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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, […]

Podcast: Project Prism – Has Uncle Sam Gone Rogue?

Podcast: Play in new window | Download () | EmbedSubscribe: 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 […]

free speech kill chain

UN Calls Electronic Surveillance A Threat To Democracy

A new report out from the United Nations’ General Assembly warns that governments’ use of electronic surveillance and monitoring of citizen communications is a violation of human rights and calls for updated laws and guidelines that reflect changes in communications “techniques and technologies.” The growing use and sophistication of digital surveillance has outstripped the ability of societies to legislate their proper use, leading to “ad hoc practices that are beyond the supervision of any independent authority,” and that threaten to stifle free expression, according to the report, issued by the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Council (PDF). First issued in April, but released to the public this week, the report looks at States’ use of communications surveillance and their impact on what the report calls “human rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression.” It concludes that the growth of online surveillance of electronic communications, including access to stored […]

Obama Lays Down The Law On Cyber Espionage

The Obama Administration on Wednesday released a report detailing new Administration measures to protect U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property. The report: “Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets” (PDF) establishes a new foundation for cooperation between the U.S. government and the private sector. It comes just days after a bombshell, 60-page report by the security firm Mandiant that described the activities of “APT1” – a hacking group that Mandiant claims is actually a cyber warfare unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). In a post on the Whitehouse blog, the Administration said the Strategy is a continuation of Obama Administration policy to protect U.S. companies from the theft of trade secrets. Under the new Strategy, the Administration will take a “whole government” approach, using diplomatic pressure via the State Department, coordinated, international legal pressure through the Department of Justice and FBI. The U.S. will tap the […]

Update: Canadian Colleges Go Dark Following Expulsion of Whitehat

Editor’s Note: Updated to clarify that the sites were unreachable outside Canada, but accessible from IP addresses within that country and to add comment from Skytech on the Internet filtering. – PFR (1/22/2013) The web sites of a number of Canadian General and Vocational Colleges were unreachable from IP addresses outside Canada on Tuesday, after news spread that Dawson College, in Montreal, expelled a student who uncovered and reported security holes in a web-based student portal used at the school. The web site for Dawson College, dawsoncollege.qc.ca returned a 403 “Access Denied” message on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, along with the web sites for John Abbott College, the Collège de Maisonneuve and Cégep de Trois-Rivières. The schools all use the Omnivox software by local firm Skytech Communications to manage their student portals. The web site for Skytech Communications could not be reached either early Tuesday and returned the same 403 error. Calls […]