Governments want to have their cake and eat it too. Many support a concept called responsible encryption, which, the idea goes, would provide complete privacy and security for people while also letting law enforcement see encrypted messages to better protect you. Sounds fantastic, right? Unfortunately, security specialists say it's a paradox. Yet the concept continues to rear its head. The most recent responsible-encryption advocate is US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. During a speech to the US Naval Academy on Tuesday, Rosenstein called out tech companies for refusing to help with uncovering private messages. "Responsible encryption can protect privacy and promote security without forfeiting access for legitimate law enforcement needs supported by judicial approval," he said, according to a transcript. Rosenstein isn't alone. Officials in Australia and the UK have also called for responsible encryption, despite the fact that both governments have suffered major breaches that … [Read more...] about The myth of responsible encryption: Experts say it can’t work
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Health insurer Anthem says the hacked database containing the personal information of 80 million people wasn't encrypted. But here's the catch: the company was not required to do so.On Wednesday, Anthem revealed that it had been hit by hackers who broke into servers and stole the personal information of as many as 80 million current and former members and employees. The company's CEO, Joseph Swedish, said that this "very sophisticated external cyberattack" gained access to names, birth dates, member IDs, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information. However, no evidence has emerged that credit card or medical records were compromised.Companies that follow sound security policy normally encrypt certain customer data stored on their servers. Encrypting the data makes it more difficult, but not impossible, for hackers to view or sell the information they've stolen. But Anthem didn't follow such guidelines in this regard. Why not?Under the … [Read more...] about Anthem’s stolen customer data not encrypted
French Police stand guard at the Southern Train Station in Paris, France on November 14, 2015 as part of security measures following the attacks that left at least 128 people dead and 180 injured Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) The November terrorist shooting rampage in Paris that took the lives of 130 people and wounded 367 others has become France's own 9/11. And it has reignited the ongoing debate between national security and personal privacy. In early December, the French newspaper Le Monde got its hands on leaked documents from French security forces and police calling for a ban on public WiFi and blocked access to the Tor network, a popular tool for surfing the Web anonymously. Security officials in France share concerns in the U.S. and England that terrorists could use encrypted Internet connections to plot new attacks, completely undetectable by authorities. Encryption is a method of encoding data so that only the sender and receiver can read it. The … [Read more...] about In the Fight Against Terrorism, Is Encryption the Enemy?
Seats reserved for Apple and FBI representatives before the start of a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled 'The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy,' in March 2016 Drew Angerer/Getty Images In fall 2013, a young man named Ross Ulbricht was arrested at a public library in San Francisco, distracted by two FBI agents posing as a couple in the middle of a loud and passionate argument. That distraction proved crucial as another agent swept in to grab Ulbricht's laptop before he could close it. If Ulbricht had closed it, the computer's hard drive would've encrypted itself and made it much more difficult to prove the U.S. government's case against the man. What was Ulbricht's crime? The 29-year-old ran an online criminal marketplace called Silk Road, and his laptop showed him still logged in as the site's administrator and provided the feds with a detailed diary of his every movement and criminal action. In February 2015, he was convicted on charges of … [Read more...] about Why Data Encryption Remains a Really Complex Issue
A tech-industry alliance announced a move Tuesday to help make privacy on the Web the rule rather than the exception.Web privacy comes through encrypted connections that scramble data sent across a network between servers that house a Web page or Web app and browsers used to view them. But it's something of a hassle and expense for site operators to obtain the necessary certificate, an essential part of setting up an encrypted connection. Certificates provide a digital mechanism to let a browser trust a Web server's encryption.That's where an alliance comes in that links Firefox browser maker Mozilla, network equipment maker Cisco Systems, Internet content distributor Akamai Technologies, digital-era rights advocate Electronic Frontier Foundation, certificate provider IdenTrust and researchers from the University of Michigan. They're backing an effort called Let's Encrypt that offers free certificates to those running servers on the Internet. "Let's Encrypt...lets everyone be up and … [Read more...] about Privacy push means free encryption for websites