Encryption

  • 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.”

  • Future computers will identify users by thoughts, not passwords

    Instead of typing your password, in the future you may only have to think your password, according to researchers. A new study explores the feasibility of brainwave-based computer authentication as a substitute for passwords.

  • A better single-photon emitter for quantum cryptography

    In a development that could make the advanced form of secure communications known as quantum cryptography more practical, researchers have demonstrated a simpler, more efficient single-photon emitter that can be made using traditional semiconductor processing techniques.

  • Fully secure communication

    Can worldwide communication ever be fully secure? Quantum physicists believe they can provide secret keys using quantum cryptography via satellite. These physicists have, for the first time, successfully transmitted a secure quantum code through the atmosphere from an aircraft to a ground station.

  • Using jokes as an encryption method

    Encrypting a message with a strong code is the only safe way to keep your communications secret, but it will be obvious to anyone seeing such a message that the sender is hiding something, regardless of whether they are encrypting their e-mails for legitimate or illicit purposes. The solution: hiding a secret message in plain sight – for example, in simple jokes.

  • Beefing up public-key encryption

    MIT researchers show how to secure widely used encryption schemes against attackers who have intercepted examples of successful decryption.

  • Grammar rules undermine security of long computer passwords

    When writing or speaking, good grammar helps people make themselves understood. When used to concoct a long computer password, however, grammar — good or bad — provides important hints that can help someone crack that password, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have demonstrated by devising grammar-aware password cracker.

  • Smartphones turned into secure and versatile keys

    It is already possible to open doors using an app — but we are a long way from seeing widespread acceptance of this in the market; now, researchers have developed a piece of software that will make the technology even more secure and versatile