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  1. The FBI will be able to snoop on your free Zoom calls, unless you pay for the company’s premium service, which offers end-to-end encryption. In brief Zoom is building end-to-end encryption for its video calls, but only for its premium users. The decision to keep free calls encrypted was in order to comply with the FBI. Zoom may allow users to verify their ID to get access to such encryption in the future. Communications company Zoom has no intentions of adding end-to-end encryption to Zoom calls for its free users, in order to appease the FBI. Meanwhile, it is developing such end-to-end encryption for its commercial clients, thanks to its acquisition of Keybase last month. "Free users for sure we don't want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose," Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said during a Zoom conference call on Wednesday. Zoom has morphed into an indispensable service amid the coronavirus outbreak. With citizens in lockdown, the typical meetings of the 9-5 grind have migrated online. But while this has been a significant boon for the communications firm, it hasn't been without its pitfalls. In recent months Zoom's security protocols have come under tremendous strain. This global stress test exposed a myriad of security issues and provoked privacy snafus in excess. In April, the company's claimed method of end-to-end encryption was deflated, as it was found that Zoom had access to unencrypted user data. Soon after, reports revealed that hackers could steal passwords from Zoom's vulnerable Windows client. Zooming off This news isn't sitting too well with some. Businesses have already started boycotting Zoom in opposition to the service's lack of privacy controls. Most notable was SpaceX, which banned its employee from using Zoom in April, citing "significant privacy and security concerns." Now, after this latest apparent affront, others are jumping on the bandwagon. "I just cancelled my @zoom_us subscription for my law firm, which I had recently purchased to assist with doing remote consultations with clients during the COVID-19 lockdown," tweeted attorney Joel Alan Gaffney in response to Zoom's announcement. Journalist Adam L. Penenberg also condemned the move. "Because people who can afford to pay for Zoom don't commit crimes?" he quipped. Nevertheless, according to a Zoom spokesperson speaking to The Independent, the company intends to provide end-to-end encryption to users who verify their identity. Whether this will extend to free users is unknown—but there may still be hope yet. Source
  2. There’s a story in the Washington Post “Cybersecurity 202” newsletter that confirms that the Department of Justice is capitalizing on the techlash in order to build up congressional support for the DOJ’s long-desired goal of legislation that will restrict your freedom to encrypt your data and communications. The Post reports that, according to assistant attorney general for national security John Demers, the DOJ has given up hope that tech companies will “voluntarily” backdoor their own encryption, as the agency had been pressing them to do since around 2016. Instead, the DOJ is now “focusing on getting legislation that forces companies to cooperate – and is hoping encryption-limiting laws in Australia and the United Kingdom will ease the path for a similar law in the United States.” Why now? What’s changed since 2016, when we had the great Apple vs. FBI showdown? According to Demers, two things: (1) the “techlash” by Congress and the public “in the wake of myriad privacy scandals” and the 2016 election; and (2) Australia’s 2018 passage of the Assistance and Access Act, which followed on the heels of similar legislation in the United Kingdom in 2016. Demers “hopes these laws will create a model for how lawmakers in the United States might limit encryption.” These two factors lay out, straight from the horse’s mouth, what I’ve been saying for a while. It comes as something of a relief for a high-ranking DOJ official to finally acknowledge publicly the playbook I could see they were running to try to get Congress to finally ban strong encryption. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. I explained last month that the techlash has now gained enough momentum that law enforcement may have a fighting chance of getting its anti-encryption wish, under the guise of protecting children, in the form of a terrible bill called the EARN IT Act. That bill doesn’t look much like Australia’s Assistance and Access Act or the UK’s IP Act -- in fact it doesn’t mention the word “encryption” at all -- but right now it’s the lead contender for the DOJ to get an “encryption-limiting law” passed in the U.S. Exploiting the techlash is a strategy I’ve been calling law enforcement out for since October 2017. It’s incredibly frustrating for me to see that this obvious ploy is working so well. AAG Demers admitted that the DOJ thinks it can persuade congressmembers to be angry at tech companies over encryption because they’re already mad at those companies for violating users’ privacy. But this, let’s call it, transitive rage contradicts itself. Why? Because encryption protects user privacy. It doesn’t just do that; indeed, information security experts have had to push back for years against the overly simplistic “security versus privacy” framing to emphasize that the encryption debate is primarily a question of “security versus security.” Nevertheless, privacy certainly is one of the main interests that encryption protects. And it doesn’t just shield your data and conversations from criminals and snoops: it can even shield them from the eyes of the entity that provided the encryption. For example, when you use a chat app such as WhatsApp that end-to-end encrypts your conversations by default, not even the app provider (Facebook, in the case of WhatsApp) can read your messages or listen in on your calls. So, if you’re mad at Facebook for invading your privacy, you should be glad that they use encryption that prevents them from snooping on your WhatsApp conversations, and that they’re planning the same for their other messaging services too. Thus, the DOJ’s strategy is obviously just trying to sow confusion among the public and Congress by mixing up the issues: conflating tech companies’ privacy violations with tech companies’ privacy-protective encryption, as I pointed out in a recent press article. Even Senator Graham, the author of the EARN IT Act bill, admitted in that very same article that this doesn’t make any sense: “When asked whether he saw any tension between Capitol Hill’s ongoing effort to pass privacy legislation and its burgeoning push to mandate encryption backdoors,” Graham admitted he saw “‘a lot.’” So, if even Senator Graham can see through the DOJ’s ploy to elicit what I’m calling transitive rage, why is it working? The answer might be: children. Per the Post today (and me last fall), “Justice officials have also shifted their messaging on encryption, talking less about the danger of terrorists recruiting and planning operations outside law enforcement's view and more about the threat of a surge in child predators sharing illicit images or luring children on social media.” Congress seems receptive to this child-safety messaging. Legislators expect Big Tech to protect the privacy of users, including children. Encryption shields users’ privacy. Simultaneously, they also expect Big Tech to be able to detect the bad guys on their services, including those who are hurting children. But encryption shields the bad guys too. How to resolve this dilemma? Previously, the answer from Congress was “do nothing,” both on passing an anti-encryption law -- something for which Congress has heretofore shown no appetite -- and on passing comprehensive federal privacy legislation. But the tide has shifted, the Hill is awash in the techlash, and the DOJ has succeeded in equating being pro-encryption with being anti-child safety. If pedophiles benefit from strong encryption built in by default to popular software and devices, then, according to Senator Graham, nobody should get that benefit anymore. (Never mind that it won’t work out the way he thinks.) In a Congress already dithering over passing a federal privacy law, the child safety rationale may prevail, at the expense of the many interests that encryption protects -- privacy not least among them. Maybe Graham, in acknowledging the dilemma of demanding both privacy and encryption backdoors simultaneously, was really just tacitly admitting that when 327 million Americans’ privacy is pitted against the rhetorical power of “think of the children,” privacy loses. Overall, the attitude from Congress in 2020 seems to be, to paraphrase Michael Pollan: “Protect users. Not too much. Mostly kids.” It is likewise unsurprising yet disappointing that DOJ views Australia’s stupid law as clearing the way to make anti-encryption legislation palatable to the U.S. Congress. In October 2018, I warned that the passage of the Australian law (then a pending bill) would likely have a domino effect on other Five Eyes countries, including the U.S. By passing the bill in December 2018, “Australia set an example of a Western democracy passing legislation that undermined encryption, making it look like that’s normal and OK,” I said last summer. It’s not OK, even if it becomes normal. Of the DOJ officials currently rejoicing over the opening Australia and the UK have given them to finally shove anti-encryption legislation through Congress, how many have ever said to their children, “And if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” The DOJ wants the U.S. to take a blinkered view of how governments should handle the topic of encryption. In July 2018, I had predicted that the DOJ would place itself in an echo chamber where it would listen to “only other countries whose governments have adopted anti-encryption stances,” specifically Australia and the UK, while ignoring countries that have come out more strongly in favor of encryption, such as Germany. That seems to be what’s happening now: the DOJ wants America to imitate Australia, when Germany’s federal Office of Information Security just today issued a set of proposed requirements for smartphones that require full-disk encryption. This shows that another way is possible than the path chosen by the UK and Australia. The German approach may have much to teach the U.S. It is dangerous for DOJ to urge Congress to stick its head in the sand and refuse to listen. Yet here we are. With the disastrous EARN IT Act bill about to drop, the DOJ is openly and pointedly taking the gloves off in the encryption fight. But make no mistake: once the DOJ throws its knock-out punch, it’ll be your privacy and security that hit the floor. Source
