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  1. 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
  2. PastJeff

    NordLocker giveaway on Twitter

    Homepage: https://nordlocker.com/download/ Available on Windows and MacOS.
  3. satheeshsoft

    Encryption Software 108.31.2019.11

    Encryption Software (free upload to 20 MB file), encrypt file using from password (ASCII) or without password 'Same PC'. Using 'Same PC' there is no password needed but the file can decrypted from same computer only. Download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/encryption-software/9p9v2m2pdm92?activetab=pivot:overviewtab Website:; http://www.softcleaner.in/soft-cleaner-safe Version: 108.31.2019.11 License: Free System Requirement OS: Windows 10 and Higher
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. malakai1911

    Comprehensive Security Guide

    Comprehensive Security Guide NOTE: As of 1/1/2019 this guide is out of date. Until parts are rewritten, consider the below for historical reference only. i. Foreword The primary purpose of this guide is to offer a concise list of best-of-breed software and advice on selected areas of computer security. The secondary purpose of this guide is to offer limited advice on other areas of security. The target audience is an intermediately skilled user of home computers. Computer software listed are the freeware versions when possible or have free versions available. If there are no free versions available for a particular product, it is noted with the "$" symbol. The guide is as well formatted as I could make it, within the confines of a message board post. ii. Table of Contents i. Foreword ii. Table of Contents 1. Physical Security a. Home b. Computer c. Personal 2. Network Security a. Hardware Firewall b. Software Firewall 3. Hardening Windows a. Pre-install Hardening b. Post-install Hardening c. Alternative Software d. Keep Windows Up-To-Date 4. Anti-Malware a. Anti-Virus b. HIPS / Proactive Defense c. Malware Removal 5. Information and Data Security a. Privacy / Anonymity b. Encryption c. Backup, Erasure and Recovery d. Access Control (Passwords, Security Tokens) 6. Conclusion 1. Physical Security I just wanted to touch on a few things in the realm of physical security, and you should investigate physical and personal security in places other than here. a. Home How would you break in to your own home? Take a close look at your perimeter security and work inwards. Make sure fences or gates aren't easy to climb over or bypass. The areas outside your home should be well lit, and motion sensor lights and walkway lights make nice additions to poorly lit areas. If possible, your home should have a security system featuring hardwired door and window sensors, motion detectors, and audible sirens (indoor and outdoor). Consider integrated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for safety. Don't overlook monitoring services, so the police or fire department can be automatically called during an emergency. Invest in good locks for your home, I recommend Medeco and Schlage Primus locks highly. Both Medeco and Schlage Primus locks are pick-resistant, bump-proof, and have key control (restricted copying systems). Exterior doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood and each should have locking hardware (locking doorknob or handle), an auxiliary lock (mortise deadbolt) with a reinforced strike plate, and a chain. Consider a fireproof (and waterproof) safe for the storage of important documents and valuables. A small safe can be carried away during a robbery, and simply opened at another location later, so be sure and get a safe you can secure to a physical structure (in-wall, in-floor, or secured to something reasonably considered immovable). You may be able to hide or obscure the location of your safe in order to obtain some additional security, but don't make it cumbersome for yourself to access. b. Computer Computers are easy to just pick up and take away, so the only goal you should have is to deter crimes of opportunity. For desktop computers, you may bring your desktop somewhere and an attacker may not be interested in the entire computer, but perhaps just an expensive component (video card) or your data (hard drive), and for that I suggest a well-built case with a locking side and locking front panel. There are a variety of case security screws available (I like the ones from Enermax (UC-SST8) as they use a special tool), or you can use screws with less common bits (such as tamper resistant Torx screws) to secure side panels and computer components. There are also cable lock systems available for desktop computers to secure them to another object. For laptop computers, you are going to be primarily concerned about a grab-and-go type robbery. There are a variety of security cables available from Kensington, which lock into the Kensington lock slot found on nearly all laptops, which you can use to secure it to another object (a