Apple could be held liable for supporting terrorism with strong iOS encryption, experts theorize


Apple could be held liable for supporting terrorism with strong iOS encryption, experts theorize

In the second installment of a thought piece about end-to-end encryption and its effect on national security, Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes and co-author Zoe Bedell hypothesize a situation in which Apple is called upon to provide decrypted communications data as part of a legal law enforcement process.

Since Apple does not, and on devices running iOS 8 cannot, readily hand over decrypted user data, a terrorist might leverage the company’s messaging products to hide their agenda from government security agencies. And to deadly effect.

As The Intercept reported, the hypotheticals just made the ongoing government surveillance versus consumer protection battle “uglier.”

Wittes and Bedell lay out a worst case scenario in which an American operative is recruited by ISIS via Twitter, then switches communication methods to Apple’s encrypted platform. The person might already be subject to constant monitoring from the FBI, for example, but would “go dark” once they committed to iOS. Certain information slips through, like location information and metadata, but surveillance is blind for all intents and purposes, the authors propose. The asset is subsequently activated and Americans die.

Under the civil remedies provision of the Antiterrorism Act (18 U.S. Code §2333), victims of international terrorism can sue, Lawfare explains, adding that an act violating criminal law is required to meet section definitions. Courts have found material support crimes satisfy this criteria. Because Apple was previously warned of potential threats to national security, specifically the danger of loss of life, it could be found to have provided material support to the theoretical terrorist.

The authors point out that Apple would most likely be open liability under §2333 for violating 18 USC §2339A, which makes it a crime to “provide[] material support or resources … knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out” a terrorist attack or other listed criminal activity. Communications equipment is specifically mentioned in the statute.

Ultimately, it falls to the court to decide liability, willing or otherwise. Wittes and Bedell compare Apple’s theoretical contribution to that of Arab Bank’s monetary support of Hamas, a known terrorist organization. The judge in that case moved the question of criminality to Hamas, the group receiving assistance, not Arab Bank.

“The question for the jury was thus whether the bank was secondarily, rather than primarily, liable for the injuries,” Wittes and Bedell write. “The issue was not whether Arab Bank was trying to intimidate civilians or threaten governments. It was whether Hamas was trying to do this, and whether Arab Bank was knowingly helping Hamas.”

The post goes on to detail court precedent relating to Apple’s hypothetical case, as well as legal definitions of what constitutes criminal activity in such matters. Wittes and Bedell conclude, after a comprehensive rundown of possible defense scenarios, that Apple might, in some cases, be found in violation of the criminal prohibition against providing material support to a terrorist. They fall short of offering a viable solution to the potential problem. It’s also important to note that other companies, like Google and Android device makers, proffer similar safeguards and would likely be subject to the same theoretical — and arguably extreme — interpretations of national policy described above.

Apple has been an outspoken proponent of customer data privacy, openly touting strong iOS encryption and a general reluctance to handover information unless served with a warrant. The tack landed the company in the crosshairs of law enforcement agencies wanting open access to data deemed vital to criminal investigations.

In May, Apple was one of more than 140 signatories of a letter asking President Barack Obama to reject any proposals that would colorably change current policies relating to the protection of user data. For example, certain agencies want Apple and others to build software backdoors into their encrypted platforms, a move that would make an otherwise secure system inherently unsafe.

VeriFyle reveals Cellucrypt, a new multi-layer encryption key management technology


VeriFyle reveals Cellucrypt, a new multi-layer encryption key management technology

VeriFyle, the company headed by Hotmail inventor and co-founder Jack Smith, has a new encryption key management technology which it believes will “re-invent how the world thinks about secure sharing and messaging”. The major difference is that any object that is shared to the cloud using the system is encrypted for individual users rather than in bulk.

Cellucrypt offers such a high level of security that VeriFyle believes that it “makes illicit bulk-access to customer data virtually impossible.” It’s a bold claim, but Cellucrypt builds on the traditional a public-key system with the addition of password-derived keys.

