There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that the ISIS attacks on Paris were carefully planned and executed, with some degree of sophistication involved, at least when it comes to avoiding intelligence agencies. Immediately after the tragedy that hit France in mid-November, many speculated that terrorists relied on encrypted devices and apps to thwart detection, although that hasn’t been proved so far. Moreover, reports picked up by the media revealed that ISIS might have an advanced support team in place, that would offer its members round-the-clock guidance when it comes to the digital aspect of their operations.
Over the weekend, with all the terror attacks-related frenzy in the media, I happened to stumble upon what might just be one of the most ignorant stances on encryption I’ve read in a while, The Telegraph’s “Why is Silicon Valley helping the tech-savvy jihadists?” And yes, the story is related to the debate on strong encryption, the kind of data protection for Internet-connected devices and Internet services that intelligence agencies can’t crack.
Before we start, no tech company is helping tech-savvy ISIS members by creating such products. In fact, it’s still not even clear that encryption helps ISIS plan and execute sophisticated attacks such as the one in Paris on November 13th. More →
There’s a new interesting revelation in the debate on encryption that was reignited after the disastrous attacks on Paris in mid-November. According to a new report, Google can remotely unlock at least 74% of Android devices if ordered to by authorities – and that percentage might be much higher. More →
In the wake of last week’s deadly terror attacks in Paris, prominent politicians and senior law-enforcement officials have said that western governments have to rethink their stance on encrypted Internet-connected products and services.
But government officials aren’t the only ones to voice concerns about encryption. Politicians might be pushing legislation to weaken encryption in the name of greater security but many big-name tech companies — including Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft — warn that weaker encryption will help the bad guys. More →
French police and special forces conducted a massive raid in Paris’ suburb Saint-Denis in the early hours on Wednesday morning. Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard near an apartment building where individuals suspected of being linked to the Paris attacks were hiding, including the person who may have planned the November 13th assault on Paris. Two people died in the ensuing fight, including a woman who detonated a vest containing explosives, and the primary target of the attack.
Interestingly, the information that helped police conduct this particular raid and potentially avoid a second disaster in Paris came from an unencrypted, unlocked smartphone found in a dumpster near the Bataclan concert hall where terrorists killed 89 people on Friday. More →
McCain wants to legislate encryption even though there’s no evidence it helped ISIS in Paris attacks
While it’s suspected that encrypted communication services may have helped ISIS coordinate attacks on Paris, there’s no evidence to actually prove it. Even so, some members of Congress are already talking about legislating encryption, potentially requiring tech companies to include backdoors into encrypted products that could be used by spy agencies to prevent similar tragedies in the future. In fact, Senator John McCain already said he’s determined to outlaw encryption that the U.S. government cannot crack. More →
Since launching iOS 8 last year, Apple made it clear to customers, competitors and government officials that it puts tremendous value on the security and privacy of the user, especially in light of the recent data breaches and revelations about mass spying operations. Since then, Apple kept defending its encryption and other privacy-enhancing features built into iOS and OS X products, even if it meant defying the government.
The government even took Apple to court, as the iPhone maker chose not to give law enforcement access to an iPhone as part of a secret investigation. And now a judge in the case seems to be siding with Apple, although a final ruling isn’t expected until Wednesday. More →
Some Edward Snowden leaks have revealed that the NSA and other intelligence agencies can break encryption barriers for mass surveillance purposes. It has been theorized that a flaw in encryption used by many Internet services lets the spy agency decrypt HTTPS, SSH, and VPN traffic, and a new paper seems to prove that.
Indeed, a massive effort comparable to the attempts of breaking the German Enigma coding machine during the World War II seems to have given the NSA the tools required to break trillions of secure connections. More →
It seems like every week there’s a major new vulnerability found in Android. What makes this even worse for users is that it will likely take them forever to get desperately needed patches thanks to Android’s fragmented and decentralized software upgrade system. All the same, there is something that you can do right now to improve the security of your Android phone’s data: You can enable encryption on your device. More →
While encryption and secured messaging has long been a topic of interest in tech circles, the issue became a mainstream and hot-button issue in 2013 following a series of Edward Snowden leaks detailing the NSA’s extensive efforts to bolster their electronic snooping capabilities.
In the back and forth battle over consumer privacy, one tends to think of government cryptographers looking to outwit engineers at companies like Google and Apple who help churn out some of the most widely used software across the globe.
But playing an instrumental role in this cat and mouse game is a man you might not ordinarily expect to see in such a discussion.
Inventive researchers at Tel Aviv University have come up with a new way of spying on computer users, one that can reportedly steal passwords wirelessly with help of a radio and… pita bread. More →
Looking forward to turning your Android phone into cash that can then be used for a new smartphone purchase? Before you go ahead with your plans of selling your current handset, you should first make sure you delete your personal data from the device. And make sure you do it properly, because simply restoring to factory settings won’t be enough to really protect your data. More →