Moxie Marlinspike

Meet the dreadlocked hippie who’s an encryption guru and has the NSA freaking out

By on July 10, 2015 at 9:05 AM.

Meet the dreadlocked hippie who’s an encryption guru and has the NSA freaking out

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.

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Android Phone Encryption Factory Reset

Wiping your Android phone doesn’t really erase your data – here’s what you need to do

By on May 27, 2015 at 10:48 AM.

Wiping your Android phone doesn’t really erase your data – here’s what you need to do

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 →

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iPhone Android Smartphone Encryption Law Enforcement

This is the stupidest argument against iPhone and Android encryption we’ve ever heard

By on April 30, 2015 at 11:05 AM.

This is the stupidest argument against iPhone and Android encryption we’ve ever heard

Why are we so suspicious of law enforcement officials who are howling bloody murder about Apple and Google’s decision to encrypt smartphone traffic? Largely because they keep making totally boneheaded arguments. The latest such argument comes to us courtesy of Motherboard, which reports that Daniel Conley, the Suffolk County District Attorney in Massachusetts, has argued that widespread smartphone encryption will lead to an outbreak of perverts snapping “upskirt” photos of women who are riding public transportation. More →

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David Cameron Encryption Ban

The 4 funniest British responses to David Cameron’s boneheaded attack on encryption

By on January 13, 2015 at 2:10 PM.

The 4 funniest British responses to David Cameron’s boneheaded attack on encryption

If there’s one thing British writers do vastly better than we Americans, it’s using subtle but cutting wit to ridicule others’ complete stupidity. Now the United Kingdom’s own prime minister David Cameron has given them quite an opportunity to use their talents after he said he wanted to prevent mobile apps such as WhatsApp from using encryption that would potentially block intelligence agencies from being able to read everyone’s messages. Thankfully, our friends across the pond haven’t let us down — below we’ve found you the four funniest British responses to Cameron’s attack on encryption. More →

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NSA Auroragold Cellphone Encryption

Of course the NSA spied on people who were working on better phone encryption

By on December 4, 2014 at 8:00 PM.

Of course the NSA spied on people who were working on better phone encryption

The NSA’s far-reaching powers have been further detailed in an extensive report from The Intercept, which reveals that the agency has conducted an advanced spying operation for years in an effort to spy on mobile operators working on phone encryption. The operation reportedly also targeted bodies that oversee telecom standards, in order to stay updated on new security protocols and identify or even insert vulnerabilities into those communication networks it wanted access to. More →

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Mylar Website Encryption Technology

‘Prism-proof’ tech allows websites to encrypt all your data

By on March 27, 2014 at 12:30 AM.

‘Prism-proof’ tech allows websites to encrypt all your data

MIT researchers are working together with the Meteor Development Group on a Mylar project that would allow companies to offer customers fully encrypted Internet services, MIT Technology Review reports. Mylar would extend data security to servers, adding a new layer of encryption to complement the encrypted connection between a personal computer and server. Mylar would actually encrypt the user’s data on a server, requiring the related decryption password in order to access the data. As a result, the data would be safe from prying eyes and various Prism-like spying operations.

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Honey Encryption trick

Latest encryption trick to thwart hackers is as sweet as Honey

By on January 29, 2014 at 1:44 PM.

Latest encryption trick to thwart hackers is as sweet as Honey

It seems like every other week another high-profile company’s servers are hacked. Last November, for example, Adobe suffered a security breach and as many as 150 million users’ may have been affected. Instead of crying about it, two security researchers are using these data dumps to try to thwart the next attackers, with a clever new method called Honey Encryption, reports MIT Technology Review. More →

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Web privacy guru designing anti-spying iPhone app

By on June 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM.

Web privacy guru designing anti-spying iPhone app

iPhone Privacy App

It seems there’s a new app for iPhone users who feel like they’re being watched. Per Technology Review, the new Silent Circle iOS app encrypts every call, text or email sent from users’ iPhones and thus prevents them from being intercepted by third parties. The app is the brainchild of Phil Zimmermann, the Internet privacy pioneer who developed the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) email encryption protocol all the way back in 1991. The app is still in its development stages and is being tested out for both iPhone and iPad, and Zimmermann hopes to have it ready to sell by the end of the year as a $20 monthly subscription service, Technology Review reports.  More →

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U.S. Army testing smartphones and tablets for combat

By on July 18, 2011 at 5:20 PM.

