News

26 February, 2020

Newly Declassified Study Demonstrates Uselessness of NSA's Phone Metadata Program

The New York Times is reporting on the NSA's phone metadata program, which the NSA shut down last year: A National Security Agency system that analyzed logs of Americans' domestic phone calls and text messages cost $100 million from 2015 to 2019, but yielded only a single significant investigation, according to a newly declassified study. Moreover, only twice during…

25 February, 2020

Firefox Enables DNS over HTTPS

This is good news: Whenever you visit a website -- even if it's HTTPS enabled -- the DNS query that converts the web address into an IP address that computers can read is usually unencrypted. DNS-over-HTTPS, or DoH, encrypts the request so that it can't be intercepted or hijacked in order to send a user to a malicious site.…

24 February, 2020

Russia Is Trying to Tap Transatlantic Cables

The Times of London is reporting that Russian agents are in Ireland probing transatlantic communications cables. Ireland is the landing point for undersea cables which carry internet traffic between America, Britain and Europe. The cables enable millions of people to communicate and allow financial transactions to take place seamlessly. Garda and military sources believe the agents were sent by…

21 February, 2020

Friday Squid Blogging: 13-foot Giant Squid Caught off New Zealand Coast

It's probably a juvenile: Researchers aboard the New Zealand-based National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA) research vessel Tangaroa were on an expedition to survey hoki, New Zealand's most valuable commercial fish, in the Chatham Rise ­ an area of ocean floor to the east of New Zealand that makes up part of the "lost continent" of…

21 February, 2020

Inrupt, Tim Berners-Lee's Solid, and Me

For decades, I have been talking about the importance of individual privacy. For almost as long, I have been using the metaphor of digital feudalism to describe how large companies have become central control points for our data. And for maybe half a decade, I have been talking about the world-sized robot that is the Internet of Things, and…

21 February, 2020

Policy vs Technology

Sometime around 1993 or 1994, during the first Crypto Wars, I was part of a group of cryptography experts that went to Washington to advocate for strong encryption. Matt Blaze and Ron Rivest were with me; I don't remember who else. We met with then Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey. (He didn't become a senator until 2013.) Back then, he…

20 February, 2020

Internet of Things Candle

There's a Kickstarter for an actual candle, with real fire, that you can control over the Internet. What could possibly go…

18 February, 2020

Hacking McDonald's for Free Food

This hack was possible because the McDonald's app didn't authenticate the server, and just did whatever the server told it to do: McDonald's receipts in Germany end with a link to a survey page. Once you take the survey, you receive a coupon code for a free small beverage, redeemable within a month. One day, David happened to be…

17 February, 2020

Voatz Internet Voting App Is Insecure

This paper describes the flaws in the Voatz Internet voting app: "The Ballot is Busted Before the Blockchain: A Security Analysis of Voatz, the First Internet Voting Application Used in U.S. Federal Elections." Abstract: In the 2018 midterm elections, West Virginia became the first state in the U.S. to allow select voters to cast their ballot on a mobile…

14 February, 2020

Friday Squid Blogging: Squids Are as Intelligent as Dogs

More news based on the squid brain MRI scan: the complexity of their brains are comparable to dogs. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered. Read my blog posting guidelines…

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