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  5. By Edward Snowden In every country of the world, the security of computers keeps the lights on, the shelves stocked, the dams closed, and transportation running. For more than half a decade, the vulnerability of our computers and computer networks has been ranked the number one risk in the US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment – that’s higher than terrorism, higher than war. Your bank balance, the local hospital’s equipment, and the 2020 US presidential election, among many, many other things, all depend on computer safety. And yet, in the midst of the greatest computer security crisis in history, the US government, along with the governments of the UK and Australia, is attempting to undermine the only method that currently exists for reliably protecting the world’s information: encryption. Should they succeed in their quest to undermine encryption, our public infrastructure and private lives will be rendered permanently unsafe. In the simplest terms, encryption is a method of protecting information, the primary way to keep digital communications safe. Every email you write, every keyword you type into a search box – every embarrassing thing you do online – is transmitted across an increasingly hostile internet. Earlier this month the US, alongside the UK and Australia, called on Facebook to create a “backdoor”, or fatal flaw, into its encrypted messaging apps, which would allow anyone with the key to that backdoor unlimited access to private communications. So far, Facebook has resisted this. If internet traffic is unencrypted, any government, company, or criminal that happens to notice it can – and, in fact, does – steal a copy of it, secretly recording your information for ever. If, however, you encrypt this traffic, your information cannot be read: only those who have a special decryption key can unlock it. I know a little about this, because for a time I operated part of the US National Security Agency’s global system of mass surveillance. In June 2013 I worked with journalists to reveal that system to a scandalised world. Without encryption I could not have written the story of how it all happened – my book Permanent Record – and got the manuscript safely across borders that I myself can’t cross. More importantly, encryption helps everyone from reporters, dissidents, activists, NGO workers and whistleblowers, to doctors, lawyers and politicians, to do their work – not just in the world’s most dangerous and repressive countries, but in every single country. When I came forward in 2013, the US government wasn’t just passively surveilling internet traffic as it crossed the network, but had also found ways to co-opt and, at times, infiltrate the internal networks of major American tech companies. At the time, only a small fraction of web traffic was encrypted: six years later, Facebook, Google and Apple have made encryption-by-default a central part of their products, with the result that today close to 80% of web traffic is encrypted. Even the former director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, credits the revelation of mass surveillance with significantly advancing the commercial adoption of encryption. The internet is more secure as a result. Too secure, in the opinion of some governments. Donald Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, who authorised one of the earliest mass surveillance programmes without reviewing whether it was legal, is now signalling an intention to halt – or even roll back – the progress of the last six years. WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook, already uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE): in March the company announced its intention to incorporate E2EE into its other messaging apps – Facebook Messenger and Instagram – as well. Now Barr is launching a public campaign to prevent Facebook from climbing this next rung on the ladder of digital security. This began with an open letter co-signed by Barr, UK home secretary Priti Patel, Australia’s minister for home affairs and the US secretary of homeland security, demanding Facebook abandon its encryption proposals. If Barr’s campaign is successful, the communications of billions will remain frozen in a state of permanent insecurity: users will be vulnerable by design. And those communications will be vulnerable not only to investigators in the US, UK and Australia, but also to the intelligence agencies of China, Russia and Saudi Arabia – not to mention hackers around the world. End-to-end encrypted communication systems are designed so that messages can be read only by the sender and their intended recipients, even if the encrypted – meaning locked – messages themselves are stored by an untrusted third party, for example, a social media company such as Facebook. The central improvement E2EE provides over older security systems is in ensuring the keys that unlock any given message are only ever stored on the specific devices at the end-points of a communication – for example the phones of the sender or receiver of the message – rather than the middlemen who own the various internet platforms enabling it. Since E2EE keys aren’t held by these intermediary service providers, they can no longer be stolen in the event of the massive corporate data breaches that are so common today, providing an essential security benefit. In short, E2EE enables companies such as Facebook, Google or Apple to protect their users from their scrutiny: by ensuring they no longer hold the keys to our most private conversations, these corporations become less of an all-seeing eye than a blindfolded courier. It is striking that when a company as potentially dangerous as Facebook appears to be at least publicly willing to implement technology that makes users safer by limiting its own power, it is the US government that cries foul. This is because the government would suddenly become less able to treat Facebook as a convenient trove of private lives. The true explanation for why the US, UK and Australian governments want to do away with end-to-end encryption is less about public safety than it is about power: E2EE gives control to individuals and the devices they use to send, receive and encrypt communications, not to the companies and carriers that route them. This, then, would require government surveillance to become more targeted and methodical, rather than indiscriminate and universal. What this shift jeopardises is strictly nations’ ability to spy on populations at mass scale, at least in a manner that requires little more than paperwork. By limiting the amount of personal records and intensely private communications held by companies, governments are returning to classic methods of investigation that are both effective and rights-respecting, in lieu of total surveillance. In this outcome we remain not only safe, but free. To justify its opposition to encryption, the US government has, as is traditional, invoked the spectre of the web’s darkest forces. Without total access to the complete history of every person’s activity on Facebook, the government claims it would be unable to investigate terrorists, drug dealers money launderers and the perpetrators of child abuse – bad actors who, in reality, prefer not to plan their crimes on public platforms, especially not on US-based ones that employ some of the most sophisticated automatic filters and reporting methods available. • Edward Snowden is former CIA officer and whistleblower, and author of Permanent Record. He is president of the board of directors of the Freedom of the Press Foundation Source
  6. Last week, Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray chose to spend some of their time giving speeches demonizing encryption and calling for the creation of backdoors to allow the government access to encrypted data. You should not spend any of your time listening to them. Don’t be mistaken; the threat to encryption remains high. Australia and the United Kingdom already have laws in place that can enable those governments to undermine encryption, while other countries may follow. And it’s definitely dangerous when senior U.S. law enforcement officials talk about encryption the way Barr and Wray did. The reason to ignore these speeches is that DOJ and FBI have not proven themselves credible on this issue. Instead, they have a long track record of exaggeration and even false statements in support of their position. That should be a bar to convincing anyone—especially Congress—that government backdoors are a good idea. Barr expressed confidence in the tech sector’s “ingenuity” to design a backdoor for law enforcement that will stand up to any unauthorized access, paying no mind to the broad technical and academic consensus in the field that this risk is unavoidable. As the prominent cryptographer and Johns Hopkins University computer science professor Matt Green pointed out on Twitter, the Attorney General made sweeping, impossible-to-support claims that digital security would be largely unaffected by introducing new backdoors. Although Barr paid the barest lip service to the benefits of encryption—two sentences in a 4,000 word speech—he ignored numerous ways encryption protects us all, including preserving not