The encryption technique will be used by VeriFyle’s messaging and file-sharing services when it launches later in the year. Cellucrypt has been patented by VeriFyle and will be made available to customers free of charge. Introducing the new encryption technique VeriFyle says

The patented Cellucrypt technology assigns each data object (e.g. document, note or conversation) a unique encryption key, which is itself encrypted uniquely each time a user shares that object.  By encrypting each data object individually for users, Cellucrypt makes illicit bulk-access to customer data virtually impossible.

CEO Jack Smith has high hopes for his company’s new technology:

Key management should be invisible to the end-user and it should maximize users’ security and peace of mind without burdening them with extra steps and add-on products. VeriFyle is the first all-in-one product that combines advanced key management technology with cloud sharing and messaging. The result is a significantly more secure way to share data.

Silent scanners: Emergency communications encrypted across Nova Scotia


Silent scanners: Emergency communications encrypted across Nova Scotia

SYDNEY — Citizens who like listening in on police, fire department and ambulance calls are out of luck, now that most emergency services communications in Cape Breton are conducted on fully encrypted radios.

The scanners have gone silent, for the most part, with the introduction of the second generation of Trunk Mobile Radio (TMR2) communications.

Being unable to monitor police traffic can be dangerous for citizens, said one longtime listener who didn’t want to be named.

“You don’t know what’s going on in the city unless you have a scanner,” said the citizen, who lives in Sydney’s north end.

“No offence to radios or newspaper, but you don’t hear everything that goes on.”

Recently, police were looking for a man seen on Dolbin Street, who reportedly had a gun. Thankfully, people listening to scanners were able to alert neighbours to stay inside, the citizen said.

“Certain things cannot be aired over the scanner, of course. It’s common logic. But they shouldn’t be blocking everything out.

“I’ve asked the police several times, and they say it’s not illegal to have a scanner. It’s illegal to follow the police cars when you have a scanner, because that’s interfering.”

The citizen said no one has yet heard of a way to crack the new encryption.

“I was hoping you would have heard,” the listener said.

Cape Breton Regional Police spokeswoman Desiree Vassallo said police haven’t heard any complaints from citizens about the encryption system.

She said police need secure communications, especially during sensitive operations when police don’t want suspects or the public to know exactly where they are.

Listeners can still occasionally hear some fire department traffic, because the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s volunteer fire departments only have four radios each, for now.

The municipality is considering buying more radios for volunteers, but for now, fire department commanders use the TMR2 radios to talk to the dispatch centre and other emergency personnel, such as the police and ambulance services.

The commanders then communicate with individual firefighters using the older very-high-frequency (VHF) radios, which scanners can pick up.

That means listeners may hear some radio traffic, but not necessarily the most critical information, such as the location or severity of a fire or emergency scene.

Fire Chief Bernie MacKinnon said encryption is not important for fire departments, in part because fires are usually obvious and people can phone their neighbours or put messages out on social media anyway.

“TMR2 encryption is a police animal,” he said.

“When we have a raging fire, it’s not a secret. Even if we didn’t use the radios, everybody in the world is going to know, especially with the emerging technology that’s out there today.”

However, he said, maintaining clear communications with other emergency services is important.

Whether the service outfits all volunteer firefighters with the new radios is still under discussion, said MacKinnon, but it’s likely both VHF and TMR2 radios will be used for some time to come.

“To the best of my knowledge, outside of Halifax, all the other departments are running a hybrid system of using VHF in combination with TMR,” he said.

Twitter Security Pro: Encryption Isn’t Enough


Encryption can appear to be priceless when it’s absent, as it was in the recent Office of Personnel Management breach. It can appear to be costly when it’s present, as FBI director James Comey has argued. But not everything is as it appears.

Michael Coates, trust and information security officer at Twitter and global board member of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), suggests encryption gets more credit than it deserves.

“Encryption is thrown around as the solution to prevent people from seeing your data,” said Coates in an interview at InformationWeek’s San Francisco office. “But if you dive into the dynamics of how data is stolen, you’ll find that encryption actually is not effective in those scenarios.”

Coates described a scenario involving a database with encrypted information. In order for a Web application to work with that database, it must decrypt the data.

“The way that data is most often compromised is through a vulnerability in the Web application … So when the attacker steals the data, that data will be unencrypted.”

Along these lines, a DHS official has asserted that encryption would not have helped in the OPM breach because the attacker had valid credentials. It may also turn out that encryption’s ability to conceal crime from the authorities is overstated.