U.S. Army testing smartphones and tablets for combat

The U.S. Army has started a pilot program on June 6th to test the effectiveness of equipping troops with tablets and phones in combat, CNN recently reported. The idea is to provide troops with the ability to send text messages and geotagged images that alert others about their current surroundings. Similarly, the infantry could use the devices to file regular reports and easily view maps, CNN said. So far, the troops have been testing the iPhone and phones powered by Windows Phone and Android, and soldiers have particularly liked the iPhone and Android-powered devices. In addition to smartphones, the Army is also testing the iPad and tablets from Dell and HP. The results of the tests have been so positive that the Army could begin deploying a small amount of troops equipped with smartphones later this year. “Today, we don’t have the level of encryption that we would need to take [a smartphone] overseas and fully integrate it into our mission-command systems,” said Ed Mazzanti, an Army director working on the program. “There could be some limited deployments even this year, tied to tactical radios that supply the encryption that’s needed.” More →

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Apple sued again for collecting location data

By on May 12, 2011 at 1:33 PM.

Apple sued again for collecting location data

A lawsuit has been filed against Apple, Pandora, and The Weather Channel in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico that alleges Apple “intentionally [intercepts] personally identifying information.” The plaintiff, Lymaris M. Rivera Diaz, is charging Apple with unfair trade practices, abuse and fraud, and he believes that Apple shares the iPhone’s unique ID, as well as personal location information, with third party developers such as The Weather Channel and Pandora. Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law on Tuesday, and said “Apple does not track users’ locations,” and that the Cupertino-based company has no plans to do so. This is the second lawsuit filed against Apple in regards to the location tracking scandalThe first was filed in Tampa, Florida late last month. More →

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Apple and Google grilled by Senate on collecting location data

By on May 11, 2011 at 9:45 AM.

Apple and Google grilled by Senate on collecting location data

Google and Apple testified before the Senate on Tuesday, where both firms were grilled on collecting location information from mobile phones. During the hearing, Senator Al Franken was particularly vocal on the issue. “My wireless companies, Apple and Google, and my apps, all get my location or something very close to it,” Senator Franken said. “We need to address this issue now, as mobile devices are only going to get more popular.” We covered Apple’s response on Tuesday, during which Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, said that “Apple does not track users’ locations,” and that the firm never plans to do so. However, Franken was also concerned that Apple and Google have done little to police third-party applications that are collecting and transmitting location data, and suggested that both companies require developers to alert users of their specific privacy policies. Trimble said Apple already does this, but it has never tossed an application for violating that rule. Google’s director of public policy, Alan Davidson, said Google would consider adding the option. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jessica Rich, the deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer-protection bureau said that, despite both firms saying they don’t collect user data, “there’s a lot [the FTC] can do… to challenge,” those claims. More →

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Apple exec to Senate: ‘Apple does not track users’ locations’

By on May 10, 2011 at 6:35 PM.

Apple exec to Senate: ‘Apple does not track users’ locations’

While testifying before the U.S. Congress today, Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, tried to clarify concerns that Apple had been tracking owners of its iPhone and iPad Wi-Fi + 3G. Apple has said in the past that it does not track its users and it also recently issued iOS 4.3.3, which reduces and encrypts the crowd-sourced location database cache, but Tribble explained the story in a bit more detail:

We do not share customer information with third parties without our customers’ explicit consent. Apple does not track users’ locations. Apple has never done so and has no plans to do so. An Apple device does not send to Apply any specific information associated with a user. The purpose of the cache is to allow the device to more quickly and reliably respond to location requests. Apple was never tracking an individual user’s location. The data seen on the iPhone was not the location past or present of the iPhone, but the location of cell towers surrounding the phone. Although the cache was not encrypted, it was protected from other apps on the phone.

According to 9to5 Mac, Tribble also explained to the U.S. Congress that, as we know, the iPhone and 3G iPad are able to determine a user’s location using triangulation between nearby Wi-Fi hotspots or cell phone towers. More →

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