just digital but physical security for the most vulnerable users. For all of Barr and Wray’s insistence that encryption poses a challenge to law enforcement, you might expect that that would be the one area where they’d have hard facts and statistics to back up their claims, but you’d be wrong. Both officials asserted it’s a massive problem, but they largely relied on impossible-to-fact-check stories and counterfactuals. If the problem is truly as big as they say, why can’t they provide more evidence? One answer is that prior attempts at proof just haven’t held up. Some prime examples of the government’s false claims about encryption arose out of the 2016 legal confrontation between Apple and the FBI following the San Bernardino attack. Then-FBI Director James Comey and others portrayed the encryption on Apple devices as an unbreakable lock that stood in the way of public safety and national security. In court and in Congress, these officials said they had no means of accessing an encrypted iPhone short of compelling Apple to reengineer its operating system to bypass key security features. But a later special inquiry by the DOJ Office of the Inspector General revealed that technical divisions within the FBI were already working with an outside vendor to unlock the phone even as the government pursued its legal battle with Apple. In other words, Comey’s statements to Congress and the press about the case—as well as sworn court declarations by other FBI officials—were untrue at the time they were made. Wray, Comey’s successor as FBI Director, has also engaged in considerable overstatement about law enforcement’s troubles with encryption. In congressional testimony and public speeches, Wray repeatedly pointed to almost 8,000 encrypted phones that he said were inaccessible to the FBI in 2017 alone. Last year, the Washington Post reported that this number was inflated due to a “programming error.” EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking to understand the true nature of the hindrance encryption posed in these cases, but the government refused to produce any records. But in their speeches last week, neither Barr nor Wray acknowledged the government’s failure of candor during the Apple case or its aftermath. They didn’t mention the case at all. Instead, they ask us to turn the page and trust anew. You should refuse. Let’s hope Congress does too. Source: The EFF
  7. NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said Tuesday that increased encryption of data on phones and computers and encrypted messaging apps are putting American security at risk. Barr’s comments at a cybersecurity conference mark a continuing effort by the Justice Department to push tech companies to provide law enforcement with access to encrypted devices and applications during investigations. “There have been enough dogmatic pronouncements that lawful access simply cannot be done,” Barr said. “It can be, and it must be.” The attorney general said law enforcement is increasingly unable to access information on devices, and between devices in the virtual world, even with a warrant supporting probable cause of criminal activity. Barr said that terrorists and cartels often will switch mid-communication to an encrypted application to plan especially deadly operations. He described a transnational drug cartel’s use of WhatsApp group chat to specifically coordinate murders of Mexico-based police officials. Gail Kent, Facebook’s global public policy lead on security, recently said that allowing the government’s ability to gain access to encrypted communications would jeopardize cybersecurity for millions of law-abiding people who rely on it. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. “It’s impossible to create any backdoor that couldn’t be discovered, and exploited, by bad actors,” Kent said. Kent said changing encryption practices won’t stop bad actors from using encrypted devices or applications on other services that might pop up to enable this. Encrypted communications are ones that are only available to users on either end of the communications. The increasing use of this technology has long been coined by the Justice Department as the “going dark” problem. The remarks acknowledged the need for encryption to ensure overall cybersecurity that has enabled people to bank relatively securely online and engage in e-commerce. Barr said that to date, law enforcement in Garland, Texas, have been unable to access 100 instant messages sent between terrorists who carried out an attack there. “The status quo is exceptionally dangerous, it is unacceptable and only getting worse,” Barr said. “It’s time for the United States to stop debating whether to address it and start talking about how to address it.” Ex-FBI director James Comey championed the need for a law enforcement workaround to encrypted devices and communications. He led a highly publicized push to gain access to an iPhone belonging to a perpetrator of a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people in 2015. From the Senate floor on Tuesday, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., responded to Barr’s remarks in New York calling it an “outrageous, wrongheaded and dangerous proposal.” Wyden said Barr wants to “blow a hole” in a critical security feature for Americans’ digital lives by trying to undermine strong encryption and advocating for government backdoors into the personal devices of Americans. He said strong encryption helps keep health records, personal communications and other sensitive data secure from hackers. “Once you weaken encryption with a backdoor, you make it far easier for criminals, hackers and predators to get into your digital life,” Wyden said. He said he fears and expects that Barr and President Donald Trump would abuse the power to break encryption if they were allowed to do so. Given their records “it is clear to me that they cannot be trusted with this kind of power,” Wyden said. Source
  8. The common belief that encryption enables bad behavior primarily used by thieves, international terrorists, and other villainous characters is simply not true. Here's why. Encryption engenders passionate opinions and reactions from a variety of government regulators, technologists, and privacy and security advocates. It's become the de facto standard of online commerce and communication, embraced by technocrats and security pros everywhere. Conversely, some governments routinely seek to destabilize encryption through legislation, regulation, or dictatorial fiat. A common approach is to require device manufacturers and technology providers to implement "backdoors" in an attempt to break end-to-end encryption in order to surveil conversations deemed high risk. Such efforts are generally met with strong objections from privacy rights advocates. There is also an evolving focus on user privacy, perhaps most prominently triggered by the passage of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, but now surging in many other parts of the world. Regulations and user concerns are forcing shifts in technology vendor practices, for example: Apple's announcements at their recent Worldwide Developer Conference declaring data privacy as a fundamental human right that will be central to all Apple products; The pullback by Google to restrict third-party developers' access to Google user data that previously had been accessible; and Facebook amending its corporate privacy stance given numerous recent scandals. These threads are converging, putting encryption at the center of major business, government, and societal shifts. The fact is that encryption is a highly reliable method of safeguarding devices and information in the digital age. It is, in effect, the foundation of modern computing and collaboration. While it can't serve as a comprehensive security solution for all issues an enterprise may face, it does offer a powerful backstop when intrusions and breaches occur. For instance, you might think of encryption as relevant for protecting digital assets from being stolen. But cybercriminals are very savvy and continually up the cat-and-mouse security game; in reality, company assets are stolen every day. It's better to acknowledge that every asset, whether it resides on a corporate website, a government database, or elsewhere, is at risk of compromise. When compromise occurs, encryption is the last layer of defense, preventing thieves from utilizing what's been taken. Just in recent weeks, we've seen several reports of high-profile breaches involving sensitive customer information: A massive American Medical Collections Agency data breach ensnared data from medial testing giants Quest Diagnostics (11.9 million patient records) and Lab Corp (7.7 million patient records). Real estate title insurance giant First American Financial leaked hundreds of millions of digitized customer documents. There was also research published by Digital Shadows reporting 2.3 billion files stolen. Additional research from the vpnMentor research team revealed 11 million photos were exposed due to a misconfigured cloud service. While these breaches are filling headlines and causing ongoing customer worries, the situation would likely be quite different had these files been encrypted. Encryption's Mistaken Beliefs & Unintended Consequences If we consider government backdoor access demands, aside from the privacy concerns, imposing such actions actually could have unintended and contradictory consequences. For example, a government might compel a mobile phone manufacturer to install a backdoor that breaks encryption in high-risk situations such as terrorism incidents. But once such a mechanism exists, it is implausible in this active cyber threat environment that only that government entity would be able to access and utilize it. Realistically, it will be utilized by both good and bad actors, and is ultimately likely to cause more problems than obviating the problem it was originally intended to solve. There are a few other common but erroneous beliefs about encryption that need to be dispelled. One is that because it's so hard to use, only sophisticated users can take advantage of it. Practically speaking, encryption is no longer just about locking down hard drives. It's now about protecting information at the point of creation and then being able to dynamically update policies around that data wherever it goes. Modern approaches can actually make this fairly simple to apply. Another mistaken belief is that encryption is easily breakable. While sophisticated nation-states can harness the significant processing power needed to decrypt protected assets, that's not a common situation. Frankly, it's just easier for attackers to move on to other targets with unencrypted data stores. Finally, there's a common belief that encryption enables a lot of bad behavior — that it's only used by thieves, international terrorists, and other villainous characters. This is simply not true. Encryption is actually central to our digital lives and enables trillions of dollars of secure commerce from banking transactions to the myriad online consumer and enterprise services we all utilize on a daily basis. Encryption forms the essential underpinning of our virtual world. With the emotion that often gets packed into discussions and decisions about how encryption should be used, it's important to pause, separate fact from fiction, and responsibly apply this powerful tool to advance the security of the systems and data that enable our modern lifestyles. Source
