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Draft Code Reveals That Security Services are Capable of Bypassing Encryption

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While encryption is everywhere and is gaining importance for technology users around the world, Britain’s security services have recognized that they have the worldwide ability to bypass encryption used by internet companies by attacking the computers themselves. The Home Office released “draft equipment interference code of practice” on Friday, the regulations and safeguards of computer hacking outside of the UK by security services shown for the first time.

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The draft code publication followed David Cameron’s speech last month where he took a stance against encryption and promised to ensure there was no “safe space” for terrorists or other criminals that could not be monitored by the security services, even with a ministerial warrant.

UK government issues first legal definition of computer hacking by spies

Space InternetCampaigners of privacy say the powers outlined in the draft provide the intelligence services the power to sweep content off of a computer or smartphone, track position with GPS, enable a smartphone’s camera or microphone and listen in and record phonecalls. The code sanctions hacked computers to “enable and facilitate surveillance activity”.

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Eric King of Privacy International, said:

They hack their way, remove and substitute your hardware and software and enable intelligence collection by turning on your webcams and mice and shipping the data back to GCHQ at Cheltenham.

In addition to the other abilities, security services will be able to use computer network exploitation to identify, track and disrupt high-profile targets. Computer network exploitation or mass hacking, is the process of which computer networks are used to infiltrate a target’s computer network to extract and gather information. Computer network exploitation will allow intelligence services to break through and collect sensitive and confidential data that is mostly hidden and protected from the public. Intelligence services will be able to bypass the end-to-end encryption used by most Internet companies to protect customer communications after the Snowden disclosures of bulk internet surveillance. Privacy campaigners believe that this code is more intrusive than intercepting calls or emails because they are sweeping content that is meant to be private.

Carly Nyst, legal director of Privacy International, believes suggestions for making security services more accountable should be welcomed, stating:

However, GCHQ cannot legitimize their unlawful activities simply by publishing codes of conduct with no legislative force. In particular, the use by intelligence agencies of hacking – an incredibly invasive and intrusive form of surveillance – cannot be snuck in by the back door through the introduction of a code of conduct that has undergone neither parliamentary nor judicial scrutiny. It is surely no mistake that this code of conduct comes only days before GCHQ is due to argue the lawfulness of its hacking activities in court.

What do you think about the draft code publication?

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Drew is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in Business. He is an active member of the Cryptocurrency community, and enjoys Bitcoin, the decentralization of technology, and the rise of P2P applications.




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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Mark Cross

    February 8, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    yawn, yawn, yawn – Peter Wright, Spy Catcher. GCHQ were doing this to the French in the ’70s. Any chance of some new – News?

  2. Beyond Cynicism

    February 8, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Something that the State never seems to address is at what point liberty becomes a different form of slavery. We used to condemn eastern European countries for spying on their citizens yet they were never capable, even at the height of the Cold War, of monitoring their citizens to this degree.

    Technology may and will change but the fundamentals never do. If the price of liberty is ever-increasing intrusion and invasion into the private affairs of law-abiding citizens then the very word has ceased to have any meaning of significance.

    Daily, the major world governments demonstrate that they do not act from the legitimacy given to them by the people but seek only to control us to an ever increasing degree.

    If those are the rules of the game, fine – but do not then be surprised if one day those same people should turn on you.

    • Asper ACT

      February 9, 2015 at 2:23 am

      And this clear intention to control is one of the reasons why the call for decentralization will continue to increase.
      Speeding up the process has had a lot to do with breaking the hopes of naive Statists by remembering them what a failure their “utopia” has been.

      • Ferroxian

        February 15, 2015 at 10:51 pm

        I remember sports, back in school. Some TEAMS ALWAYS LOST. Others did okay, medium success….A FEW SCHOOLS ALWAYS WERE IN THE RUNNING. So TO FIND A BETTER FIELD where they could always have it their way, and to avoid having to ethnically integrate, they gerrymandered their districts, gentrified the local urban areas to steal as many middle class minorities as they could, and started their own leagues and clubs. They moved authority from those places and people they did not like and started doing their own thing…until…some could never win, some won sometimes and the remaining did really well.
        They finally realized they could not keep on running, they could not keep on making new ethnic paradises, they had to deal with reality and running and hiding and keeping THOSE PEOPLE out and keeping their own in, does not work. You have it better for a while but then – you never have it as good as you wanted it because what you want ain’t real and, or, you just do not have what it takes to win or even be an also-ran.
        Oh yeah in 1492 you could run; Run to The New World…and do to natives what you did, and make a new privileged club of entitlement for your chosen people. There are no more New Worlds. You have to deal with reality…and most of the offspring of those New Worlders…can’t do it…reality is too much for them.
        Start a new government? You might like it, your kids like it less, their kids throw it out for what you rejected in the first place. Control you? YOU cannot even do that. But if you could, are you so sure we live in a world where exterior threats would not demand the same actions of you that your elected officials are now taking? Are you sure?! Nope, cause you ain’t been there…in their shoes. Run for office and then come back and tell us what you saw.