desk or table, for example). Remember though, even if it's locked to something with a cable, it doesn't make it theft-proof, so keep an eye on your belongings. c. Personal Always be aware of your surroundings. Use your judgment, if you feel an area or situation is unsafe, avoid it altogether or get away as quickly and safely as possible. Regarding hand to hand combat, consider a self-defense course. Don't screw around with traditional martial arts (Karate, Aikido, Kung-Fu), and stay away from a McDojo. You should consider self-defense techniques like Krav Maga if you are serious about self defense in a real life context. I generally don't advocate carrying a weapon on your person (besides the legal mess that may be involved with use of a weapon, even for self-defense, an attacker could wrestle away a weapon and use it against you). If you choose to carry any type of weapon on your person for self-defense, I advise you to take a training course (if applicable) and to check with and follow the laws within the jurisdiction you decide to possess or carry such weapons. Dealing with the Police Be sure to read Know Your Rights: What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police a guide by the ACLU, and apply it. Its advice is for within the jurisdiction of the US but may apply generally elsewhere, consult with a lawyer for legal advice. You should a;so watch the popular video "Don't talk to the police!" by Prof. James Duane of the Regent University Law School for helpful instructions on what to do and say when questioned by the police: (Mirror: regent.edu) Travelling Abroad Be sure and visit the State Department or Travel Office for your home country before embarking on a trip abroad. Read any travel warnings or advisories, and they are a wealth of information for travelers (offering guides, checklists, and travel advice): (US, UK, CA). 2. Network Security As this is a guide geared towards a home or home office network, the central theme of network security is going to be focused around having a hardware firewall behind your broadband modem, along with a software firewall installed on each client. Since broadband is a 24/7 connection to the internet, you are constantly at risk of attack, making both a hardware and software firewall absolutely essential. a. Hardware Firewall A hardware firewall (router) is very important. Consider the hardware firewall as your first line of defense. Unfortunately, routers (usually) aren't designed to block outbound attempts from trojans and viruses, which is why it is important to use a hardware firewall in conjunction with a software firewall. Be sure that the firewall you choose features SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection). Highly Recommended I recommend Wireless AC (802.11ac) equipment, as it is robust and widely available. Wireless AC is backwards compatible with the earlier Wireless N (802.11n) G (802.11g) and B (802.11b) standards. 802.11ac supports higher speeds and longer distances than the previous standards, making it highly attractive. I generally recommend wireless networking equipment from Ubiquiti or Asus. Use WPA2/WPA with AES if possible, and a passphrase with a minimum of 12 characters. If you are really paranoid, use a strong random password and remember to change it every so often. Alternatives A spare PC running SmoothWall or IPCop, with a pair of NIC's and a switch can be used to turn a PC into a fully functional firewall. b. Software Firewall A software firewall nicely compliments a hardware firewall such as those listed above. In addition to protecting you from inbound intrusion attempts, it also gives you a level of outbound security by acting as a gateway for applications looking to access the internet. Programs you want can access the internet, while ones you don't are blocked. Do not use multiple software firewalls simultaneously. You can actually make yourself less secure by running two or more software firewall products at once, as they can conflict with one another. Check out Matousec Firewall Challenge for a comparison of leak tests among top firewall vendors. Leaktests are an important way of testing outbound filtering effectiveness. Highly Recommended Comodo Internet Security Comodo is an easy to use, free firewall that provides top-notch security. I highly recommend this as a first choice firewall. While it includes Antivirus protection, I advise to install it as firewall-only and use an alternate Antivirus. Alternatives Agnitum Outpost Firewall Free A free personal firewall that is very secure. Be sure to check out the Outpost Firewall Forums, to search, and ask questions if you have any problems. Online Armor Personal Firewall Free Online Armor Personal Firewall makes another great choice for those who refuse to run Comodo or Outpost. Online Armor 3. Hardening Windows Windows can be made much more secure by updating its components, and changing security and privacy related settings. a. Pre-install Hardening Pre-install