  9. The latest chapter of a largely behind-the-scenes encryption fight unfolded on Wednesday when Trump administration officials held a National Security Council meeting focused on the challenges and benefits of encryption, according to a report in Politico. One of Politico’s sources said that the meeting was split into two camps: Decide, create and publicize the administration’s position on encryption or go so far as to ask Congress for legislation to ban end-to-end encryption. That would be a huge escalation in the encryption fight and, moreover, would probably be unsuccessful due to a lack of willpower in Congress. No decision was made by the Trump administration officials, Politico reported. The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Not too long ago, encryption was a front page issue. Apple and the FBI fought an open and loud battle over encryption in 2015 and, during a campaign speech, then-candidate Donald Trump proposed a boycott of Apple that never materialized. In the United States, the issue has become an important behind-closed-doors topic of discussion. FBI Director Chris Wray earlier this year described ongoing conversations between the federal government and technology giants about the issue of encryption. “It can’t be a sustainable end state for there to be an entirely unfettered space that’s utterly beyond law enforcement for criminals to hide,” Wray said. “We have to figure out a way to deal with this problem.” He continued by saying that he is “hearing increasingly that there are solutions” for strong encryption that opens the targeted data to law enforcement. However, he gave no specific examples of what that means. The fact that these discussions are ongoing both within the White House and with Silicon Valley shows that the issue is still very much alive within the corridors of power. Earlier this year, a court battle unfolded when the U.S. government tried to compel Facebook to decrypt Facebook Messenger’s encryption in a criminal investigation. The judge on the case, however, ruled that the details would be kept secret. Outside of the United States, a lot has happened since encryption was in the headlines two years ago. Most notably, Australia passed an encryption law in December 2018 requiring companies to give law enforcement and security agencies access to encrypted data like Facebook’s WhatsApp or Apple’s iMessage. It’s considered a landmark test being watched closely by governments and technology companies around the world. In Europe, Germany — a country famous for its world-leading privacy policies — is closely considering its own encryption policy at the moment. What exactly that ultimately means in Germany, Europe, and around the world, however, remains unclear. Source
  10. source Flaws in Popular SSD Drives Bypass Hardware Disk Encryption By Lawrence Abrams November 5, 2018 01:56 PM 8 Researchers have found flaws that can be exploited to bypass hardware decryption without a password in well known and popular SSD drives. In a new report titled "Self-encrypting deception: weaknesses in the encryption of solid state drives (SSDs)", researchers Carlo Meijer and Bernard van Gastel from Radboud University explain how they were able to to modify the firmware or use a debugging interface to modify the password validation routine in SSD drives to decrypt hardware encrypted data without a password. The researchers tested these methods against well known and popular SSD drives such as the Crucial MX100, Crucial MX200, Crucial MX300, Samsung 840 EVO, Samsung 850 EVO, Samsung T3 Portable, and Samsung T5 Portable and were able to illustrate methods to access the encrypted drive's data. "We have analyzed the hardware full-disk encryption of several SSDs by reverse engineering their firmware," stated the report. "In theory, the security guarantees offered by hardware encryption are similar to or better than software implementations. In reality, we found that many hardware implementations have critical security weaknesses, for many models allowing for complete recovery of the data without knowledge of any secret." To make matters worse, as Windows' BitLocker software encryption will default to hard drive encryption if supported, it can be bypassed using the same discovered flaws. Accessing encrypted files without knowing the password To bypass decryption passwords, the researchers utilized a variety of techniques depending on whether debug ports were available, the ATA Security self-encrypting drive (SED) standard was being used, or if the newer TCG Opal SED specification was being used. These flaws were responsibly disclosed to Crucial and Samsung to give them time to prepare firmware updates. New firmware is availble for Crucial SSD drives, while Samsung has only released new firmwarefor their T3 and T5 Portable SSD drives. For their non-portable drives (EVO), they recommend that users utilize software encryption instead. Crucial MX 100, Crucial MX 200, & Samsung T3 Portable For the Crucial MX 100, Crucial MX 200, and Samsung T3 Portable SSD drives, the researchers were able to connect to the drive's JTAG debugging interfaces and modify the password validation routine so that it always validates as successful regardless of the password that is entered. This allows them to enter any password and have the drive unlocked. JTAG Interface Crucial MX300 SSD Drive The Crucial MX300 also has a JTAG debugging port, but it is disabled on the drive. Therefore, the researchers had to rely on a more complicated routine of flashing the device with a modified firmware that allows them to perform various routines, which ultimately allow them to either decrypt the password or authenticate to the device using an empty password. Samsung 840 EVO and Samsung 850 EVO SSD Drives Depending on which SED specification is used, the researchers were able to access the encrypted data by either connecting to the JTAG debug port and modifying the password validation routine or by using a wear-level issue that allows that them to recover the cryptographic secrets needed to unlock the drive from a previous unlocked instance. The Samsung 850 EVO does not have the wear-level issue, so would need to rely on the modification of the password-validation routine through the debug port. BitLocker fails by defaulting to hardware encryption Most modern operating systems provide software encryption that allows a user to perform whole disk encryption. While software decryption offered by Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS offer strong software encryption, BitLocker on Windows falls prey to the SSD flaw by defaulting to hardware encryption when available. When using BitLocker to encrypt a disk in Windows, if the operating system detects a SSD drive with hardware encryption, it will automatically default to using it. This allows drives encrypted by BitLocker using hardware encryption to be decrypted by the same flaws discussed above. BitLocker software encryption on the other hand has no known and verifiable flaws that allow users to bypass password authentication. In order to prevent the use of SSD hardware encryption, the researchers suggest that users disable its use using a Windows Group Policy at "Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\BitLocker Drive Encryption\Operating System Drives" called "Configure use of hardware-based encryption for operating system drives". Windows Policy to disable Hardware Encryption This policy is also available for removable and fixed data drives and should be disabled for them as well to enforce software encryption. Before software encryption will be used, after you change these policies you must first completely decrypt the drive and then enable BitLocker again to use software encryption. Update 11/6/18: Microsoft has issued an advisory related to BitLocker and discovered flaws in SSD hardware encryption. This advisory contains mitigation information "Microsoft is aware of reports of vulnerabilities in the hardware encryption of certain self-encrypting drives (SEDs). Customers concerned about this issue should consider using the software only encryption provided by BitLocker Drive Encryption™. On Windows computers with self-encrypting drives, BitLocker Drive Encryption™ manages encryption and will use hardware encryption by default. Administrators who want to force software encryption on computers with self-encrypting drives can accomplish this by deploying a Group Policy to override the default behavior. Windows will consult Group Policy to enforce software encryption only at the time of enabling BitLocker."
