Search Results for "PRISM"

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 […]

Privacy: From Right To Fight

As more and more of our public and private spaces are equipped with remote sensing and surveillance technology, personal privacy – at least as it has been understood for the last two or three centuries – is endangered. The solution, of course, is through improved privacy legislation and, perhaps, a more expansive reading of the U.S. Constitution’s 4th Amendment protecting against search and seizure. But, with policymakers in Washington D.C. stuck in a rut, and many EU nations as hooked on surveillance as the U.S., the onus falls to individuals to do what they can. That’s the subject of my latest column for ITWorld, where I talk about what is likely to be the next stage in our society’s rapid evolution on matters of privacy and security, what I’ve termed “The Jamming Wars.” Like other social movements, this will be fueled by a growing rift between the law and a […]

Anonymous Email Services Shutter In Wake Of Snowden

Faced with the prospect of being forced to turn over metadata from their customers’ private correspondence to secret courts in the U.S. or other countries, two prominent secure e-mail services decided this week to cease operation. The secure email service Lavabit – lately the choice of NSA leaker Edward Snowden – announced that it was ceasing operations on Thursday after ten years of operation. The announcement was followed, on Friday, by a similar one from the security firm Silent Circle, which operated Silent Mail. Both companies cited the difficulty of securing e-mail communications and the prospect of secret government subpoenas to obtain information on the activities of their customers as the reason for deciding to stop offering secure email services. In a message posted on the Lavabit.com web site, owner and operator Ladar Levison said that he was being forced to “become complicit in crimes against the American people or […]

DEFCON - Modding Stuff

Podcast: The Art Of Hiring Hackers

The Black Hat and DEFCON security conferences wrapped up last week in Las Vegas. Most of the media attention was (naturally) focused on the content of the presentations – including talks on the security of consumer electronics, automobiles and, of course, on the privacy implications of the recently revealed NSA surveillance program PRISM. But for the companies that pay money to send staff to these shows, the content of the talks is only one draw. Black Hat and DEFCON also serve a lesser known, but equally important role as magnets for some of the world’s top talent in obscure disciplines like reverse engineering, vulnerability research, application security analysis and more. Come August, any organization with a dog in the cyber security fight (and these days, that’s a lot of organizations) is in Las Vegas for a chance of meeting and hiring that top cyber security talent. What do companies that […]

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, […]