terrorism

Facebook Joins In Tech Industry Demands For Surveillance Reform

Facebook Joins In Tech Industry Demands For Surveillance Reform

Facebook on Tuesday reiterated calls for reform of laws pertaining to government surveillance practices in the U.S. and elsewhere. The company, in a blog post, urged governments to stop bulk collection of data and enact reforms to limit governments’ authority to collect users information to pertain to “individual users” for “lawful purposes.” The company also called for more oversight of national intelligence agencies such as the US National Security Agency, and more transparency about government requests for data. The blog post was authored by Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch. Facebook reiterated its calls for surveillance reform in recognition of “The Day We Fight Back,” a grass roots effort to use Tuesday, February 11th as a day to rally support for more civil liberties protections.   [Read more Security Ledger coverage of Facebook here.] The date is the one year anniversary of the suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz. Leading online […]

Schneier warns that, without changes, the growth of the Internet will strengthen the hand of central authorities at the expense of individual liberties and democracy. (Photo courtesy of Schneier.com.)

Losing The Future: Schneier On How The Internet Could Kill Democracy

With his deep background in both cryptography and Internet security, Bruce Schneier is of the most thoughtful commentators on all matters cyber. So revered is he, that he even inspired a list of humorous Chuck Norris-style “Bruce Schneier” facts . In recent months, Bruce has been an invaluable sounding board amid the drip-drip-drip of details of ubiquitous government surveillance stemming from Edward Snowden’s leak of classified intelligence on NSA spying and cyber operations. In this video, from a recent speech Bruce did at the TEDxCambridge event up here in the Boston area, he goes a bit deeper: drawing out the current trend lines like hacktivism, Facebook- and Twitter-fueled popular revolutions, civil war and mass surveillance, and trying to discern what the future might look like. /div> Bruce’s theory: although nimble groups of activists, dissidents and hackers have been more adept at using the Internet and innovative technologies and platforms built on […]

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

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 […]

Langner has been a critic of the U.S. emphasis on voluntary, risk-based standards for cyber security with critical infrastructure.

U.S. Cyber Security Framework Is Good News-For Hackers

Ralph Langner, the renowned expert on the security of industrial control- and SCADA systems, warns that the latest draft of the U.S. Government’s Cyber Security Framework (CSF) will do little to make critical infrastructure more resistant to devastating cyber attacks. Writing on his blog, Langner said that a draft of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework does little to compel critical infrastructure owners to improve the security of their systems, or guarantee uniform (and robust) cyber security standards in the critical infrastructure space. NIST released the latest draft of the CSF late last month (PDF). But Langner, writing on Wednesday,  likened the framework to a recipe that, if used by three different chefs, produces three totally different dishes…or just a messy kitchen. “A less metaphorical words, a fundamental problem of the CSF is that it is not a method that, if applied properly, would lead to predictable results,” […]

What Is The NSA’s Big Crypto Breakthrough?

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 […]