hardening has its primary focus on integrating the latest available service packs and security patches. Its secondary focus is applying whatever security setting tweaks you can integrate. By integrating patches and tweaks, you will be safer from the first boot. Step 1 - Take an original Windows disc (Windows 7 or later) and copy it to a folder on your hard drive so you can work with the install files. Step 2 - Slipstream the latest available service pack. Slipstreaming is a term for integrating the latest service pack into your copy of windows. Step 3 - Integrate the latest available post-service pack updates. This can be done with a utility such as nLite or vLite, and post-service pack updates may be available in an unofficial collection (such as the RyanVM Update Pack for XP). Step 4 - Use nLite (Windows 2000/XP) or vLite (Windows Vista/7) to customize your install. Remove unwanted components and services, and use the tweaks section of nLite/vLite to apply some security and cosmetic tweaks. Step 5 - Burn your newly customized CD, and install Windows. Do not connect the computer to a network until you install a software firewall and anti-virus. b. Post-Install Hardening If you have followed the pre-install hardening section, then your aim will be to tweak settings to further lock down windows. If you hadn't installed from a custom CD, you will need to first update to the latest service pack, then install incremental security patches to become current. After updating, you'll then disable unneeded Windows services, perform some security tweaks, and use software such as xpy to tweak privacy options. Disable Services Start by disabling unneeded or unnecessary services. By disabling services you will minimize potential security risks, and use fewer resources (which may make your system slightly faster). Some good guides on disabling unnecessary services are available at Smallvoid: Windows 2000 / Windows XP / Windows Vista. Some commonly disabled services: Alerter, Indexing, Messenger, Remote Registry, TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper, and Telnet. Security Tweaks I highly recommend using a strong Local Security Policy template as an easy way to tweak windows security options, followed by the registry. Use my template (security.inf) to easily tweak your install for enhanced security (Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7): 1. Save the following attachment: (Download Link Soon!) 2. Extract the files. 3. Apply the Security Policy automatically by running the included "install.bat" file. 4. (Optional) Apply your policy manually using the following command: [ secedit /configure /db secedit.sdb /cfg "C:\<Path To Security.inf>\<template>.inf" ] then refresh your policy using the following the command:[ secedit /refreshpolicy machine_policy ] (Windows 2000), [ gpupdate ] (Windows XP/Vista/7) This template will disable automatic ("administrative") windows shares, prevent anonymous log on access to system resources, disable (weak) LM Password Hashes and enable NTLMv2, disable DCOM, harden the Windows TCP/IP Stack, and much more. Unfortunately my template can't do everything, you will still need to disable NetBIOS over TCP (NetBT), enable Data Execution Prevention (AlwaysOn), and perform other manual tweaks that you may use. Privacy Tweaks xpy (Windows 2000/XP) and vispa (Windows Vista/7) These utilities are great for modifying privacy settings. They supersede XP AntiSpy because they include all of XP Anti-Spy's features and more. You should use them in conjunction with the security tweaks I've listed above. c. Alternative Software Another simple way of mitigating possible attack vectors is to use software that is engineered with better or open security processes. These products are generally more secure and offer more features then their Microsoft counterparts. Highly Recommended Google Chrome (Web Browser) Mozilla Thunderbird (Email Client) OpenOffice.org (Office Suite) Alternatives Mozilla Firefox (Web Browser) Google Docs (Online) (Office Suite) Firefox Additions Mozilla has a Privacy & Security add-on section. There are a variety of add-ons that may appeal to you (such as NoScript). And although these aren't strictly privacy related, I highly recommend the AdBlock Plus add-on, with the EasyList and EasyPrivacy filtersets. d. Keep Windows Up-To-Date Speaking of keeping up-to-date, do yourself a favor and upgrade to at least Windows XP (for older PC's) and Windows 7 (or later) for newer PC's. Be sure to keep up-to-date on your service packs, they're a comprehensive collection of security patches and updates, and some may add minor features. Microsoft Windows Service Packs Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package Windows XP Service Pack 3 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package Windows XP x64 Service Pack 2 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Microsoft Office Service Packs Office 2000 Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3). Office