Twitter Security Pro: Encryption Isn't Enough

Coates stopped by in his OWASP capacity in order to promote the OWASP Application Security Conference, which takes place Sept. 22 through 25 in San Francisco. The aim of the conference is to raise the bar for application security by helping individuals and organizations understand how to build better defended software.

“There’s a definite security talent shortage, so by educating more people we’re hopefully bringing more people into the fold,” said Coates.

Coates hopes the conference will provide companies with specific actions they can take to make their software more secure and with a roadmap to integrate best practices into their software development life cycle.

There are companies doing a good job with security, said Coates, citing Google, Facebook, Mozilla (where he used to work), Netflix, and Twitter (where he currently works). “The challenge is what do you say to the industry at large, to the companies in the Midwest that have one security person. … They can’t hire all these people and build custom solutions.”

Coates agrees with Google and other computer security professionals about the need for access to intrusion software, something could become more difficult if proposed export controls are adopted. “I think security engineers need both [offensive and defensive] skillsets,” he said. “Training someone how to attack software that they need to defend is vital. Anything less than that is just putting blinders on their eyes.”

At the same time, Coates is focused on providing developers with the tools and knowledge to write secure code. “We can’t just run around hacking ourselves secure,” he said. “Instead, we have to say, ‘I understand the symptom, how do I build a solution that is comprehensive and stops this problem from happening again in hundreds of applications?'”

Pointing to the way Java limits buffer overflow errors through array bounds checking and the way Python’s Django framework uses templates to prevent cross-site scripting, Coates expects some help will come through advances in programming languages that limit unsafe coding practices.

But because each application is unique and there are still so many ways to introduce vulnerabilities, Coates is pushing for security training, and for security as part of the software life cycle. “You can’t have security be this other team where you just throw things over the wall and fix stuff,” he said. “That’s a bottleneck and the business grinds to a halt. So you have to have this integrate into the life cycle and have tools that scale, because the cost of human capital for security is really high. And that’s what I see in enterprises that are doing well. They’ve found a way to minimize the human involvement and instead use highly accurate automation.”

Coates recommends that companies implement content security policies for their Web applications to defend against cross-site scripting. He also suggests using SSL everywhere and HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) as defenses against man-in-the-middle attacks. He also advises use of the X-Frame-Options header, to prevent clickjacking (UI redress attacks).

“Fundamental security at the application layer and strong access controls at the enterprise layer governing who can interact with the data, those turn into the bread and butter of security,” said Coates. “And that’s where people need to spend the time.”

It’s Time to End the “Debate” on Encryption Backdoors


Yesterday, on Lawfare, FBI Director James Comey laid out his concern that the growing adoption of strong encryption technologies will frustrate law enforcement’s ability to conduct investigations — what he calls the “Going Dark” problem. The gist of Comey’s position is this: He recognizes encryption is important to security and privacy, but believes we are fast approaching an age of “universal encryption” that is in tension with the government’s investigative needs. Although he assures us he is not a “maniac,” Comey also feels it is his duty to ensure that we have a broad public debate that considers the costs as well as the benefits of widespread encryption. Comey will presumably be making the same points tomorrow afternoon at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing where he will be the sole witness, while a broader panel of witnesses will be testifying on the same controversy tomorrow morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

First, credit where credit is due: James Comey is certainly not a maniac but a dedicated law enforcement official, one who has in the past put his career on the line to impose the rule of law on overreaching government surveillance. And it’s true that encryption will likely frustrate some investigations, a point I addressed directly when I testified House hearing on the subject in April. It’s also true that the FBI has so far to come up with any compelling examples of how encryption has actually stymied any investigations, and the latest wiretapping report shows that encryption is not yet a significant barrier to FBI electronic surveillance — encryption prevented law enforcement from obtaining the plaintext of communications in only four of the 3,554 criminal wiretaps authorized in 2014! Even so, it’s a given that just as ordinary citizens use encryption, so too will criminals, and that will likely pose a challenge for law enforcement in some cases.

