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Month: January 2016

Top senator: Encryption bill may “do more harm than good”

Top senator: Encryption bill may “do more harm than good”

Legislating encryption standards might “do more harm than good” in the fight against terrorism, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said on Thursday. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., lawmakers have been debating whether to move a bill that would force U.S. companies to decrypt data for law enforcement. “Is it really going to solve any problems if we force our companies to do something here in the U.S.?” Johnson asked…

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McCaul: US playing ‘catchup’ to terrorists using encryption

McCaul: US playing ‘catchup’ to terrorists using encryption

The U.S. is playing “catchup” with terrorists and cyber vigilantes who coordinate via encrypted communications, according to the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “Today’s digital battlefield has many more adversaries that just nation states,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said in a Tuesday column for Bloomberg. “Terrorist groups such as ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria], as well as hacktivists … are adept at using encryption technologies to communicate and carry out malicious campaigns, leaving America to play…

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Half-Measures on Encryption Since Snowden

Half-Measures on Encryption Since Snowden

When the NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden released classified documents in June 2013 baring the U.S. intelligence community’s global surveillance programs, it revealed the lax attention to privacy and data security at major Internet companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Warrantless surveillance was possible because data was unencrypted as it flowed between internal company data centers and service providers. The revelations damaged technology companies’ relationships with businesses and consumers. Various estimates pegged the impact at between $35 billion and $180…

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AT&T CEO won’t join Tim Cook in fight against encryption backdoors

AT&T CEO won’t join Tim Cook in fight against encryption backdoors

US politicians have been urging tech companies to weaken the security of smartphones and other products by inserting encryption backdoors that let the government access personal data. Numerous tech companies—including Apple—have come out strongly against the idea, saying that encryption backdoors would expose the personal data of ordinary consumers, not just terrorists. But tech company leaders aren’t all joining the fight against the deliberate weakening of encryption. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said this week that AT&T, Apple, and other tech…

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Cisco Security Report: Dwell time and encryption security struggles

Cisco Security Report: Dwell time and encryption security struggles

The 2016 Cisco Security Report highlighted the duality of cybersecurity and described a number of issues, including encryption security and dwell time as a constant struggle between threat actors looking for more effective and efficient attack techniques and security providers responding to those changes. One of the statistics in the report that could have been spun as a net positive for Cisco was that since May, Cisco reduced the median time to detection (or dwell time) of known threats on…

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British voice encryption protocol has massive weakness, researcher says

British voice encryption protocol has massive weakness, researcher says

A protocol designed and promoted by the British government for encrypting voice calls has a by-design weakness built into it that could allow for mass surveillance, according to a University College London researcher. Steven Murdoch, who works in the university’s Information Security Research Group, analyzed a protocol developed by CESG, which is part of the spy agency GCHQ. The MIKEY-SAKKE (Multimedia Internet KEYing-Sakai-KasaharaKey Encryption) protocol calls for a master decryption key to be held by a service provider, he wrote…

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There is no ‘compromise’ in encryption debate between Silicon Valley and government leaders

There is no ‘compromise’ in encryption debate between Silicon Valley and government leaders

During last night’s democratic debate we were once again inundated with calls from politicians who sought compromise from Silicon Valley in its on-going battle with terrorism. Encryption was the point of contention. The candidates echoed previous statements regarding the dangerous world we live in. The reason for danger, or so it goes, is the inability of law enforcement to pursue threats from terrorists, both domestic and international, who are increasingly reliant on encryption to communicate. The sentiment is true, albeit…

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What “El Chapo”, Sean Penn and BlackBerry teach us about encryption

What “El Chapo”, Sean Penn and BlackBerry teach us about encryption

Have you heard the one about the Mexican drug kingpin, the eccentric movie star and the Ugly Duckling smartphone that’s all of a sudden the talk of the tech town for all the wrong reasons? No? Me neither, but recent reports about the role Sean Penn and BlackBerry phones allegedly played in the capture of two-time prison escapee and illegal-substance peddler extraordinaire Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman have all the makings of a classic knee-slapper. If you just came out of…

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Tim Cook pushes for strong encryption at White House summit

Tim Cook pushes for strong encryption at White House summit

As expected, Apple CEO Tim Cook urged White House and government officials to come to terms with strong encryption practices that protect consumer data, at one point saying such intentions should be stated publicly. Cook’s plea came during a cybersecurity summit held in San Jose, Calif., last week, where government officials met with Silicon Valley tech executives to discuss how best to stymie threats posed by non-state actors like ISIS, reports The Guardian. According to a follow-up report from The…

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Congress wades into encryption debate with bill to create expert panel

Congress wades into encryption debate with bill to create expert panel

WASHINGTON — Growing concern about terrorists’ use of encrypted communication is spurring Congress to act, but the first major piece of legislation is taking a cautious approach as lawmakers grapple with how to spy on suspected criminals without weakening cybersecurity and privacy. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who serves on the Intelligence Committee, are set to brief reporters this week on a bill that would create a national commission on security and…

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