  11. If you want to secure the data on your computer, one of the most important steps you can take is encrypting its hard drive. That way, if your laptop gets lost or stolen—or someone can get to it when you're not around—everything remains protected and inaccessible. But researchers at the security firm F-Secure have uncovered an attack that uses a decade-old technique, which defenders thought they had stymied, to expose those encryption keys, allowing a hacker to decrypt your data. Worst of all, it works on almost any computer. To get the keys, the attack uses a well-known approach called a "cold boot," in which a hacker shuts down a computer improperly—say, by pulling the plug on it—restarts it, and then uses a tool like malicious code on a USB drive to quickly grab data that was stored in the computer's memory before the power outage. Operating systems and chipmakers added mitigations against cold boot attacks 10 years ago, but the F-Secure researchers found a way to bring them back from the dead. In Recent Memory Cold boot mitigations in modern computers make the attack a bit more involved than it was 10 years ago, but a reliable way to decrypt lost or stolen computers would be extremely valuable for a motivated attacker—or one with a lot of curiosity and free time. "If you get a few moments alone with the machine, the attack is a very reliable way to extract secrets from the memory," says Olle Segerdahl, principal security consultant at F-Secure. "We tested it on a number of different makes and models and found that the attack is effective and reliable. It's a bit invasive because it involves unscrewing the case and connecting some wires, but it's pretty quick and very doable for a knowledgable hacker. It's not super technically challenging." Segerdahl notes that the findings have particular implications for corporations and other institutions that manage a large number of computers, and could have their whole network compromised off of one lost or stolen laptop. To carry out the attack, the F-Secure researchers first sought a way to defeat the the industry-standard cold boot mitigation. The protection works by creating a simple check between an operating system and a computer's firmware, the fundamental code that coordinates hardware and software for things like initiating booting. The operating system sets a sort of flag or marker indicating that it has secret data stored in its memory, and when the computer boots up, its firmware checks for the flag. If the computer shuts down normally, the operating system wipes the data and the flag with it. But if the firmware detects the flag during the boot process, it takes over the responsibility of wiping the memory before anything else can happen. Looking at this arrangement, the researchers realized a problem. If they physically opened a computer and directly connected to the chip that runs the firmware and the flag, they could interact with it and clear the flag. This would make the computer think it shut down correctly and that the operating system wiped the memory, because the flag was gone, when actually potentially sensitive data was still there. So the researchers designed a relatively simple microcontroller and program that can connect to the chip the firmware is on and manipulate the flag. From there, an attacker could move ahead with a standard cold boot attack. Though any number of things could be stored in memory when a computer is idle, Segerdahl notes that an attacker can be sure the device's decryption keys will be among them if she is staring down a computer's login screen, which is waiting to check any inputs against the correct ones. Cold Case Because of the threat posed by this type of attack, Segerdahl says that institutions should keep careful track of all their devices so they can take action if one is reported lost or stolen. No matter how big an organization is, IT managers need to be able to revoke VPN credentials, Wi-Fi certificates, and other authenticators that let devices access the full network to minimize the fallout if a missing device is compromised. Another potential protection involves setting computers to automatically shut down when idle rather than going to sleep and then using a disk encryption tool—like Microsoft's BitLocker—to require an extra PIN when a computer turns on, before the operating system actually boots. This way there's nothing in memory yet to steal. If you're worried about leaving your computer unsupervised, tools that monitor for physical interactions with a device—like the Haven mobile app and Do Not Disturb Mac application—can help notify you about unwanted physical access to a device. Intrusions like the cold boot technique are often called "evil maid" attacks. The researchers notified Microsoft, Apple, and Intel about their findings. Microsoft has released updated guidance on using BitLocker to manage the problem. “This technique requires physical access. To protect sensitive info, at a minimum, we recommend using a device with a discreet Trusted Platform Module (TPM), disabling sleep/hibernation and configuring bitlocker with a Personal Identification Number,” Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft said. Segerdahl says, though, that he doesn't see a quick way to fix the larger issue. Operating system tweaks and firmware updates could make the flag-check process more resilient, but since attackers are already accessing and manipulating the firmware as part of the attack, they could simply downgrade updated firmware back to a vulnerable version. As a result, Segerdahl says, long term mitigations require physical design changes that make it harder for an attacker to manipulate the flag check. Apple has already created one such solution through its T2 chip in new iMacs. The scheme separates certain crucial processes on a dedicated, secure chip away from the main processors that run general firmware and the operating system. Segerdahl says that though the renewed cold boot attack works on most Macs, the T2 chip does successfully defeat it. An Apple spokesperson also suggested that users could set a firmware password to prevent unauthorized access, and that the company is exploring how to protect Macs that don't have a T2. Intel declined to comment on the record. "This is only fixable through hardware updates," says Kenn White, director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, who did not participate in the research. "Physical access is a constant cat and mouse game. The good news for most people is that 99.9 percent of thieves would just sell a device to someone who would reinstall the OS and delete your data." For institutions with valuable data or individuals carrying sensitive information, though, the risk will continue to exist on most computers for years to come. Source
  12. from the with-an-eye-on-undermining-all-encrypted-messaging-services dept The DOJ's war on encryption continues, this time in a secret court battle involving Facebook. The case is under seal so no documents are available, but Reuters has obtained details suggesting the government is trying to compel the production of encryption-breaking software. The request seeks Facebook's assistance in tapping calls placed through its Messenger service. Facebook has refused, stating it simply cannot do this without stripping the protection it offers to all of its Messenger users. The government disagrees and has asked the court for contempt charges. Underneath it all, this is a wiretap order -- one obtained in an MS-13 investigation. This might mean the government hasn't used an All Writs Acts request, but is rather seeking to have the court declare Messenger calls to be similar to VoIP calls. If so, it can try to compel the production of software under older laws and rulings governing assistance of law enforcement by telcos. Calls via Messenger are still in a gray area. Facebook claims calls are end-to-end encrypted so it cannot -- without completely altering the underlying software -- assist with an interception. Regular messages via Facebook's services can still be decrypted by the company but voice calls appear to be out of its reach. Obviously, the government would very much like a favorable ruling from a federal judge. An order to alter this service to allow interception or collection could then be used against a number of other services offering end-to-end encryption. It's unknown what legal options Facebook has pursued, but it does have a First Amendment argument to deploy, if nothing else. If code is speech -- an idea that does have legal precedent -- the burden falls on the government to explain why it so badly needs to violate a Constitutional right with its interception request. This is a case worth watching. However, unlike the DOJ's very public battle with Apple in the San Bernardino case, there's nothing to see. I'm sure Facebook has filed motions to have court documents unsealed -- if only to draw more attention to this case -- but the Reuters article says there are currently no visible documents on the docket. (The docket may be sealed as well.) There is clearly public interest in this case, so the presumption of openness should apply. So far, that hasn't worked out too well for the public. And if the DOJ gets what it wants, that's not going to work out too well for the public either. Source
  13. I noticed that even though I put HTTPS in my URL-bar, whenever I click a link nsaneforums would force HTTP_ again. Now everyone should only post when HTTPS is on for security reasons, else "they" know your username and what you posted. There are many browser addons that force HTTPS to be on, however the EFF approved HTTPS Everywhere is the most popular one. Sadly by default it doesn't recognize nsaneforums, so here is how to add a new rule: When you do this you always will use HTTPS on nsaneforums, protect your username and make your ISP / government not be able to read what you post! Be safe friend, always encrypt!
  14. Dino8

    Gpg4win 3.11

    What is Gpg4win? Gpg4win enables users to securely transport emails and files with the help of encryption and digital signatures. Encryption protects the contents against an unwanted party reading it. Digital signatures make sure that it was not modified and comes from a specific sender. Gpg4win supports both relevant cryptography standards, OpenPGP and S/MIME (X.509), and is the official GnuPG distribution for Windows. It is maintained by the developers of GnuPG. Gpg4win and the software included with Gpg4win are Free Software (Open Source; among other things free of charge for all commercial and non-commercial purposes). Gpg4win Components GnuPG : The backend; this is the actual encryption tool. Kleopatra : A certificate manager for OpenPGP and X.509 (S/MIME) and common crypto dialogs. GpgOL : A plugin for Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007/2010/2013/2016 (email encryption). With Outlook 2010 and higher GpgpOL supports MS Exchange Server. GpgEX : A plugin for Microsoft Explorer (file encryption). GPA : An alternative certificate manager for OpenPGP and X.509 (S/MIME). Homepage : https://www.gpg4win.de/index.html Download : https://files.gpg4win.org/gpg4win-3.1.1.exe
  15. Radpop

    Lifetime licence for Kryptel 8.0