So we are not “talking past each other” on encryption, as Comey puts it. Rather, since he first raised this issue last October, there has been an incredibly robust debate (as reflected in this massive of recent statements and writing on the subject), directly addressing the Director’s suggestion that companies should engineer their encrypted products and services to enable government surveillance. As that debate reflects, the broad consensus outside of the FBI is that the societal costs of such surveillance backdoors — or “front doors,” as Comey prefers to call them — far outweigh the benefits to law enforcement, and that strong encryption will ultimately prevent more crimes than it obscures.

Tech companies, privacy advocates, security experts, policy experts, all five members of President Obama’s handpicked Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies UN human rights experts, and a majority of the House of Representatives all agree: Government-mandated backdoors are a bad idea. There are countless reasons why this is true, including: They would unavoidably weaken the security of our digital data, devices, and communications even as we are in the midst of a cybersecurity crisis; they would cost the US tech industry billions as foreign customers — including many of the criminals Comey hopes to catch — turn to more secure alternatives; and they would encourage oppressive regimes that abuse human rights to demand backdoors of their own.

Most of these arguments are not new or surprising. Indeed, it was for many of the same reasons that the US government ultimately rejected the idea of encryption backdoors in the 90s, during what are now called the “Crypto Wars.” We as a nation already had the debate that Comey is demanding — we had it 20 years ago! — and the arguments against backdoors have only become stronger and more numerous with time. Most notably, the 21st century has turned out to be a “Golden Age for Surveillance” for the government. Even with the proliferation of encryption, law enforcement has access to much more information than ever before: access to cellphone location information about where we are and where we’ve been, metadata about who we communicate with and when, and vast databases of emails and pictures and more in the cloud. So, the purported law enforcement need is even less compelling than it was in the 90s. Meanwhile, the security implications of trying to mandate backdoors throughout the vast ecosystem of digital communications services have only gotten more dire in the intervening years, as laid out in an exhaustive new report issued just this morning by over a dozen heavy-hitting security experts.

Yesterday, Comey conceded that after a meaningful debate, it may be that we as a people decide that the benefits of widespread encryption outweigh the costs and that there’s no sensible, technically feasible way to guarantee government access to encrypted data. But the fact is that we had that debate 20 years ago, and we’ve been having it again for nearly a year. We are not talking past each other; a wide range of advocates, industry stakeholders, policymakers, and experts has been speaking directly to Comey’s arguments since last fall. Hopefully he will soon start listening, rather than dooming us to repeat the mistakes of the past and dragging us into another round of Crypto Wars.

We have already had the debate that Comey says he wants. All that’s left is for him to admit that he’s lost.

Encryption, Privacy, National Security And Ashley Madison


Encryption, Privacy, National Security And Ashley Madison

So, as about a million Australians quietly shit themselves as the Ashley Madison data breach starts to bleed data, we have the UK government talking about banning encryption. Although they have backtracked to some some degree UK Prime Minister David Cameron told his parliament the country needed to crack down on encryption in order to make it harder for terrorists to communicate.

While the Ashley Madison hack is barely surprising — mega-breaches are a fact of life in today’s world — there’s a whole level of cock up associated with not encrypting such sensitive data. And if encryption becomes harder to access we can expect sensitive data to not only be captured but easily read and shared. And not actually deleting the data they promised to remove with their paid-for profile removal service suggests the story will be played out in the courts.

So, what’s happening in the Australian policy world when it comes to balancing act between security and privacy? We spoke with Tobias Feakin, the director of the International Cyber Policy Centre and Senior Analyst with the National Security at Australian Strategic Policy Institute. He works with and directly advises the government through the bipartisan Australian Strategic Policy Institute on cyber security matters.

“I think that’s the problem with the discussion right now. There’s a dichotomy that governments find themselves in. What is their primary responsibility? To protect the nation from whatever serious threat might be of the day. But here are all these other responsibilities about promoting good business practice and good cyber hygiene”.

Feakin pondered whether incidents like the Ashley Madison breach would drive governments to consider mandating the use of encryption on data.

However, there’s a real balancing act in all of this. Encrypted data can be a significant barrier that hampers police investigations but there are clear benefits when it comes to protecting the privacy of individuals and companies.

