32 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for September 9, 2013
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Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2013 10:58:37 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security * NSA and GCHQ unlock encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records * $250m-a-year US program works covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products * Security experts say programs 'undermine the fabric of the internet' James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald Guardian Weekly 5 September 2013 US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden. The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments. The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic - "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet". Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with "brute force", and - the most closely guarded secret of all - collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves. Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities - known as backdoors or trapdoors - into commercial encryption software. The files, from both the NSA and GCHQ, were obtained by the Guardian, and the details are being published today in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica. They reveal: ... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2013 14:56:42 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Matthew Green: On the NSA Message-ID: <email@example.com> A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering Some random thoughts about crypto. Notes from a course I teach. Pictures of my dachshunds. Matthew Green September 5, 2013 On the NSA Let me tell you the story of my tiny brush with the biggest crypto story of the year. A few weeks ago I received a call from a reporter at ProPublica, asking me background questions about encryption. Right off the bat I knew this was going to be an odd conversation, since this gentleman seemed convinced that the NSA had vast capabilities to defeat encryption. And not in a 'hey, d'ya think the NSA has vast capabilities to defeat encryption?' kind of way. No, he'd already established the defeating. We were just haggling over the details. Oddness aside it was a fun (if brief) set of conversations, mostly involving hypotheticals. If the NSA could do this, how might they do it? What would the impact be? I admit that at this point one of my biggest concerns was to avoid coming off like a crank. After all, if I got quoted sounding too much like an NSA conspiracy nut, my colleagues would laugh at me. Then I might not get invited to the cool security parties. All of this is a long way of saying that I was totally unprepared for today's bombshell revelations describing the NSA's efforts to defeat encryption. Not only does the worst possible hypothetical I discussed appear to be true, but it's true on a scale I couldn't even imagine. I'm no longer the crank. I wasn't even close to cranky enough. And since I never got a chance to see the documents that sourced the NYT/ProPublica story -- and I would give my right arm to see them -- I'm determined to make up for this deficit with sheer speculation. Which is exactly what this blog post will be. ... http://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2013/09/on-nsa.html?m=1
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2013 14:48:21 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Mayoral Candidates Wedded to Smartphones While Campaigning Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Kiss Baby, Smile, Check Phone (Over and Over) Mayoral Candidates Wedded to Smartphones While Campaigning By SARAH MASLIN NIR September 6, 2013 John C. Liu clutched his cellphone in both hands, tapping with his thumbs, while John A. Catsimatidis hammered out a message on his own phone. Farther down a long table, Joseph J. Lhota shuffled two phones before him like a deck of cards. William C. Thompson Jr. squinted at the BlackBerry in his palm. Bill de Blasio did not seem to notice their behavior - he was looking toward his knee, where one of his own phones was balanced. New York City's race for mayor this year has featured a number of conspicuous novelties: a white front-runner who has won considerable black support, in part by highlighting his biracial family; a contender with two beloved shelter dogs who is routinely harangued by animal rights activists; a candidate whose habit of sending sexually explicit messages to women he never met led this week to a screaming match with a heckler in a bakery. Less conspicuous, perhaps only because voters are too busy staring at their own smartphones to notice, is the way the ubiquity of mobile devices has introduced a new peril into candidate-voter interactions: distracted campaigning. At a forum last month, typical of the scores of such events around the city over the course of the campaign, candidates fiddled ceaselessly with their phones, though they were onstage before an audience of over 1,500 and the event was televised. The phenomenon is in part a fact of contemporary life - people everywhere check their cellphones constantly - and in part a tacit acknowledgment of a reality of campaigning: It can be boring to listen to the same rival candidates saying the same things day after day, night after night. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/07/nyregion/mayoral-candidates-wedded-to-smartphones-while-campaigning.html
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2013 11:07:28 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Revealed: The NSA's Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security Message-ID: <email@example.com> Revealed: The NSA's Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security by Jeff Larson, ProPublica, Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times, and Scott Shane, The New York Times, Sep. 5, 2013 http://www.propublica.org/article/the-nsas-secret-campaign-to-crack-undermine-internet-encryption Why We Published the Decryption Story by Stephen Engelberg and Richard Tofel ProPublica, Sep. 5, 2013 http://www.propublica.org/article/why-we-published-the-decryption-story
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2013 12:42:02 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: With privacy battle brewing, Facebook won't update policy right away Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> With privacy battle brewing, Facebook won't update policy right away By Jessica Guynn September 5, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook will not roll out controversial changes to its policies until next week, the giant social network said Thursday. Six consumer watchdog groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission to block the changes that they say would make it far easier for the company to use the names, images and personal information of its nearly 1.2 billion users -- including teens -- to endorse products in ads without their consent. ... http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-facebook-privacy-policy-update-20130905,0,6797157.story
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