XP (2002) Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3). Office 2003 Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3) and Office File Validation add-in. Office 2007 Service Pack 3 with the Office File Validation add-in. Office 2010 Service Pack 1 After the service pack, you still need to keep up-to-date on incremental security patches. Windows supports Automatic Updates to automatically update itself. However, if you don't like Automatic Updates: You can use WindowsUpdate to update windows periodically (Must use IE5 or greater, must have BITS service enabled), or you can use MS Technet Security to search for and download patches individually, or you can use Autopatcher, an unofficial updating utility. In addition to security patches, remember to keep virus definitions up-to-date (modern virus scanners support automatic updates so this should not be a problem), and stay current with latest program versions and updates, including your replacement internet browser and mail clients. 4. Anti-Malware There are many dangers lurking on the internet. Trojans, viruses, spyware. If you are a veteran user of the internet, you've probably developed a sixth-sense when it comes to avoiding malware, but I advocate backing up common sense with reliable anti-malware software. a. Anti-Virus Picking a virus scanner is important, I highly recommend Nod32, but there are good alternatives these days. Check out AV Comparatives for a comparison of scanning effectiveness and speed among top AV vendors. Highly Recommended Nod32 Antivirus $ I recommend Nod32 as a non-free Antivirus. Features excellent detection rates and fast scanning speed. Nod32 has a great heuristic engine that is good at spotting unknown threats. Very resource-friendly and historically known for using less memory than other AV's. There is a 30 day free trial available. Alternatives Avira AntiVir Personal I recommend Avira as a free Antivirus. Avira is a free AV with excellent detection rates and fast scanning speed. (Kaspersky no longer recommended, due to espionage concerns.) Online-Scanners Single File Scanning Jotti Online Malware Scan or VirusTotal These scanners can run a single file through a large number of different Antivirus/Antimalware suites in order to improve detection rates. Highly recommended. Whole PC Scanning ESET Online Scanner Nod32 Online Antivirus is pretty good, ActiveX though, so IE only. There is a beta version available that works with Firefox and Opera. b. HIPS / Proactive Defense Host-based intrusion prevention systems (HIPS) work by disallowing malware from modifying critical parts of the Operating System without permission. Classic (behavioral) HIPS software will prompt the user for interaction before allowing certain system modifications, allowing you stop malware in its tracks, whereas Virtualization-based HIPS works primarily by sandboxing executables. Although HIPS is very effective, the additional setup and prompts are not worth the headache for novice users (which may take to just clicking 'allow' to everything and defeating the purpose altogether). I only recommend HIPS for intermediate or advanced users that require a high level of security. Highly Recommended I highly recommend firewall-integrated HIPS solutions. Comodo Defense+ is a classic HIPS built into Comodo Internet Security, and provides a very good level of protection. Outpost and Online Armor provide their own HIPS solutions, and the component control features of the firewalls are powerful enough to keep unwanted applications from bypassing or terminating the firewall. If you want to use a different HIPS, you can disable the firewall HIPS module and use an alternative below. Alternatives Stand-alone HIPS solutions are good for users who either don't like the firewall built-in HIPS (and disable the firewall HIPS), or use a firewall without HIPS features. HIPS based on Behavior (Classic) ThreatFire ThreatFire provides a strong, free behavioral HIPS that works well in conjunction with Antivirus and Firewall suites to provide additional protection. HIPS based on Virtualization DefenseWall HIPS $ DefenseWall is a strong and easy-to-use HIPS solution that uses sandboxing for applications that access the internet. GeSWall Freeware GeSWall makes a nice free addition to the HIPS category, like DefenseWall it also uses sandboxing for applications that access the internet. Dealing with Suspicious Executables You can run suspicious executables in a full featured Virtual Machine (such as VMware) or using a standalone sandbox utility (such as Sandboxie) if you are in doubt of what it may do (though, you may argue that you shouldn't be running executables you don't trust anyway). A more advanced approach to examining a suspicious executable is to run it through Anubis, a tool for analyzing the behavior of Windows executables. It displays a useful report with things the executable does (files read, registry modifications performed, etc.), which will give