Trump isn’t even acting President yet, and the FBI is already expanding its hacking powers. Before you start worrying about your privacy or over encryption policies, you should know that this move was largely in the works. The Senate failed on Wednesday to block or delay rule changes that would expand the FBI’s hacking powers. That means that starting on Thursday, the FBI will have the authority to remotely access any computer, in the US, and even overseas. More →
The UK passed a new surveillance law called that not only does it give the government enhanced mass-spying powers, but it also contains the necessary wording that could help the government convince tech companies to include backdoors in encrypted products, including devices like the iPhone or online services like WhatsApp. More →
Apple’s iPhones and iPads that run iOS 8 or later have sophisticated encryption systems in place, and law enforcement agencies aren’t too happy about that. Without access to a phone’s password, a device is almost impenetrable. But it’s not exactly hack proof, as the San Bernardino case from earlier this year proved. It’s not clear how the FBI cracked that device, but it looks like that might not be an isolated endeavor. India is seeking to acquire to crack any smartphone, including Apple’s encrypted iPhone.
Facebook promised it’ll offer Messenger users end-to-end encryption, and the company finally rolled out the feature to all its users. However, Messenger isn’t end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning you have to manually activate it for each conversation., which can be a hassle. More →
The Pixel smartphones and the Google Home are amazing new Google devices. But they’re not the best thing Google unveiled on stage during Tuesday’s media event. The most impressive product the Search giant isn’t something palpable. You won’t be able to buy it in a store by itself. It will come prepackaged in Pixels, Homes and other smart devices Google launches in the future. It’s the Google Assistant, the intelligent, voice-activated AI-powered computer that can respond to intricate queries, and predict what you’re going to need next. More →
iPhone backups are easier to crack if the device is running Apple’s iOS 10. Hackers discovered the issues, saying that Apple weakened backup security with iOS 10. But Apple is already on the case and plans to issue fixes for it.
The Apple vs. FBI fight over breaking the encryption of the San Bernardino iPhone was one of the most important news topics of the beginning of the year. Ultimately Apple won, as it didn’t have to create a backdoored version of iOS that would let the FBI spy on that iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI won too, as it bought an iPhone hack for more than $1.3 million that let it bypass the password that protects the lockscreen of iPhones.
The recent NSA hack just proved to the world that no system is hack-proof if attackers have what it takes to break the access door. Regardless of whatever protections guarded that NSA server, hackers found a security hole to get in and steal critical documents. The same thing could happen to encrypted services that would feature a backdoor for law enforcement.
But governments around the world still think they’d be able to handle such terrifying scenarios, with France and Germany being the latest nations looking to gain access to private encrypted messages exchanged over the internet by terror plot suspects. More →
The Apple vs. FBI legal battle over the San Bernardino case in early 2016 was one of the most important events of the year so far, as user privacy, device security and terrorism converged in a single case. On one hand, we have Apple, keen on protecting everyone’s privacy. On the other hand, there’s the FBI, a law enforcement agency that demands access to any communication device that may have been used during the plotting of a heinous crime. Apple won that battle, and while many from the tech sector sided with the iPhone company in its fight against the FBI, there was one notable company that argued that encryption has to be broken when the government needs it: BlackBerry.
The irony did not escape us then, and it doesn’t escape us now — BlackBerry’s CEO still thinks Apple is wrong. More →
We may have thought that Android is just as safe as the iPhone when it comes to encryption, but it looks like Google’s Android operating system has a critical flaw that can be exploited to decrypt a device. Even worse, while there are patches that can fix the issue, it seems that attackers can simply downgrade to a pre-patch state, and then decrypt a target device with ease. More →
Google isn’t happy with the chat apps it already has, so at I/O 2016 it showed off a new Assistant-infused Allo messaging app as well as a Duo video chat app intended to work like Apple’s FaceTime, but across platforms. From Google’s demos, you can easily see they’re incredible apps that should offer fast and smart communication. However, there are things you need to know about privacy and encryption. More →
Ted Lieu is one of the few bona fide computer geeks in Congress. Even if you didn’t already know the California Democrat is one of only four congressmen (out of a total of 535) with a computer science degree, it’s the kind of thing that quickly becomes apparent when talking to the Stanford grad about a range of privacy and encryption matters.
For starters, he recently downloaded and started using WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging platform that earlier this month defaulted to end-to-end encryption for all users. He’s not only a supporter of strong encryption without backdoors — Lieu considers it “a national security priority.” More →
A few days ago, a first draft of an anti-encryption bill from Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) came to light and it drew an instant backlash from security experts. The law is apparently so bad that not only would it make the some of the NSA’s own work illegal, but it would also outlaw some of the things we’ve taken for granted for years, such as the ability to compress large files to share them online. More →