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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I’m here at the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas, the U.S.’s most prominent “hacker con.” I’ll be bringing you news and updates from the show and (a bit) from DEFCON for the remainder of the week. As for the Briefings – the long and short of things is that all the buzz right now is about General Keith Alexander’s keynote speech this morning. Of course, keynotes are always a big deal, but its not even 8:00 AM and there’s a bit of a crush in the press room, with TV crews from major media outlets setting up in the Augustus ballroom, where Alexander will speak. Why? This speech is big because its one of the first – if not the first – post-PRISM public address by Gen. Alexander, who is the Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) since the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden burst into the […]
Government 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. Administrative Office of the Courts (AO), said encryption was reported for 15 wiretaps in 2012, compared with just 7 wiretaps conducted during previous years. […]
It 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 activity or data from social networks, the latest reports lay bare the dimensions of the U.S. government’s domestic spying post 9/11, and raise serious […]
Robotic Process Automation is taking over mundane tasks in the workplace. But those bots may pose a serious security risk, according to researchers from the firm CyberArk.