    Lifetime licence for Kryptel 8.0 Kryptel is an encryption tool that provides fast, reliable, and failure-resistant protection of sensitive data using industry standard AES 256-bit encryption. Easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface combined with advanced encryption technologies makes military-strength data protection affordable for everyone. Other features of Kryptel include encrypted backups, secure file deletion (shredding), data compression, batch encryption capabilities, and integration into Windows’ right-click context menu. It even comes in a portable version you can run on any computer from a USB flash drive, without installing. Version 8.0, latest For Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 multi-computer lifetime license, for commercial or noncommercial use No free updates; if you update the giveaway, it may become unregistered You get free tech support You must redeem the code before this offer has ended Giveaway homepage: https://sharewareonsale.com/s/inv-softworks-kryptel-freebie-sale Product homepage: https://www.kryptel.com/products/kryptel.php
  16. Researchers believe a new encryption technique may be key to maintaining a balance between user privacy and government demands. For governments worldwide, encryption is a thorn in the side in the quest for surveillance, cracking suspected criminal phones, and monitoring communication. Officials are applying pressure on technology firms and app developers which provide end-to-end encryption services provide a way for police forces to break encryption. However, the moment you provide a backdoor into such services, you are creating a weak point that not only law enforcement and governments can use -- assuming that tunneling into a handset and monitoring is even within legal bounds -- but threat actors, and undermining the security of encryption as a whole. As the mass surveillance and data collection activities of the US National Security Agency hit the headlines, faith in governments and their ability to restrain such spying to genuine cases of criminality began to weaken. Now, the use of encryption and secure communication channels is ever-more popular, technology firms are resisting efforts to implant deliberate weaknesses in encryption protocols, and neither side wants to budge. What can be done? From the outset, something has got to give. However, researchers from Boston University believe they may have come up with a solution. On Monday, the team said they have developed a new encryption technique which will give authorities some access, but without providing unlimited access in practice, to communication. In other words, a middle ground -- a way to break encryption to placate law enforcement, but not to the extent that mass surveillance on the general public is possible. Mayank Varia, Research Associate Professor at Boston University and cryptography expert, has developed the new technique, known as cryptographic "crumpling." In a paper documenting the research, lead author Varia says that the new cryptography methods could be used for "exceptional access" to encrypted data for government purposes while keeping user privacy at large at a reasonable level. "Our approach places most of the responsibility for achieving exceptional access on the government, rather than on the users or developers of cryptographic tools," the paper notes. "As a result, our constructions are very simple and lightweight, and they can be easily retrofitted onto existing applications and protocols." The crumpling techniques use two approaches -- the first being a Diffie-Hellman key exchange over modular arithmetic groups which leads to an "extremely expensive" puzzle which must be solved to break the protocol, and the second a "hash-based proof of work to impose a linear cost on the adversary for each message" to recover. Crumpling requires strong, modern cryptography as a precondition as it allows per-message encryption keys and detailed management. The system requires this infrastructure so a small number of messages can be targeted without full-scale exposure. The team says that this condition will also only permit "passive" decryption attempts, rather than man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks. By introducing cryptographic puzzles into the generation of per-message cryptographic keys, the keys will be possible to decrypt but will require vast resources to do so. In addition, each puzzle will be chosen independently for each key, which means "the government must expend effort to solve each one." "Like a crumple zone in automotive engineering, in an emergency situation the construction should break a little bit in order to protect the integrity of the system as a whole and the safety of its human users," the paper notes. "We design a portion of our puzzles to match Bitcoin's proof of work computation so that we can predict their real-world marginal cost with reasonable confidence." To prevent unauthorized attempts to break encryption an "abrasion puzzle" serves as a gatekeeper which is more expensive to solve than individual key puzzles. While this would not necessarily deter state-sponsored threat actors, it may at least deter individual cyberattackers as the cost would not be worth the result. The new technique would allow governments to recover the plaintext for targeted messages, however, it would also be prohibitively expensive. A key length of 70 bits, for example -- with today's hardware -- would cost millions and force government agencies to choose their targets carefully and the expense would potentially prevent misuse. The research team estimates that the government could recover less than 70 keys per year with a budget of close to $70 million dollars upfront -- one million dollars per message and the full amount set out in the US' expanded federal budget to break encryption. However, there could also be additional costs of $1,000 to $1 million per message, and these kind of figures are difficult to conceal, especially as one message from a suspected criminal in a conversation without contextual data is unlikely to ever be enough to secure conviction. The research team says that crumpling can be adapted for use in common encryption services including PGP, Signal, as well as full-disk and file-based encryption. "We view this work as a catalyst that can inspire both the research community and the public at large to explore this space further," the researchers say. "Whether such a system will ever be (or should ever be) adopted depends less on technology and more on questions for society to answer collectively: whether to entrust the government with the power of targeted access and whether to accept the limitations on law enforcement possible with only targeted access." The research was funded by the National Science Foundation. Source
  17. To comply with new laws \ Last month, Apple announced that it would hand over management of its Chinese iCloud data to a local, state-owned firm in China called Cloud Big Data Industrial Development Co (GCBD) at the end of February in order to comply with new laws. Now, Reuters is reporting that Apple will also hold iCloud encryption keys for Chinese users in China itself, raising new concerns about government access. The new policy does not affect any iCloud users outside of China. As Reuters notes, that compliance means Chinese authorities will have easier access to user data that’s stored in Apple’s iCloud service, especially now that, for the first time, Apple will store the keys for Chinese iClouds within China. Apple says it alone would control the encryption keys, and Chinese authorities do not have any “backdoor” to access data. Until now, such keys were exclusively stored in the US for all users. Starting February 28th, Apple’s operation of iCloud services in the country will transfer to GCBD. Reuters spoke to human rights activists who said there was fear that those in power could use the new rules to track down dissidents. In a statement, Apple said it “had to comply with recently introduced Chinese laws that require cloud services offered to Chinese citizens be operated by Chinese companies and that the data be stored in China.” Apple noted that its values don’t change even if it is “subjected to each country’s laws.” Apple’s attempt to capitalize one of its largest growth markets has been a juggle between consumer rights and business opportunities. Last year, the company controversially removed VPN apps from its App Store in China, claiming to only be following the law in order to continue operating there. It’s also snuck in several nods to the Chinese market during its major product announcement keynotes, such as references to WeChat during its previous demonstrations of the Apple Watch. Apple chief executive Tim Cook is also due to co-chair the China Development Forum in March. We’ve reached out to Apple for further comment. Source
  18. [Poster Comment: Personally I don't understand why they would need encryption since they had no protection in the age of film, which could be and was confiscated or destroyed and could be stolen. Just because the medium has changed there doesn't need to be an expensive system put in place that would cost everyone more, not just the professional photographers. And their cards could still be stolen.] A year after photojournalists and filmmakers sent a critical letter to camera makers for failing to add a basic security feature to protect their work from searches and hacking, little progress has been made. The letter, sent in late-2016, called on camera makers to build encryption into their cameras after photojournalists said they face "a variety of threats from border security guards, local police, intelligence agents, terrorists, and criminals when attempting to safely return their footage so that it can be edited and published," according to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which published the letter. The threat against photojournalists remains high. The foundation's US Press Freedom Tracker tallied more than 125 incidents against reporters last year, including the smashing of reporters' cameras and the "bodyslam" incident. Even when they're out in the field, collecting footage and documenting evidence, reporters have long argued that without encryption, police, the military, and border agents in countries where they work can examine and search their devices. "The consequences can be dire," the letter added. Although iPhones and Android phones, computers, and instant messengers all come with encryption, camera makers have fallen behind. Not only does encryption protect reported work from prying eyes, it also protects sources -- many of whom put their lives at risk to expose corruption or wrongdoing. The lack of encryption means high-end camera makers are forcing their customers to choose between putting their sources at risk, or relying on encrypted, but less-capable devices, like iPhones. We asked the same camera manufacturers if they plan to add encryption to their cameras -- and if not, why. The short answer: don't expect much any time soon. An Olympus spokesperson said the company will "in the next year... continue to review the request to implement encryption technology in our photographic and video products and will develop a plan for implementation where applicable in consideration to the Olympus product roadmap and the market requirements." When reached, Canon said it was "not at liberty to comment on future products and/or innovation." S ony also said it "isn't discussing product roadmaps relative to camera encryption." A Nikon spokesperson said the company is "constantly listening to the needs of an evolving market and considering photographer feedback, and we will continue to evaluate product features to best suit the needs of our users." And Fuji did not respond to several requests for comment by phone and email prior to publication. Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told ZDNet that it's "extremely disappointing the major camera manufacturers haven't even committed to investing resources into more research into this issue, let alone actually building solutions into their cameras." "Dozens of the world's best filmmakers made clear a year ago that camera companies -- in today's world -- have an obligation to build in a way for everyone to encrypt their files and footage to potentially help keep them safe," he added. "I hope the camera companies eventually listen to some of their most important and at-risk customers," he said. Article
