of French resistance of American cultural imperialism. The French have little sympathy for these massive companies that often invade personal privacy, either for profit or for government surveillance, and try to find ways around the country’s taxes. Continue reading French Term for American Tech Giants Reflects Resentment

Regin: Symantec Researchers Uncover Sophisticated Spy Tool

Security researchers at antivirus company Symantec recently discovered malware that has been used to target and spy on researchers, governments, businesses and telecommunications infrastructures across as many as ten different countries. The malware, called Regin, is being traced back to 2008 and is being identified as a highly sophisticated spying tool built to access a computer’s most sensitive information including secured files and documents, passwords and memory. Continue reading Regin: Symantec Researchers Uncover Sophisticated Spy Tool

EFF Designs a Scorecard to Help Measure Secure Messaging

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has developed a rubric designed to assess which social and communication apps and tools are best at keeping our messages secure. In an era of growing concern regarding our digital privacy, the EFF believes everyone is entitled to a practical and secure way to communicate via the Internet and mobile phones. This assessment of security, or scorecard for each app and tool, is the initial step of an ongoing campaign to educate and inspire. Continue reading EFF Designs a Scorecard to Help Measure Secure Messaging

Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

Apps and other products that enable encrypted communication are on the rise. Even tech giants like Google and Yahoo have promised to give encrypted sites a higher ranking in search results and to start encrypting emails. However, the creators of encryption apps, such as ProtonMail or Bleep, are still looking for mainstream users, not just gadget enthusiasts or security-conscious professionals. These companies are targeting mainstream users concerned about their privacy. Continue reading Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

NSA Funds Development of All-In-One Programming Language

The National Security Agency is funding a project at Carnegie Mellon University to develop the world’s first “polyglot” programming language that combines CSS, JavaScript, PHP, HTML5, and more. Wyvern, the new language, intends to make Web programming easier. Files will be more organized, making it easier for Web developers to secure their websites, which seems to be the NSA’s primary goal. Wyvern is an open source project still in development. Continue reading NSA Funds Development of All-In-One Programming Language

Tech Giants Tighten Security on Emails with Encryption Option

Last week, Yahoo joined Google and Microsoft in the effort to bring more privacy to users of their popular email services. The 110 million unique Yahoo email users will have the option to turn on an encrypted messaging feature. The feature relies on PGP encryption, which stores each user’s encryption key on their personal laptops and devices. Google also announced that encrypted websites will fare better in their search results due to a new feature in its ranking algorithm. Continue reading Tech Giants Tighten Security on Emails with Encryption Option

Report: NSA Keeps Information Not Targeted in Surveillance

According to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post, ordinary Internet users significantly outnumber the legally targeted foreigners in electronic communications intercepted by the NSA. Based on the collection of intercepted conversations from U.S. digital networks that Edward Snowden provided, 90 percent of account holders were not the intended surveillance targets. And nearly half of the files included names, email addresses or other details belonging to U.S. citizens. Continue reading Report: NSA Keeps Information Not Targeted in Surveillance

NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists

The National Security Agency and its UK sister agency GCHQ have been deploying real-life agents into fictional worlds like “World of Warcraft” and “Second Life,” collecting gamers’ chats and even attempting to recruit potential informants, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The agencies claimed that real-life terrorists might be playing and plotting within these games, suggesting that the gamer communities may provide intelligence on terrorist activity. Continue reading NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists

Engineers Defaulting to Encrypted Browsing for the Internet

The engineers behind the Internet Engineering Task Force are responding to public outcry over Internet surveillance by encrypting Web traffic with plans for a revamped system by the end of next year. In light of National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s exposure of the agency’s mass Internet surveillance, the effort will introduce the default of encryption in Internet browsing, intended to reduce the ease of snooping. Continue reading Engineers Defaulting to Encrypted Browsing for the Internet

Verizon: Big Corporations Still Moving to the Public Cloud

Verizon recently released a study that found that NSA surveillance concerns have not decreased the adoption of public cloud services by large corporations. Companies have been increasing their amount of data stored in the cloud. Public clouds remain attractive as they allow companies to decrease or increase the scale of resources, and to share the cost of ownership among users. But some big companies are looking to vendors outside the U.S. to avoid the NSA. Continue reading Verizon: Big Corporations Still Moving to the Public Cloud

Cyber Command Outlines Strategy for Protecting Networks

The chief of the military’s new Cyber Command spoke to Congress on Tuesday, explaining that he is establishing 13 teams of programmers and computer experts that could potentially carry out offensive cyberattacks on foreign nations if the U.S. were hit with a major attack on its networks. This marks the first time the Obama administration publicly admitted to developing such a strategy. Continue reading Cyber Command Outlines Strategy for Protecting Networks

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