Encryption

  • U.S., U.K. intelligence worried about Snowden’s “insurance policy” cache

    Edward Snowden has so far released about 500 of the classified documents he secretly downloaded while working for an NSA contractor. Source familiar with the case say he had downloaded between 50,000 and 200,000 classified NSA and British government documents. Those close to him suggest that in addition to continuing a steady release of secret documents over the next two to three years, the potentially most damaging information he obtained, information which includes the names of thousands of intelligence agents and informers employed by the United States and its allies, is kept in a secret cache as an insurance policy against arrest or physical harm.

  • Surveillance programs prompt start-up entry into privacy protection market

    Revelations of the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency(NSA) and the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters(GCHQ) have sparked technical innovations, legal challenges, and pursuits of political reforms in the United States and Britain. While some established providers of secure e-mails have bowed out, new companies are moving in to offer consumers protection from prying.

  • Akamai to acquire cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic

    Organizations, faced with an ever-changing threat landscape, require comprehensive security solutions that address many different protection scenarios. These include securing mission critical Web properties and applications from attack, as well as protecting the full suite of enterprise IP applications — including e-mail, file transfers, and VPN — across a data center. Akamai acquires Prolexic in order to extend its Web optimization and security offerings by adding cloud-based security solutions for protecting data centers and enterprise applications.

  • Cybersecurity paradigm shift: from reaction to prediction and prevention

    The intensification of cyberattacks on corporations and government agencies has led to a surge of new companies offering cybersecurity solutions, and Israel boasts some of the world’s top cybersecurity firms.Until recently, investment dollars generally supported startups with a focus on defensive cyber solutions, but now firms like Israel’s CyberArk, providers of proactive and full-service cyber solutions, are of growing interest of tech investors.

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  • U.S. financial industry pushes Congress to pass cybersecurity bill

    Three financial-industry trade groups have issued a letter to senior members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligenceto re-energize a campaign for moving forward with cybersecurity legislation. The trade groups, representing the U.S. largest financial institutions, said their ability to prevent cyberattacks will be hindered unless Congress acts.

  • Inkblots bolster security of online passwords

    Computer scientists have developed a new password system that incorporates inkblots to provide an extra measure of protection when, as so often occurs, lists of passwords get stolen from websites. This new type of password, dubbed a GOTCHA (Generating panOptic Turing Tests to Tell Computers and Humans Apart), could foil growing problem of automated brute force attacks, and would be suitable for protecting high-value accounts, such as bank accounts, medical records, and other sensitive information.

  • Weakening cybersecurity to facilitate NSA surveillance is dangerous: experts

    In the wake of revelations about the NSA surveillance programs, an expert on surveillance and cybersecurity recommended a re-evaluation of those surveillance practices that weaken commercial products and services. These practices include weakening standards and placing “back doors” into products that are accessible to U.S. government agencies. The expert – Jon Peha, former chief technology officer of the FCC and assistant director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology — said deliberately weakening commercial products and services may make it easier for U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance, but “this strategy also inevitably makes it easier for criminals, terrorists and foreign powers to infiltrate these systems for their own purposes.”

  • DHS struggling to respond to cybersecurity threats: IG

    A recent reportby DHS inspector general (IG) has documented the agency’s struggle to respond to cybersecurity threats and its inability to disseminate information about threats because of technical, funding, and staffing challenges.

  • U.S. tech companies could go “dark” to regain trust

    With each new revelation of the scope of the American National Security Agency’s spying, perceptions of the importance of privacy are hardening around the world. There is thus a motivation for major technology companies to provide a verifiably secure means of allowing users to communicate securely without an ability for the companies to provide access to security agencies, even if requested to. Two companies, Silent Circle and Lavabit, have come together to form the Dark Mail alliance in an attempt to do exactly this.

  • Backlash: growing interest in counter-surveillance tools

    The revelations about the NSA surveillance programs has prompted what some see as high-tech civil disobedience: a growing number of products and applications aiming to limit the NSA’s ability to access encrypted e-mails, obtain phone records, and listen to phone conversations.

  • New approach enhances quantum-based secure communication

    Scientists have overcome an Achilles’ heel of quantum-based secure communication systems, using a new approach that works in the real world to safeguard secrets. The research also removes a big obstacle to realizing future applications of quantum communication, including a fully functional quantum network.

  • Encryption is less secure than we thought

    For sixty-five years, most information-theoretic analyses of cryptographic systems have made a mathematical assumption that turns out to be wrong.

  • Using "mathematical jigsaw puzzles" to encrypt software

    Researchers have designed a system to encrypt software so that it only allows someone to use a program as intended while preventing any deciphering of the code behind it. This is known in computer science as “software obfuscation,” and it is the first time it has been accomplished. Software remains completely functional but impervious to reverse-engineering.

  • Quantum cryptography’s security may not be air-tight

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    Quantum communication systems offer the promise of virtually unbreakable encryption. Unlike classical encryption, which is used to send secure data over networks today and the security of which depends on the difficulty of solving mathematical problems like the factoring of large numbers, most quantum encryption schemes keep the encryption key separate from the data. This approach ensures that an eavesdropper with access only to the data could not decipher the key. Researchers, however, have recently demonstrated that even quantum encryption may be susceptible to hacking.

  • Canadian company provides software to U.S. intelligence agencies

    A Canadian company has spent the last few years locking up contracts to provide security software to U.S. federal agencies such as the NSA, CIA, and FBI. The company moved from the United States to Canada because the Canadian government gives tax credits for high-tech companies coming to Canada, and Canadian government agencies help the company break into new markets by sponsoring his company in international conferences. It was in one of these conferences that he once met “some NSA folks.”