you insight as to how it works. c. Malware Removal I recommend running all malware removal utilities on-demand (not resident). With a firewall, virus scanner, HIPS, and some common sense, you won't usually get to the point of needing to remove malware... but sometimes things happen, perhaps unavoidably, and you'll need to remove some pretty nasty stuff from a computer. Highly Recommended Anti-Spyware Spybot Search & Destroy Spybot S&D has been around a long time, and is very effective in removing spyware and adware. I personally install and use both Spybot & Ad-Aware, but I believe that Spybot S&D has the current edge in overall detection and usability. Anti-Trojan Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Malwarebytes has a good trojan detector here, and scans fast. Anti-Rootkit Rootkit Unhooker RKU is a very advanced rootkit detection utility. Alternatives Anti-Spyware Ad-Aware Free Edition Ad-Aware is a fine alternative to Spybot S&D, its scanning engine is slower but it is both effective and popular. Anti-Trojan a-squared (a2) Free a-squared is a highly reputable (and free) trojan scanner. Anti-Rootkit IceSword (Mirror) IceSword is one of the most capable and advanced rootkit detectors available. 5. Information and Data Security Data can be reasonably protected using encryption and a strong password, but you will never have complete and absolute anonymity on the internet as long as you have an IP address. a. Privacy / Anonymity Anonymity is elusive. Some of the following software can help you achieve a more anonymous internet experience, but you also must be vigilant in protecting your own personal information. If you use social networking sites, use privacy settings to restrict public access to your profile, and only 'friend' people you know in real life. Don't use (or make any references to) any of your aliases or anonymous handles on any websites that have any of your personal information (Facebook, Amazon, etc..). You should opt-out from information sharing individually for all banks and financial institutions you do business with using their privacy policy choices. You should opt-out of preapproved credit offers (US), unsolicited commercial mail and email (US, UK, CA), and put your phone numbers on the "Do Not Call" list (US, UK, CA). Highly Recommended Simply install and use Tor with Vidalia to surf the internet anonymously. It's free, only downside is it's not terribly fast, but has fairly good anonymity, so it's a tradeoff. Keep in mind its for anonymity not for security, so make sure sites you put passwords in are SSL encrypted (and have valid SSL certificates), and remember that all end point traffic can be sniffed. You can use the Torbutton extension for Firefox to easily toggle on/off anonymous browsing. POP3/IMAP and P2P software won't work through Tor, so keep that in mind. Portable Anonymous Browsing The Tor Project now has a "Zero-Install Bundle" which includes Portable Firefox and Tor with Vidalia to surf anonymously from a USB memory stick pretty much anywhere with the internet. It also includes Pidgin with OTR for encrypted IM communications. Note: These won't protect you from Trojans/Keyloggers/Viruses on insecure public terminals. Never type important passwords or login to important accounts on a public computer unless it is absolutely necessary! Alternatives I2P functions similar to Tor, allowing you to surf the general internet with anonymity. IPREDator $ is a VPN that can be used to anonymize P2P/BitTorrent downloads. Freenet is notable, but not for surfing the general internet, it's its own network with its own content. b. Encryption For most people, encryption may be unnecessary. But if you have a laptop, or any sort of sensitive data (whether it be trade secrets, corporate documents, legal or medical documents) then you can't beat the kind of protection that encryption will offer. There are a variety of options available today, including a lot of software not listed here. A word to the wise, please, please don't fall for snake oil, use well established applications that use time tested (and unbroken) ciphers. Regardless of what software you use, the following "what to pick" charts will apply universally. If you have to pick an encryption cipher: Best: AES (Rijndael) (128-bit block size) Better: Twofish (128-bit block size), Serpent (128-bit block size) Good: RC6 (128-bit block size) Depreciated: Blowfish (64-bit block size), CAST5 (CAST-128) (64-bit block size), Triple-DES (64-bit block size) When encrypting large volumes of data, it is important to pick a cipher that has a block size of at least 128-bytes. This affords you protection for up to 2^64x16 bytes (264 exabytes) . 