privacy

Report: Cell Phone Data, Blackberry Mail Swept Up In NSA’s Net

Sensitive data from every major brand of cell phone can be captured and analyzed by the U.S. National Security Agency, (NSA) according to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday.   Citing “top-secret, internal NSA documents viewed by SPIEGEL reporters, the magazine said that NSA security researchers have developed tools to sap contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information from popular devices such as Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Blackberry phones, including Blackberry e-mail, a supposedly secure system that is one of the phone’s most trumpeted features. The documents describe a large-scale and well-organized program within the NSA to obtain data from mobile devices, with discrete teams of security analysts working on a specific platform, developing malware that infiltrates the computers the phones “synch” with, and then loads scripts onto the phones that provide access to a range of other features. See Also: Secure e-mail firms […]

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That ARM-Sensinode Buy: What Does It Mean For Security And IoT?

We wrote last week about the decision of chip-maker ARM to buy the small(ish) Finnish software maker Sensinode Oy, which has become a big player in the market for software that runs low power devices like embedded sensors. The deal makes sense at the 100,000 foot level – ARM makes chips that power embedded devices, Sensinode makes the software that is powered by them. Perfect. But the deal actually works at a bunch of different levels, as I learned from a conversation with Michael Koster, the co-founder and lead architect at the group The Open Source Internet of Things (OSIOT). Koster is an authority on The Internet of Things and has helped create open-source toolkits and APIs that promote interaction among intelligent devices. Koster said that ARM’s purchase of Sensinode is as much about both firms’ investment in emerging IoT standards for low-powered, intelligent devices like Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) […]

What Is The NSA’s Big Crypto Breakthrough?

The revelations about US government spying keep coming fast and furious, thanks to Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who absconded with reams of classified (and highly classified) documents from the National Security Agency. The latest details come courtesy of The Washington Post which on Thursday published documents detailing the so-called “Black Budget” – government spending on its intelligence services including the CIA and NSA – over the last nine years, including the $52 billion spent in 2013. The documents give the most detailed accounting to date on U.S. government spending on intelligence in the post September 11 world and contain quite a few surprises. Among them: proof that the CIA receives far more money than does the NSA. But it is Uncle Sam’s work on cryptanalysis ¬†that has attracted a lot of attention from computer security and privacy experts. First, the Black Budget reveals that the NSA […]

ToR

Is Jump In ToR Use Blowback From PRISM?

It’s ironic that government surveillance might push the public to embrace technology pioneered by the Department of Defense. But so it is: new metrics from The Tor Project show that use of the online anonymity service has exploded since early June: up more than 100 percent, from just over 500,000 global users to more than 1.2 million. Why the sudden surge in privacy conscious Internet users? It would be easy to connect the dots between revelations about the U.S. government’s omnibus data gathering program PRISM and the sudden desire of Internet users to sacrifice some speed and performance for the privilege of having their online doings passed through The Onion Router. Still, it’s not clear that this is the case. To be sure: growth is being seen across the board, not just in active users, but in the number of ToR clients running, the data suggests. There are steep increases […]

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ARM Buys Software Maker Sensinode To Spur IoT Development

We have noted before how the lack of cross-industry standards (including those governing security) is a major stumbling block to the Internet of Things. This is especially true in the enterprise space, where the security of data that might be passed between Internet-connected devices is paramount, but not well addressed by the current generation of (PC-centric) security products. As with so much in the fast-emerging Internet of Things, change on this score will come from unlikely places, as we see with the news today about ARM acquiring the Finnish software maker Sensinode Oy – a major player in the market for software to power connected devices. The news, which was announced on Tuesday,¬†will join ARM – a leading maker of chips that power mobile devices – with Sensinode, which has pioneered software and software standards for low-power devices used in everything from mobile phones and tablets to wearable computing. Following […]