“For me, it’s about having a decent public policy discussion,” says Feakin. “It’s something that needs to be nurtured… in the Australian context is a more mature conversation around national security threats. More in terms of shaping them as risks rather than just threats because there is a distinct difference”.

Feakin noted the need for a providing balance to the debate.

“I’m always very careful… to say we’ve got to keep this in perspective. We live longer lives. We’re safer than at any point in human history.”

US officials target social media, encryption after Chattanooga shooting


Was the Chattanooga shooter inspired by IS propaganda? There’s no evidence to back the claim, but some officials are already calling for access to encrypted messages and social media monitoring. Spencer Kimball reports.

US officials target social media, encryption after Chattanooga shooting

It’s not an unusual story in America: A man in his 20s with an unstable family life, mental health issues and access to firearms goes on a shooting spree, shattering the peace of middle class life.

This time, the shooter’s name was Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti-born naturalized US citizen, the son of Jordanian parents of Palestinian descent. And he targeted the military.

Abdulazeez opened fire on a recruiting center and naval reserve facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee last Thursday. Four marines and a sailor, all unarmed, died in the attack.

But the picture that’s emerged from Chattanooga over the past several days is complicated, raising questions about mental health, substance abuse, firearms, religion and modernity.

Yet elected officials have been quick to suggest that events in Chattanooga were directly inspired by “Islamic State” (also known as ISIL or ISIS) Internet propaganda, though there’s still no concrete evidence to back up that claim.

“This is a classic lone wolf terrorist attack,” Senator Dianne Feinstein told US broadcaster CBS. “Last year, 2014, ISIL put out a call for people to kill military people, police officers, government officials and do so on their own, not wait for direction.”

And according to Feinstein, part of the solution is to provide the government with greater access to digital communications.

“It is now possible for people, if they’re going to talk from Syria to the United States or anywhere else, to get on an encrypted app which cannot be decrypted by the government with a court order,” Feinstein said.

Going dark

Two years ago, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of US government surveillance to the public. Responding to public outcry in the wake of the NSA revelations, companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google and others stepped up efforts to encrypt users’ personal data.

But the Obama administration, in particular FBI Director James Comey, has expressed growing concern about encryption technology. Law enforcement argues that even with an appropriate court order they still cannot view communications masked by such technology. They call it “going dark.”

Feinstein and others believe that Internet companies have an obligation to provide law enforcement with a way to view encrypted communications, if there’s an appropriate court order. But according to Emma Llanso, that would only create greater security risks.

“If you create a vulnerability in your encryption system, you are creating a vulnerability that can be exploited by any malicious actor anywhere in the world,” Llanso, director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told DW.

Monitoring social media

It’s not just an issue of encryption technology. There’s also concern about how militant groups such as the “Islamic State” are using social media, in particular Twitter.

“This is the new threat that’s out there over the Internet that’s very hard to stop,” Representative Michael McCaul told ABC’s This Week. “We have over 200,000 ISIS tweets per day that hit the United States.

“If it can happen in Chattanooga, it can happen anywhere, anytime, any place and that’s our biggest fear,” added McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security committee.

In the Senate, an intelligence funding bill includes a provision that would require Internet companies to report incidents of “terrorist activity” on their networks to authorities.

According to Llanso, such activity isn’t defined anywhere in the provision, which means companies would have an incentive to overreport in order to meet their obligations. And speech clearly protected by the US First Amendment can also lead to incitement, said Philip Seib, co-author of “Global Terrorism and New Media.”

“If somebody puts something up on Facebook that says Muslims are being oppressed in the Western world, maybe that’s an incentive to somebody to undertake a violent act,” Seib told DW. “But you can’t pull that down, that is a free speech issue.”

Islamist connections?

In the case of Chattanooga, it’s unclear how government access to encrypted communications or requiring social media reporting would have stopped the shooting. One of Abdulazeez’s friends told CNN that the 24-year-old actually opposed the “Islamic State,” calling it a “stupid group” that “was completely against Islam.”

But Abdulazeez was critical of US foreign policy and expressed a desire to become a martyr in his personal writings, according to CNN sources. The young man’s father was put on a terrorist watch list but was then cleared of allegedly donating money to a group tied to Hamas. Abdulazeez also spent seven months in Jordan visiting family in 2014.