64-bit block ciphers only afford protection of up to 2^32x8 bytes (32 gigabytes) so using it as a full disk or whole disk encryption cipher is not recommended. The depreciated list is only because some of you might be stuck using software that only supports older encryption methods, so I've ordered it from what I feel is best to worst (though all three that are on there are pretty time tested and if properly implemented, quite secure). If you have to pick a hash to use: Best: Whirlpool (512-bit) Better: SHA-512 (512-bit), SHA-256 (256-bit) Good: Tiger2/Tiger (192-bit), RIPEMD-160 (160-bit) Depreciated: RIPEMD-128, SHA-1, MD-5. With all the recent advances in cryptanalysis (specifically with work on hash collisions) These days I wouldn't trust any hash that is less than 160-bits on principle. To be on the safe side, use a 192-bit, 256-bit, or 512-bit hash where available. There will be cases where your only options are insecure hashes, in which case I've ordered the "depreciated" list from best to worst (they are all varying levels of insecure). Many older hashes (MD4, MD2, RIPEMD(original), and others) are totally broken, and are not to be used. A quick software rundown, these applications are popular and trusted: Highly Recommended Freeware Whole Disk Encryption TrueCrypt Based upon E4M, TrueCrypt is a full featured disk encryption suite, and can even be run off a USB memory stick. TrueCrypt supports the whole disk encryption of Windows, with pre-boot authentication. Very nice. If you can't use whole-disk encryption (WDE), you can use the TCTEMP add-on to encrypt your swapfile, temp files and print spooler, and you can use the TCGINA add-on to encrypt your windows home directory. (Note: TCTEMP/TCGINA is less secure than WDE, and only preferable if WDE is not an option. WDE is highly recommended.) Freeware PKI Encryption GnuPG (GPG) GnuPG provides public-key encryption, including key generation and maintenance, signing and checking documents and email messages, and encryption and decryption of documents and email messages. Freeware Email Encryption Enigmail Enigmail is truly a work of art, it integrates with GnuPG and provides seamless support for encryption and decryption of email messages, and can automatically check PGP signed documents for validity. (Enigmail requires both Mozilla Thunderbird and GnuPG) Alternatives Encryption Suite (with Whole Disk and Email Encryption) PGP Full Disk Encryption $ PGP provides public-key encryption, including key generation and maintenance, signing and checking documents and email messages, encryption and decryption of documents and email messages, volume disk encryption, whole disk encryption, outlook integration, and instant messenger encryption support. c. Backup, Erasure and Recovery // This section is under construction. Backups Your data might be safe from prying eyes, but what if you are affected by hardware failure, theft, flood or fire? Regular backups of your important data can help you recover from a disaster. You should consider encryption of your backups for enhanced security. Local Backup Cobian Backup Cobian Backup is a fully-featured freeware backup utility. SyncBack Freeware, Macrium Reflect Free SyncBack Freeware and Macrium Reflect Free are feature-limited freeware backup utilities. Off-site Backup SkyDrive (25GB, filesize limited to 100MB), box.net (5GB) SkyDrive and box.net offer free online storage, useful for easy offsite backups. Be sure to utilize encrypted containers for any sensitive documents. Data Destruction It would be better to have your data residing in an encrypted partition, but sometimes that may not be possible. When sanitizing a hard drive, I recommend using a quality Block Erase tool like DBAN followed by a run-through with ATA Secure Erase if you really want a drive squeaky clean. Block erasing is good for data you can normally reach, but ATA secure erase can hit areas of the drive block erasers can't. As for multiple overwrite passes, there is no proof that data overwritten even one time can be recovered by professional data recovery corporations. For moderate security, a single pseudorandom block-erase pass (random-write) followed by an ATA Secure Erase pass (zero-write) is sufficient to thwart any attempts at data recovery. For a high level of security, a "DoD Short (3 pass)" block-erase pass followed by an ATA Enhanced Secure Erase will ensure no recovery is possible. Single-File/Free Space Erase If you are interested in just erasing single files or wiping free space, you can use the Eraser utility. Block Erase For hard drive block-erasure, use DBAN. ATA Secure Erase For ATA Secure Erasing, use the CMRR Secure Erase Utility. CMRR Secure Erase Protocols (.pdf) http://cmrr.ucsd.edu...seProtocols.pdf NIST Guidelines for Media Sanitation (.pdf) - http://csrc.nist.gov...800-88_rev1.pdf File Recovery Software This is kind of the opposite of data destruction. Keep in mind no software utility can recover properly overwritten data, so if it's overwritten there is no recovery. Highly Recommended Recuva Recuva is an easy to use GUI-based recovery utility. Alternatives TestDisk and PhotoRec These tools are powerful command-line recovery utilities. TestDisk can recover partitions, and PhotoRec is for general file recovery. Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional $ EasyRecovery is one of the best paid utilites for file recovery. d. Access Control (Passwords, Security Tokens) // This section is under construction. Secure Passwords //Section under construction. Your security is only as strong as its weakest password. There are a few basic rules to follow when creating a strong password. Length - Passwords should be at least 12 characters long. When possible, use a password of 12 or more characters, or a "passphrase". If you are limited to using less than 12 characters, you should try and make your password as long as allowable. Complexity - Passwords should have an element of complexity, a combination of upper and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols will make your passwords much harder to guess, and harder to bruteforce. Uniqueness - Passwords should avoid containing common dictionary words, names, birthdays, or any identification related to you (social security, drivers license, or phone numbers for example). Secret - If you have a password of the utmost importance, do not write it down. Do not type them in plain view of another person or share them with anyone. Avoid use of the same password in multiple places. Security Tokens Security Tokens are cryptographic devices that allow for two-factor authentication. Google Titan Yubikey 5 Series 6. Conclusion And here we are at the end! I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my guide, it's a few (slow) years in the making and I've kept it up to date. This guide is always changing, so check back from time to time. Revision 1.10.020 Copyright © 2004-2012 Malakai1911, All Rights Reserved The information contained within this guide is intended solely for the general information of the reader and is provided "as is" with absolutely no warranty expressed or implied. Any use of this material is at your own risk, its authors are not liable for any direct, special, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages of any kind. This guide is subject to change without notice. Windows_Security_Template__1.10.015_.zip
  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. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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!
  15. Dino8

    Gpg4win 3.11

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    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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. [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
  20. 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
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  22. 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
  23. Per its terms and conditions, YOU Broadband, the fifth largest Indian internet service provider (ISP), doesn’t let its subscribers use strong encryption. The ISP does technically allow VPN and encryption use… but only “up to the bit length permitted by the Department of Telecommunications,” which is 40 bits. It was over twenty years ago in 1997 that Ian Goldberg won $1,000 from RSA for breaking 40 bit encryption in just a few hours. He famously said then: “This is the final proof of what we’ve known for years: 40-bit encryption technology is obsolete.” Yet YOU Broadband, and other Indian ISPs, still insist that their users can’t use anything stronger than a twenty-year-broken key size. That’s not viable security in the 21st century, and makes you wonder why encryption is discouraged in the first place. Nowadays, because 40 bit encryption has long been shown to be obsolete, the minimum standard is usually at least a 128 bit encryption key size. Indian ISP, YOU Broadband, doesn’t want you to use encryption because it hampers their logging Earlier this week, redditor bf_of_chitti_robot pointed out in the /r/India subreddit that Clause 38 of YOU Broadband’s Terms and Conditions clearly set out the company’s stance on encryption, as well as explaining why the company wanted such a rule. YOU Broadband Terms and Conditions Clause 38 (June 2016 Internet Archive snapshot): The Customer shall not take any steps including adopting any encryption system that prevents or in any way hinders the Company from maintaining a log of the Customer or maintaining or having access to copies of all packages/data originating from the Customer. The ISP’s stated intentions of maintaining customer logs and ensuring that they have access to copies of all your packages/data are, of course, mandated by law under the Information Technology Act. After the clause was pointed out, YOU Broadband quickly updated Clause 38 of their user policy to simply state: The Customer may use VPN and encryption up to the bit length permitted by the Department of Telecommunications. Needless to say, nothing has changed about their intentions – making sure you aren’t using strong encryption because it gets in the way of their snooping. This is the same snooping that ISPs in America, like AT&T, are able to exploit now that