Award-winning security research reveals a host of never-seen, currently unblockable web-tracking techniques

Who Left Open the Cookie Jar? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Third-Party Cookie Policies won the Distinguished Paper prize at this year's Usenix Security Conference; its authors, researchers at Belgium's Catholic University in Leuven, revealed a host of devastating, never-seen tracking techniques for identifying web-users who were using privacy tools supplied by browser-vendors and third-party tracking-blocking tools. Read the rest

Talking the hard questions of privacy and freedom with the Yale Privacy Lab podcast

This week, I sat down for an hour-long interview with the Yale Privacy Lab's Sean O'Brien (MP3); Sean is a frequent Boing Boing contributor and I was honored that he invited me to be his guest on the very first episode of the Lab's new podcast. Read the rest

Stylistic analysis can de-anonymize code, even compiled code

A presentation today at Defcon from Drexel computer science prof Rachel Greenstadt and GWU computer sicence prof Aylin Caliskan builds on the pair's earlier work in identifying the authors of software and shows that they can, with a high degree of accuracy, identify the anonymous author of software, whether in source-code or binary form. Read the rest

UK security minister proposes "Digital IDs" to enforce online civility

Ben Wallach is Theresa May's security minister; he has proposed that the UK follow China's example and require that any place providing internet access use bank-account verification to affirmatively identify all the people who use the internet so they can be punished for bullying. Read the rest

Uganda's unenforceable social media tax is augmented by a biometric requirement for SIM card purchases

Uganda's social media tax may be an unenforceable mess, but that doesn't make it harmless (it opens the door to selective enforcement and invites programs of censorship and mass surveillance in the name of fighting "tax evasion") but that's only half of dictator Yoweri Museveni's plan to control the internet. Read the rest

Attacks that unmask anonymous blockchain transactions can be used against everyone who ever relied on the defective technique

In An Empirical Analysis of Traceability in the Monero Blockchain, a group of eminent computer scientists analyze a longstanding privacy defect in the Monero cryptocurrency, and reveal a new, subtle flaw, both of which can be used to potentially reveal the details of transactions and identify their parties. Read the rest

Happy Data Privacy Day! A turning point for anonymity, privacy, and the tools that deliver them

Last week, we celebrated Data Privacy day. Everything we do online—whether on a computer or on a mobile device—is being tracked, traced, compiled, crunched, bought and sold by familiar tech-titans like Google, Facebook, Verizon and hundreds of lesser known data brokers who help advertisers build frighteningly detailed digital profiles of users by harvesting data from a variety of sources, including customer databases and online platforms. After I lecture to my students on this topic, rattling off a dozen mechanisms by which corporations and governments can spy and pry on us, threating both anonymity and privacy, their reaction is usually either indifference (because, you know, they think they have nothing to hide) or for those that I’ve convinced they should care, some measure of despair.

The New York Times is now a Tor onion service

The New York Times is now available as an "Onion Service" on the Tor network, at the address https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion/ -- meaning that anyone with Tor access can securely and privately access the Times without giving away any information about what they're looking at, even to state-level actors who control the ISPs. Read the rest

Cyber-arms dealer offers $1m for zero-day Tor hacks

Zerodium is a cyber-arms dealer that produces hacking tools for governments by buying up newly discovered defects in widely used systems, weaponizing them and then selling them to be used against criminals, activists, journalists and other targets of state surveillance. Read the rest

Securing the IoT: a tele-dildo controlled through the Tor network

Security researcher Sarah Jamie Lewis wanted to demonstrate that the horrific stories of insecure networked sex-toys (and other Internet of Things devices) was the result of manufacturers' negligence, not the intrinsic limitations of information security. Read the rest

Reidentification attack reveals German judge's porn-browsing habits

In their Defcon 25 presentation, "Dark Data", journalist Svea Eckert and data scientist Andreas Dewes described how easy it was to get a massive trove of "anonymized" browsing habits (collected by browser plugins) and then re-identify the people in the data-set, discovering (among other things), the porn-browsing habits of a German judge and the medication regime of a German MP. Read the rest

What not to do when you're anonymous, if you want to stay that way

If you're using an anonymity tool -- Tor or something like it -- to be anonymous on the internet, it's really easy to screw it up and do something that would allow an adversary of varying degrees of power (up to and including powerful governments) to unmask you. Read the rest

The basic opsec failures that unmasked James Comey's Twitter show how hard this stuff is

Gizmodo's Ashley Feinberg (almost certainly) figured out that James Comey's secret Twitter handle was @projectexile7, because America's top G-man failed at some of the most basic elements of operational security. Read the rest

It's very hard to maintain an anonymous Twitter account that can withstand government-level attempts to de-anonymize it

It's one thing to set up an "anonymous" Twitter Hulk account whose anonymity your friends and colleagues can't pierce, because the combination of your care not to tweet identifying details, the stilted Hulk syntax, and your friends' inability to surveil the global internet and compel phone companies to give up their caller records suffice for that purpose. Read the rest

How to keep your secret activist Twitter account a secret

Despite his widely read criticism of Tor, The Gruqq -- a legendary, pseudonymous security expert -- uses it as first and last line of defense in keeping your secret, activist Twitter account a secret. Read the rest

It's awesome to see all these "rogue" government agency Twitter accounts, but what about hoaxes?

In the immediate aftermath of the Trump administration's gag orders on government employees disclosing taxpayer-funded research results, a series of high-profile "rogue" government agency accounts popped up on Twitter, purporting to be managed by civil servants who are unwilling to abide by the gag order. Read the rest

Barcelona government officially endorses Tor-based whistleblower platform

Xnet, a wonderful Spanish activist group, has created the Anti-Corruption Complaint Box, a whistleblowing platform for the city of Barcelona that allows people to file anonymous claims in a Globalleaks repository, with their anonymity protected by Tor. Read the rest

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