The Intercept just published an amazing article by Jim Bamford yesterday talking
about how the NSA exploited a backdoor in Vodafone to spy on Greek
politicians and journalists during the 2004 Olympics.
Bamford is an American author and journalist best known for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, and in particular the National Security Agency.
In a meticulous investigation, Bamford reports at the Intercept that the NSA was behind the notorious, legendary “Athens Affair”. After the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government discovered that an unknown attacker had hacked into Vodafone’s “lawful intercept” system, the phone company’s method of wiretapping voice calls. The attacker spied on phone calls of the president and other Greek politicians and journalists before the hack was found out.
Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm wrote for the Guardian about why this is exactly why encryption backdoors are so
What are encryption backdoors? For non-techie readers, basically these are ways the government can unencrypt your "locked" communications if they decide they want to see your private material for any secret reason.
And in related news, rumor has it the White House is nearing a decision on
whether to embrace the right to encryption for American citizens, or join the FBI in calling for backdoors.
Dozens of civil liberties groups, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched this site
and petition today that feeds into the White House petition system: savecrypto.org.
If you care about this issue, right now is the time to take action. Read the rest
It seems pretty clear the next battle in Congress will almost certainly be over encryption.
The update allows users to post their public email encryption key on their Facebook profile, so others can encrypt future emails to that user.
EFF, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Free Software Foundation and The Tor Project have launched The Tor Challenge
, a campaign to encourage people to run Tor nodes. "Tor is a powerful tool that helps you stay anonymous online. It can protect your privacy as you browse the Internet and circumvent government censorship of the webpages you visit. We need your help to keep Tor strong. Run a Tor relay today." Here's how to get started
. Read the rest
Amy Goodman at Democracy Now interviewed Ladar Levison, founder/owner/operator of Lavabit, the security-focused email service Edward Snowden used to invite attendees to a Moscow press conference; the service was abruptly closed last week with an explanation pointing to US government interference. He joined the show from Washington DC with his lawyer, Jesse Binnall. Goodman asks Levison to explain why he closed the company:
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"A World War Two code found strapped to the leg of a dead pigeon stuck in a chimney for the last 70 years may never be broken
, a British intelligence agency said on Friday." Read the rest
Cryptocat Adventure! from Nadim Kobeissi on Vimeo.
Sean Bonner shared this cute video for Cryptocat, a web-based service that enables secure, encrypted online chatting and file transfer between two parties.
The creator of Cryptocat, a 22-year old named Nadim Kobeissi, says Cryptocat has earned him the dreaded "SSSS" mark of suspicion on his boarding passes. From Wired:
When he flies through the US, he’s generally had the notorious “SSSS” printed on his boarding pass, marking him for searches and interrogations — which Kobeissi says have focused on his development of the chat client.
His SSSS’s can mean hours of waiting, and Kobeissi says he has been searched, questioned, had his bags and even his passport taken away and returned later. But he’s kept his sense of humor about the experience, even joking from the airport on his Twitter account.
Cryptocat Read the rest
After seizing an encrypted laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu
, prosecutors headed into difficult waters: could she be forced to unlock it? A judge ordered her to give up the password, raising issues of unreasonable search and seizure and the right not to incriminate oneself. Fricosu's lawyers suggested she had forgotten it, but a showdown was averted: she either turned the password over or they figured it out some other way
. [Wired] Read the rest
The foundation of Web security rests on the notion that two very large prime numbers, numbers divisible only by themselves and 1, once multiplied together are irreducibly difficult to tease back apart. Researchers have discovered, in some cases, that a lack of entropy—a lack of disorder in the selection of prime numbers—means by analogy that most buildings on the Web would stand in spite of gale winds and magnitude 10 earthquakes, while others can be pushed over with a finger or a breath. The weakness affects as many as 4 in 1,000 publicly available secured Web servers, but it appears in practice that few to no popular Web sites are at risk.
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Seth Schoen at the EFF has a suggestion for an extra New Year's Resolution: Full-disk encryption on all your computers
. Read the rest