He also reportedly viewed content related to radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. An American citizen, Awlaki was killed in 2011 by a US drone strike in Yemen for alleged ties to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“The Guardian” reported that just hours before the shooting spree, Abdulazeez sent a text message to a friend with a verse from the Koran: “Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, then I have declared war against him.”

Guns, drugs and depression

Abdulazeez reportedly suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts. He abused alcohol and drugs, including marijuana and caffeine pills. He had recently been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, with a court date set for July 30. He also took muscle relaxants for back pain and sleeping pills for a night shift at a manufacturing plant, according to the Associated Press.

His family life was also unstable. In 2009, Abdulazeez’s mother filed for divorce, accusing his father of abuse. The two later reconciled, according to the “New York Times.”

And he had access to guns, including an AK-47 assault rifle. Abdulazeez liked to go shooting and hunting. He also participated in mixed martial arts.

Officials told ABC News that Abdulazeez had conducted Internet research on Islamist militant justifications for violence, perhaps hoping to find religious atonement for his problems.

“The campaigns by the Western governments – the US primarily, the Brits and others – have indicated that they don’t really understand what’s going on in the minds of many young Muslims,” Seib told DW.

“The Western efforts don’t ring true amongst many people they seek to reach because on issues such as human rights the Western governments don’t have much credibility,” he added. Uses Bitcoin-level Encryption To Create A Safe Online Notepad Service

Featured Uses Bitcoin-level Encryption To Create A Safe Online Notepad Service – A Social Experiment With Lots of Potential

Storing sensitive data in a secure and safe environment is not an easy task to accomplish for most people. Even though there are multiple guides on the internet of how to store data, and even encrypt if needed, doing so is still a hassle for most people. After all, our society values convenience above anything else, even if it goes at the cost of security.

On top of that, even if a user manages to create a backup of their sensitive data, there is still the question of what type of media to use. Storing a text file with passwords in the cloud is not the best of ideas, and physical storage is subject to wear and tear. Plus, there is always the potential of physical storage being stolen or tossed away on accident. Alternative solutions have to be created, and that is exactly what aims to do.

The way works is rather simple: open up the website, enter your passphrase and type the text you want to save in the notepad. It is important to remember the passphrase you entered at the beginning, as this “token” will be used to authenticate access to your notepad in the future. Rather than forcing users to create an account, a passphrase provides a more user-friendly authentication procedure for users.

Creating a passphrase may seem easy at first, but don’t be fooled by the platform’s simplicity. It is imperative to create a strong and lengthy passphrase. In fact, using shorter sentences, or combinations that can be gathered from games, music, movie or tv shows, have a higher chance of “being stumbled upon” by malicious individuals.

As soon as such a service launches, there is the unavoidable question of how secure a platform like is. According to the developers, all of the information is encrypted in the user’s browser, making it impossible to see plain text notepad content or passphrases. Once you click “Save” in your notepad, all data is encrypted with AES-256, after which an SHA-256 hash is run on the user’s passphrase.

And this is where things draw a major parallel to Bitcoin’s ideology. Similar to how Bitcoin users need to remember their private key in order to access funds, users need to keep their passphrase safe at all times. There is no recovery for a Bitcoin wallet when you lose the private key, and there is no recovery process for either.

Last but not last, the encrypted passphrase and hash are stored on servers controlled by the team. Considering both these key elements are encrypted, the staff will never be able to determine your passphrase, nor your notepad content. And with no data being stored in your browser after closing the website, there is no trace left behind of what you entered.

Potential Use Cases For

As good as all of the above may sound, there is no guarantee that consumers will start using en masse. But there are some potential use cases for such a service at this time. Storing sensitive passwords, or even an important piece of text on, rather than unencrypted in the cloud, are just two simple examples.

Perhaps the most interesting sue cases for comes in the form of its “social experiment” aspect. Because there are no logins to meddle with, it won’t take until malicious individuals try to start guessing passphrases in order to see what kind of data is being stored in people’s notepads. Should this be the case, it will also provide a proper test to see how serious consumers are taking security when it comes to sensitive data.

