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Month: April 2016

FBI: Encryption increasing problem

FBI: Encryption increasing problem

The FBI is facing an increasing struggle to access readable information and evidence from digital devices because of default encryption, a senior FBI official told members of Congress at a hearing on digital encryption Tuesday. Amy Hess said officials encountered passwords in 30 percent of the phones the FBI seized during investigations in the last six months, and investigators have had “no capability” to access information in about 13 percent of the cases. “We have seen those numbers continue to…

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How Apple makes encryption easy and invisible

How Apple makes encryption easy and invisible

Do you know how many times a day you unlock your iPhone? Every time you do, you’re participating in Apple’s user-friendly encryption scheme. Friday, the company hosted a security “deep dive” at which it shared some interesting numbers about its security measures and philosophy as well as user habits. To be honest, we’re less concerned with how Apple’s standards work than the fact that they do and will continue to. But that’s kind of the point behind the whole system…

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Apple, FBI set to resume encryption fight at House hearing

Apple, FBI set to resume encryption fight at House hearing

The encryption battle between Apple and the FBI is moving from the courtroom to Congress next week. Representatives from the tech titan and the federal law enforcement agency are scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the debate over how the use of encryption in tech products and services hampers law enforcement activities. In February, Apple clashed with the FBI over whether the company would help investigators hack into the encrypted iPhone of San Bernardino…

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Feinstein encryption bill sets off alarm bells

Feinstein encryption bill sets off alarm bells

A draft version of a long-awaited encryption bill from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., was leaked online last week, and the technology industry is already calling foul. The bill requires any company that receives a court order for information or data to “provide such information or data to such government in an intelligible format” or to “provide such technical assistance as is necessary to obtain such information or data in an intelligible format.” It doesn’t specify the…

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“Petya” ransomware encryption cracked

“Petya” ransomware encryption cracked

Utility generates unscrambling key. Users whose data has been held to ransom by the Petya malware now have an option to decrypt the information, thanks to a new tool that generates an unscrambling key. Petya appeared around March this year. Once executed with Windows administrator privileges, Petya rewrites the master boot record on the computer’s hard drive, crashes the operating system and on restart, scrambles the data on the disk while masquerading as the CHKDSK file consistency utility. The Petya…

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WhatsApp’s encryption services are legal for now, but maybe not for long

WhatsApp’s encryption services are legal for now, but maybe not for long

WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption for all its services today. This means that all user calls, texts, video, images and other files sent can only be viewed by the intended recipient, and no one, not even WhatsApp itself, can access this data. This guarantee of user privacy creates new concerns for the government. WhatsApp will now find it impossible to comply with government requests for data, since WhatsApp itself will not have the decryption key. In effect, WhatsApp is doing exactly…

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Brooklyn case takes front seat in Apple encryption fight

Brooklyn case takes front seat in Apple encryption fight

The Justice Department said Friday it will continue trying to force Apple to reveal an iPhone’s data in a New York drug case, putting the Brooklyn case at the center of a fight over whether a 227-year-old law gives officials wide authority to force a technology company to help in criminal probes. The government told U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie in Brooklyn that it still wants an order requiring Apple’s cooperation in the drug case even though it recently…

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How to encrypt iPhone and Android, and why you should do it now

How to encrypt iPhone and Android, and why you should do it now

Apple’s fight with the FBI may be over for the time being, but this high-profile fight about user privacy and state security may have puzzled some smartphone users. When is an iPhone or Android device encrypted? And how does one go about securing the data on them? iPhone It’s pretty simple actually: as long as you set up a password or PIN for the iPhone or iPad’s lockscreen, the device is encrypted. Without knowing the access code, nobody can unlock…

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Forget iPhone encryption, the FBI can’t legally touch the software ISIS uses

Forget iPhone encryption, the FBI can’t legally touch the software ISIS uses

The FBI insists that encrypted products like the iPhone and encrypted online services will put people in harm’s way, especially in light of the ISIS-connected San Bernardino shooting late last year. That’s why the Bureau has been arguing for encryption backdoors that would be available to law enforcement agencies, and why it looked to coerce Apple to add a backdoor to iOS. However, extensive reports that show the preparations ISIS made before hitting Paris and Brussels revealed the kind of…

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