internet privacy rules have been relaxed in the states (but not all states). Nosy ISPs seem to be an international problem. India’s Department of Telecommunications only allows up to 40 bit encryption, which is insecure What is the bit length permitted by the Department of Telecommunications, anyways? According to a 2002 note on ISP regulation by the Department of Telecommunications, the encryption key length hard limit is 40 bits for internet service licensees aka internet service providers. Internet service licensees, such as YOU Broadband, have an obligation to the licensor, the Department of Telecommunications, to forbid individuals, groups, and organizations from using encryption with keys stronger than 40 bits without permission. Instead of asking the regulators for this permission to allow its users to actually utilize viable encryption key lengths without violating the user policy, YOU Broadband has elected to pass on the 15 year old rule on encryption – essentially making the use of encryption online against the rules of the ISP and a potential reason to lose service. Under the current and previous iterations of the user policy, YOU Broadband subscribers are technically breaking the ISP’s rules every time they access https://www.google.co.in. Secure encryption is a necessity in today’s online world – and an ISP that explicitly forbids it needs to be pointed out. What would you do if your ISP said that you shouldn’t use meaningful encryption? What do you do when your government’s laws are outdated and don’t protect your privacy? Article source
  24. Eighty-three organisations and experts from the Five Eyes countries have called on ministers responsible for security to respect the right to use and develop strong encryption. In a statement, the group called on the ministers to "commit to pursuing any additional dialogue in a transparent forum with meaningful public participation". The statement came in the wake of a meeting of ministers from the five countries — the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — in Ottawa this week to discuss recent terrorist incidents and discuss means to "thwart" the use of encryption by terrorists. The group said that the ministers had, in a joint communique, "committed to exploring shared solutions to the perceived impediment posed by encryption to investigative objectives". "While the challenges of modern-day security are real, such proposals threaten the integrity and security of general purpose communications tools relied upon by international commerce, the free press, governments, human rights advocates, and individuals around the world," the statement said. "Last year, many of us joined several hundred leading civil society organisations, companies, and prominent individuals calling on world leaders to protect the development of strong cryptography. "This protection demands an unequivocal rejection of laws, policies, or other mandates or practices — including secret agreements with companies — that limit access to or undermine encryption and other secure communications tools and technologies. "Today, we reiterate that call with renewed urgency. We ask you to protect the security of your citizens, your economies, and your governments by supporting the development and use of secure communications tools and technologies, by rejecting policies that would prevent or undermine the use of strong encryption, and by urging other world leaders to do the same." The group said that attempts to create backdoors in encrypted applications or software were short-sighted and counter-productive. They said that if there were restrictions to access of encryption products in Five Eyes countries, anybody who wanted such tools would obtain them in other countries or on the blackmarket. "We urge you, as leaders in the global community, to remember that encryption is a critical tool of general use. It is neither the cause nor the enabler of crime or terrorism. As a technology, encryption does far more good than harm," the statement said. "We therefore ask you to prioritise the safety and security of individuals by working to strengthen the integrity of communications and systems. As an initial step we ask that you continue any engagement on this topic in a multi-stakeholder forum that promotes public participation and affirms the protection of human rights." Electronic Frontiers Australia executive officer Jon Lawrence said encryption was a necessary and critical tool enabling individual privacy, a free media, online commerce and the operations of organisations, including government agencies. "Undermining encryption therefore represents a serious threat to national security in its own right, as well as threatening basic human rights and the enormous economic and social benefits that the digital revolution has brought for people across the globe," he added. Article source
  25. 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
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