After Washington Post rolls out HTTPS, its editorial board bemoans encryption debate


After Washington Post rolls out HTTPS, its editorial board bemoans encryption debate

There’s hope that by the time the Washington Post’s editorial board takes a third crack at the encryption whip, it might say something worthwhile.

Late on Saturday, the The Washington Post’s editorial board published what initially read as a scathing anti-encryption and pro-government rhetoric opinion piece that scolded Apple and Google (albeit a somewhat incorrect assertion) for providing “end-to-end encryption” (again,an incorrect assertion) on their devices, locking out federal authorities investigating serious crimes and terrorism.

Read to the end, and you’ll find the editorial came up with nothing.

It was a bland and mediocre follow-up to a similar opinion piece, which was called”staggeringly dumb” and “seriously embarrassing”for proposing a “golden key” to bypass encryption.

Critically, what the Post gets out of this editorial remains widely unknown, perhaps with the exception of riling up members of the security community. It’s not as though the company is particularly invested in either side. Aside the inaccuracies in the board’s opinion, and the fair (and accurate) accusation that the article said “nothing” (one assumes that means nothing of “worth” or “value”), it’s hypocritical to make more than one statement on this matter while at the same time becoming the first major news outlet to start encrypting its entire website.

The board’s follow-up sub-600 worded note did not offer anything new, but reaffirmed its desire to see both tech companies and law enforcement “reconcile the competing imperatives” for privacy and data access, respectively. (It’s worth noting the board’s opinion does not represent every journalist or reporter working at the national daily, but it does reflect the institution’s views on the whole.)

Distinguished security researcher Kenn White, dismissed the editorial in just three words: “Nope. No need.”

Because right now, there is no viable way allow both encrypted services while allowing police and federal agencies access to that scrambled information through so-called “backdoor” means. Just last week, a group of 13 of the world’s preeminent cryptographers and security researchers released a paper (which White linked to in his tweet) explaining that “such access will open doors through which criminals and malicious nation-states can attack the very individuals law enforcement seeks to defend.”

In other words: if there’s a secret way in for the police and the feds, who’s to say a hacker won’t find it, too?

The Post’s own decision to roll out encryption across its site seems bizarre considering the editorial board’s conflicting views on the matter.

Such head-scratching naivety prompted one security expertto ask anyone who covers security at the Post to “explain reality” to the board. Because, clearly, the board isn’t doing its job well if on two separate occasions it’s fluffed up reporting on a subject with zero technical insight.

If the board, however, needs help navigating the topic, there is no doubt a virtual long line of security experts, academics, and researchers lining up around the block ready to assist. At least then there’s hope the board can strike it third-time lucky in covering the topic.

Ace Secret Disk Updated to the Latest Version 8.05


Ace Secret Disk allows you to create a secret disk on your computer, on which you can store your private files (such as photos, videos and financial information documents) just like you would do on a normal disk. In this way the danger of data leakage can be completely eradicated. In the new version, we have added the feature for users to view the property of the secret disk, also we fixed some minor bugs and optimized the software performance.

Change Log of Ace Secret Disk 8.05:

File Name: Ace Secret Disk

Version: 8.05

File Size: 3.24MB

Category: Encryption Software

Language: English

License type: Trial Version

OS Support: Win2000/XP/WISTA/Win7/Win8

Released on: July 15, 2015

Download Address:

What’s New in This Version:

+ Added a feature to view the property of secret disk;

– Fixed a bug that software ID exception in specific systems;

* Improved the encryption efficiency and strength when creating a secret disk;

* Enhanced software interface for XP;

– Fixed two minor bugs.

Ace Secret Disk Updated to the Latest Version 8.05

Why Choose Ace Secret Disk:

Ace Secret Disk creates an additional virtual disk on your computer with a password, which can make your private documents (images, videos, financial files, etc.) invisible and protected. It works as a regular hard disk, while completely prevents your files and folders from leakage. Ace Secret Disk is known for its three features:

(1) High Safety

It adopts new methods to protect data on your personal secret disk, and only with the correct password you can access it.

(2) Excellent Software Performance

The secret disk takes up no extra space, with data import and export as fast as lightning.

(3) Easy and Convenient Usage

The secret disk is used just like a normal disk, easy for you to save your private files.