  19. Massive data breaches are now spreading at an alarming rate. Confidential information and personal records are getting leaked, lost and stolen – from threats both virtual and physical. On top of pains from unwanted access to sensitive information, penalties have become more severe and more frequent for non-compliance with regulations on financial, medical and personal data. No information security strategy is complete unless data is properly protected at the source where it is stored. Data encryption secures the confidentiality of sensitive data to address the risks of data leaks and data theft, while also ensuring regulatory compliance. If you store sensitive data, encryption is essential. Use Cases for Data Encryption Prevent Data Breaches Unwanted access – for data stored on active computers, shared workstations or network storage vulnerable to prying eyes Physical theft – for data stored on lost or stolen computers, laptops, external drives & USB sticks Protection of Sensitive Information Against Threats Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Electronic Health Records (EHR) Credit card data Insurance & financial records Student information Client records & customer databases Proprietary information or trade secrets Emails Chat histories Compliance with Regulations Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) UK Data Protection Act Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) - South Africa Homepage: https://www.jetico.com/data-encryption/encrypt-files-bestcrypt-container-encryption Download: https://www.jetico.com/data-encryption/encrypt-files-bestcrypt-container-encryption SETUP + PATCH: https://www.upload.ee Share code: /files/7946916/Jetico.BestCrypt.Container.Encryption.v9.03.70-F4CG.rar.html
  20. DATA BREACHES AND exposures all invite the same lament: if only the compromised data had been encrypted. Bad guys can only do so much with exfiltrated data, after all, if they can't read any of it. Now, IBM says it has a way to encrypt every level of a network, from applications to local databases and cloud services, thanks to a new mainframe that can power 12 billion encrypted transactions per day. The processing burden that comes with all that constant encrypting and decrypting has prevented that sort of comprehensive data encryption at scale in the past. Thanks to advances in both hardware and software encryption processing, though, IBM says that its IBM Z mainframe can pull off the previously impossible. If that holds up in practice, it will offer a system that's both accessible for users, and offers far greater data security than currently possible. According to IBM, hackers have compromised around nine billion digital data records since 2013, a third of them medical. A meager four percent of that data was encrypted, though, meaning those credit card numbers, user names and passwords, and social security numbers passed easily onto dark-web criminal exchanges. Even encrypted data often ends up compromised, because companies don't always opt for hacker-proof cryptography. Cybercriminals don't mind putting in the effort; the data people bother to encrypt tends to be valuable, which means putting resources into decrypting it usually pays off. A system that encrypts virtually all data, though, makes it much more difficult for criminals to identify worthwhile targets. Enter IBM Z. All it takes is a massive amount of computing power. The IBM Z mainframe locks data down with public 256-bit AES encryption—the same robust protocol used in the ubiquitous SSL and TLS web encryption standards, and trusted by the US government for protecting classified data. But the company's breakthrough lies less in quality than it does quantity. Thanks to some proprietary on-chip processing hardware, IBM Z can encrypt up to 13 gigabytes of data per second per chip, with roughly 24 chips per mainframe, depending on the configuration. "This represents a 400 percent increase in silicon that’s dedicated specifically to cryptographic processes—over six billion transistors dedicated to cryptography," says Caleb Barlow, vice president of threat intelligence at IBM Security. "So for any type of transaction system we can now get the safety that we’re all after, which just hasn’t really been attainable up to this point." For a better sense of why that all-encompassing encryption matters, compare it to something like a typical banking website interaction. The service likely encrypts your browsing session on the site, but that encryption may not endure in the backend of the application and the network operating system. Some point in the workflow lacks encryption, and that's where your data becomes vulnerable. IBM Z, by contrast, keeps data encrypted at all times unless it is being actively processed, and even then it is only briefly decrypted during those actual computations, before being encrypted again. "It can process 12 billion transactions per day on one machine. If you take something like Cyber Monday there’s probably about 30 million transactions that go on," says Barlow. "So one of these machines can process that kind of crazy workload without even breaking a sweat in less than a day." The system also drastically cuts down on the number of administrators who can access raw, readable data. That means hackers have fewer fruitful targets to go after in their attempts to gain privileged credentials to access a system. And IBM Z offers granularity so users can access the data they need for day to day work without exposing large swaths of data they don't need. IBM says breakthroughs in its ability to do large-scale cryptographic processing let it take the leap. The company also has full component control in its mainframes, increasing efficiency and system control. The company says that large-scale cryptographic implementation is a "natural extension of the architecture." Big questions remain, though. IBM Z's "pervasive" encryption may stymie many current methods of attack, but there's no such thing as perfect security; researchers and bad actors will almost certainly find weaknesses, given the chance. IBM developers anticipate this as well; they've added a feature in which the mainframe stores its decryption keys in a tamper-resistant way. At any sign of an intrusion, the system can automatically invalidate all of its keys until the breach is mitigated. The other question about a system like the IBM Z is how widely it will be adopted. It would have potential economic benefits for companies in terms of easily allowing them to comply with increasingly stringent international data retention regulations, like US Federal Information Processing Standards. But for organizations that don't already rely on mainframes, the IBM Z may not seem like a relevant option. "The established mainframe-based clients will jump all over this," says Joe Clabby, an analyst at the independent technology assessment firm Clabby Analytics. "As for new clients, that’s a hard one to answer. A lot of clients have a strong Intel bias. But encrypting all data, that’s a huge step. It’s pretty exciting given what a mess the world is without it." Source
  21. Though Encryption is not a new topic, you might have heard it online, while doing purchases, etc. Whats App messages are protected with end-to-end encryption. Your credit card details, id& password, payment information are transferred over an encrypted network. You might have already read these things on various sites and services. So, every time you read about or heard of encryption, what was the first thing that came to your mind? Most of the people would think that encryption is complex, has something to do with security and only computer programmers or geeks can understand it. But it is not that complicated you might be thinking right now. I mean the encryption techniques you may find hard to understand but the basic essence of encryption and decryption is very simple. So, What is Encryption? In simple words, Encryption is the process of encoding a data in such a way that only intended or authorized recipient can decode it. Encryption does not secure the data but it makes your data un-readable to other parties. Which means, even if an unauthorized person or hacker is able to read the network he/she won’t be able to make any sense out of it without the correct decryption key. The science of encryption and decryption is called cryptography. Why is Encryption important? In today’s scenario, we perform a lot of data exchange online. When much of your personal information and financial transactions are processed via the Internet, no business or individual can afford to get their data stolen. Not only the financial data or business files, even the messages we exchanged with our friends, the photos/files shared with family or emails sent to our clients, we need encryption for all of these data. Cybercrime is already at its peak. Nothing is really safe. We witness cases of identity theft on daily basis. Keeping your personal data secure while using the system or at your end can be done. But when the same information is sent over the Internet, you want that information to be only viewed by the particular person and no one else. The data is first sent to the local network and then travels to Internet Service Provider. Finally, a person for whom the information was meant for, finally receives it. Meanwhile, there are numerous of people who can access your information that you are sending. That is the reason why encryption is important. Individuals use it to protect personal information, businesses use it to protect corporate secrets and government uses it to secure classified information. Basic Encryption Techniques For Network Security You Should Know About The strength of encryption is measured by its key size. No matter how strong encryption algorithm is being used, the encrypted data can be subjected to brute force attacks. There are some basic encryption techniques that are used by online services and websites that you should know about. 1. AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) Advanced Encryption Standard is a symmetric encryption technique. Symmetric encryption means it involves secret key that could be a number, word or a string of random letters which is known to both sender and receiver. This secret key is applied to messages in a particular way after which the data becomes encrypted. As long as the sender and recipient know the secret key, encryption and decryption can be performed. AES is extremely efficient in 128-bit form and it uses 192 and 256 bits for encryption purposes. In present day cryptography, AES is widely supported in hardware and software with a built-in flexibility of key length. The security with AES is assured if and only if it is implemented correctly with the employment of good key management. AES-256 bit is a very heavy and strong encryption. Most of the governments use it. 2. Blowfish Encryption Blowfish is symmetric cipher technique ideal for domestic and exportable purpose as this symmetric cipher splits messages into blocks of 64 bit each and then encrypts them individually. Blowfish encryption technique can be used as a drop-in replacement for DES. The technique takes variable length key varying from 32 bits to 448 bits. Blowfish is found in software categories ranging from e-commerce platform from security passwords to various password management tools. It is one the most flexible encryption methods available. 3. RSA Encryption The Rivest Shamir Adleman (RSA) encryption technique is one of the most popular and secure public key encryption methods. This public key encryption technique is also known as asymmetric cryptography that uses two keys, one public and one private. In RSA encryption technique, both public and private key can be used to encrypt the message. But for the decryption of the message, the opposite key that has been used for encryption will be used. Most of the times, the data is encrypted with public key and decrypte using the private key. RSA encryption method assures the confidentiality, authenticity, integrity and non-reputability of electronic communication and data storage. 4. Triple DES Encryption Triple DES encryption method is a more secure procedure of encryption as the encryption is done three times. Triple DES encryption technique takes three keys each of 64bit, so overall key length is 192bis. The data is encrypted with the first key, decrypted with the second key and then again encrypted with the third key. The procedure of decryption is somewhat same as the procedure included in encryption expect that it is executed in reverse. 5. Twofish Encryption Twofish is a symmetric block cipher method, in which single key is used for encryption and decryption. Twofish could be the best choice when among AES techniques as this encryption technique is unique in terms of speed, flexibility, and conservative design. Twofish is new encryption technique which is highly secure and flexible. This encryption technique works extremely well with large microprocessors, dedicated hardware, and 8-bit or 32-bit card processors. Also, twofish encryption technique can be used in network applications where keys tend to change frequently and in various applications with little or no ROM or RAM available. 6. DES Encryption Data Encryption Standard (DES) is symmetric block cipher which uses 56-bit key to encrypt and decrypt 64-bit block of data. The Same key is used to encrypt and decrypt the message, so both the sender and the receiver should know how to use the same private key. DES has been suspended by more secure and advanced AES encryption technique and triple DES encryption techniques. 7. IDEA Encryption International Data Encryption Algorithm (IDEA) is another block cipher encryption technique that uses 52 sub keys, each 16-bit long. This technique was used in pretty good privacy version 2. Conclusion Encryption is a standard method for making a communication private. The sender encrypts the message before sending it to another user. Only the intended recipient knows how to decrypt the message. Even if someone was eavesdropping over the communication would only know about the encrypted messages, but not how to decrypt the message successfully. Thus in order to ensure the privacy in electronic communication, various encryption techniques and methods are used. As with the growth of electronic commerce and Internet, the issue of privacy has forefront in electronic communication. In this era of internet, where every kind of data is transferred in digital format, it is important that we know how our data is transferred, saved and used. Everyone must know about these basic encryption techniques. You can share this information with your friends and family to make them aware of encryption techniques. Article source
  22. Yahoo plans to enable end-to-end encryption for all of its Mail users next year. The company is working with Google on the project and the encryption will be mostly transparent for users, making it as simple as possible to use. Alex Stamos, CISO at Yahoo, said that the project has been a priority since he joined the company a few months ago and will be a key way to make online life safer for millions of users. Yahoo is using the browser plugin Google released in June that enables end-to-end encryption of all data leaving the browser. Stamos said Yahoo is working to ensure that its system works well with Google’s so that encrypted communications between Yahoo Mail and Gmail users will be simple. “The goal is to have complete compatibility with Gmail,” Stamos said during a talk at the Black Hat USA conference here Thursday. The email encryption isn’t the only security improvement on the horizon for Yahoo. The company is also working on enabling HSTS on its servers, as well as certificate transparency. HSTS (HTTP strict transport security) allows Web sites to tell users’ browsers that they only want to communicate over an encrypted connection. Thecertificate transparency concept involves a system of public logs that list all certificates issued by cooperating certificate authorities. It requires the CAs to voluntarily submit their certificates, but it would help protect against attacks such as spoofing Web sites or man-in-the-middle. The security upgrades on the docket at Yahoo are aimed at making it easier for everyday users to use the Internet safely and securely, without needing to be security or privacy experts, Stamos said. The security industry spends a lot of time working out defenses and new products to protect against exotic attacks while users are being targeted by much more mundane attacks that still don’t have effective solutions. “Post-Snowden, we have a strain of nihilism that’s keeping us from focusing on what’s real,” Stamos said. “We as an industry have failed. We’ve failed to keep users safe. “If we can’t build systems that our users in the twenty-fifth percentile can use, we’re failing. And we are failing. We don’t build systems that normal people can use.” Source
  23. In 2012, New Zealand police seized computer drives belonging to Kim Dotcom, copies of which were unlawfully given to the FBI. Dotcom wants access to the seized content but the drives are encrypted. A judge has now ruled that even if the Megaupload founder supplies the passwords, they cannot subsequently be forwarded to the FBI. During the raid more than two years ago on his now-famous mansion, police in New Zealand seized 135 computers and drives belonging to Kim Dotcom. In May 2012 during a hearing at Auckland’s High Court, lawyer Paul Davison QC demanded access to the data stored on the confiscated equipment, arguing that without it Dotcom could not mount a proper defense. The FBI objected to the request due to some of the data being encrypted. However, Dotcom refused to hand over the decryption passwords unless the court guaranteed him access to the data. At this point it was revealed that despite assurances from the court to the contrary, New Zealand police had already sent copies of the data to U.S. authorities. In May 2014, Davison was back in court arguing that New Zealand police should release copies of the data from the seized computers and drives, reiterating the claim that without the information Dotcom could not get a fair trial. The High Court previously ruled that the Megaupload founder could have copies, on the condition he handed over the encryption keys. But while Dotcom subsequently agreed to hand over the passwords, that was on the condition that New Zealand police would not hand them over to U.S. authorities. Dotcom also said he couldn’t remember the passwords after all but may be able to do so if he gained access to prompt files contained on the drives. The police agreed to give Dotcom access to the prompts but with the quid pro quo that the revealed passwords could be passed onto the United States, contrary to Dotcom’s wishes. Today Justice Winkelmann ruled that if the police do indeed obtain the codes, they must not hand them over to the FBI. Reason being, the copies of the computers and drives should never have been sent to the United States in the first place. While the ruling is a plus for Dotcom, the entrepreneur today expressed suspicion over whether the FBI even need the encryption codes. “NZ Police is not allowed to provide my encryption password to the FBI,” he wrote on Twitter, adding, “As if they don’t have it already.” Source
  24. Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional 5.96 Encryption Software - File encryption, Secure File Transfer, Batch File Encryption and Encrypted Backups - Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional - award-winning easy-to-use file encryption software for Windows. Features Easy to use for novices. It integrates nicely with Windows Explorer and made easy for novices.Strong and proven algorithms to protect your sensitive documents (20 encryption algorithms).File and/or text encryption.Symmetric and asymmetric algorithms (17 data destruction algorithms).Secure file deletion.Using USB flash drives to store [en]-decryption keys.Creating encrypted self-extracting file to send it as email attachement. No additional software is required on other end!Complete command line support to fully automate [en]-decryption tasks.We have been developing and improving Advanced Encryption Package for many years (the first version was released in 1998). In these years we've implemented hundreds of improvements suggested by thousands of our customers from around the world (aep pro is used in 80 countries) and now. AEP v5.96 new behaviour of the context menu. Different behaviour of the context menu when SHIFT key is holded.. Website: http://www.aeppro.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Crack Size: 7,38 Mb.
  25. Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional 5.95 Encryption Software - File encryption, Secure File Transfer, Batch File Encryption and Encrypted Backups - Advanced Encryption Package 2014 Professional - award-winning easy-to-use file encryption software for Windows. Features Easy to use for novices. It integrates nicely with Windows Explorer and made easy for novices.Strong and proven algorithms to protect your sensitive documents (20 encryption algorithms).File and/or text encryption.Symmetric and asymmetric algorithms (17 data destruction algorithms).Secure file deletion.Using USB flash drives to store [en]-decryption keys.Creating encrypted self-extracting file to send it as email attachement. No additional software is required on other end!Complete command line support to fully automate [en]-decryption tasks.We have been developing and improving Advanced Encryption Package for many years (the first version was released in 1998). In these years we've implemented hundreds of improvements suggested by thousands of our customers from around the world (aep pro is used in 80 countries) and now. AEP v5.95 improved user interface. Improved file encryption window.Website: http://www.aeppro.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Crack Size: 7,35 Mb.
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