NSA

Gen. Alexander - Black Hat

U.S. Cyber Chief Says “Trust Us” On NSA Spying

The head of the U.S. Cyber Command, Four-Star General Keith Alexander, told an audience of skeptical and sometimes hostile security experts and hackers that they should have faith that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) isn’t abusing its access to cell phone meta data and other online communications in its pursuit of terrorists who “live among us.” Speaking before a packed audience that included some of the country’s top computer security and privacy experts, Alexander spoke in measured tones about PRISM, the omnibus data collection program that was exposed in documents leaked by a former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor, Edward Snowden, saying that it had directly led to the disruption of 53 of 54 discrete “terrorist related activities” in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Africa since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Adopting images and a tone common in the years immediately following 9/11, […]

mike Janke silent circle

NSA’s PRISM Puts Privacy Startup Silent Circle Into Orbit

Podcast: Play in new window | Download ()Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | https://www.securityledger.com/subscribeGovernment surveillance has been getting a lot of attention in recent weeks, with the leak of classified information about spying by the National Security Agency using information provided by U.S. telecommunications and Internet firms including Verizon, Facebook, Google and Apple. The stories have revealed the very different legal standards that govern electronic communications and more traditional communications such as phone and postal mail. They have also put many otherwise lawful Internet users in search of technology that will keep their private conversations and thoughts well…private. That, in turn, has sparked concern in the government that civilian use of encryption will hamper lawful interception of communications. Wired.com reported last week that, for the first time, encryption thwarted government surveillance under court-approved wiretaps. That report,  from the U.S. […]

Facebook Mum On Future Of Ghost User Accounts

Facebook acknowledged on Friday that a flaw in a feature that lets users download their own profile information exposed personal information on approximately six million users, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses that were not shared with the site, but is staying mum on the future of wide ranging information harvesting practices revealed by the bug. In a blog post, the social networking giant said the security hole was disclosed by an independent security researcher and forced the company to disable the Download Your Information (DYI) feature until it could be fixed. Despite the large number of people affected, Facebook said individual pieces of private data like an e-mail address or telephone number were only exposed to one or two other Facebook users. However, Facebook has not said whether it will cease using non-public data from users’ contacts to fill out dossiers on other Facebook users, a practice that has […]

Podcast: Project Prism – Has Uncle Sam Gone Rogue?

Podcast: Play in new window | Download ()Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | https://www.securityledger.com/subscribeIt was hard to escape the big news this week: revelations from The Guardian and The Washington Post about a program of widespread surveillance of online social networks and mobile phone use. The news, both the result of high-level leaks of classified information, has embroiled the Obama Administration in the most serious questions about domestic spying since the Nixon administration. To discuss the week’s events, Paul sat down with Ron Gula, the CEO of Tenable Network Security (and a former NSA security ninja) and Rick Forno, director of the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Graduate Cybersecurity Program and a Junior Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society (CIS).  While neither guest was surprised to read about the government’s monitoring of cell phone […]

Privacy Bombshell: NSA Given Access To Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Others

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Washington Post story on The National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) and FBI’s widespread program of wire tapping, which leads directly into the servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple. The classified program, dubbed PRISM, dates to 2007 and the administration of George W. Bush and authorizes the nation’s top spy agency to peer deep into the servers of  popular social networking sites, compiling audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs. Together the information could enable intelligence operators to track an individual’s communications, movements relationships over time. The classified program came to light following the leak of a classified presentation for NSA staff, dated April 2013, that describes the program as critical and a leading contributor of intelligence to President Obama’s daily briefing. While a small cadre of members of Congress were briefed on the program […]