  3. Orchideric

    February 8, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Encryption is merely an illusion to help consumers feel cozy.

  4. sugamari

    February 8, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    This totally works in reverse.

    “In addition to the other abilities, security services
    will be able to use computer network exploitation to identify, track
    and disrupt high-profile targets. Computer network exploitation or mass
    hacking, is the process of which computer networks are used to
    infiltrate a target’s computer network to extract and gather
    information. Computer network exploitation will allow intelligence
    services to break through and collect sensitive and confidential data
    that is mostly hidden and protected from the public.”

    In summary they can plant evidence just as easily after they profile potential “clients”

  5. Peter

    February 8, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Encryption is not a crime and should be used by anybody who cares about their online privacy.

    • Beyond Cynicism

      February 8, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Peter:

      I would put it even more strongly than that. Encryption should never be a crime. The day that it is is the day we accept we are completely and utterly owned.

      • Peter

        February 9, 2015 at 7:19 am

        Totally agree! If this happens, (which to me is unrealistic) it will initiate a mess and create huge challenges for ie. banks and other businesses. (not that I particular support banks) but just an example…

  6. Grow Well

    February 8, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Banning encryption is akin to banning envelopes when sending a letter by mail :-/

  7. Guest

    February 8, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Leave the internet alone. >:3

  8. altfeed

    February 9, 2015 at 3:28 am

    This is clearly intended for mainstream digestion.

  9. Max Lundgren

    August 19, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    This has been a fact sins before Edward Snow-den revile NSA tools.

    Back doors are frequently denied by software companies and patched to prove its liability, but it is often a fact that the source code is full of loopholes. it is not a new thing, sins the 80tees software has always one or more loopholes, for the purpose of easy access to correct false whiteout serials or login.

    Those system has later been used to crank open system without any super admin or encryption.all the keys is all ready in the server, so access a server from the bum bypass the best decryption. then there are different ways to access a server or computer in a total different manor just by a script and know the IP and Mac or just spoof the ID if curiosity kill the cat, or just snatch a interesting data packet holding a specific meta word to get any id info from the head

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Cybersecurity

Three Hours After Re-Launch, BitGrail Shuts Down Again

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Embattled digital currency exchange BitGrail has reportedly suspended operations a mere three hours after re-launching, a move that could signal the death knell for the controversial trading platform.

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BitGrail Shuts Down After Court Order

The Italian exchange received an order from the Court of Florence on Tuesday to cease operations immediately. BitGrail was open for all of three hours before the order was handed down. All cryptocurrencies that were previously supported on the exchange were available for trade with the notable exception of Nano XRB.

On Wednesday, BitGrail issued the following statement:

“This morning, following the re-opening, we were notified of a deed by the court of Florence requesting the immediate closure of BitGrail and this situation will persist until a decision is made by the courts, about the precautionary suspension request made by the Bonelli law office on behalf of a client.”

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A final decision by the court is scheduled for May 16 2018.

Embroiled in Controversy

The Italian exchange has been mired in controversy after 17 million Nano XRB tokens went missing in February. At the time, the total value of the theft was $170 million.

At the time, BitGrail said the shortfall was caused by “unauthorized transactions,” but didn’t indicate exactly when the hack took place.

A Twitter user by the name of “Francesco the Bomber,” who apparently runs the exchange, later confirmed that the funds were stolen and that the exchange didn’t have the capital to repay its customers. However, developers who used to work with Francesco claimed that the exchange was solvent long before the attack took place. This fact was concealed by BitGrail for as long as possible.

For its part, Nano XRB managed to recovery in the wake of the attacks, with prices reaching a high near $17 in early March. The cryptocurrency has nearly doubled in value over the last three weeks as part of a broader upward correction in the market.

The Nano Foundation has established a fund to assist BitGrail users affected by the attack. The Foundation says it will match donations to the fund for up to $1 million.

BitGrail was the second largest attack of a digital currency exchange this year. In January, cyber criminals made off with around $530 million worth of NEM tokens following an attack on Coincheck, a Japanese exchange.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Cybersecurity

Facebook Stock Has Best Day in Two Years as Zuckerberg Testifies

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Shares of Facebook Inc. (FB) gained on Tuesday, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before U.S. lawmakers over allegations of data misuse.

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Zuckerberg Gets Likes

Mark Zuckerberg apologized and defended his company on Tuesday as he appeared before a joint U.S. Senate committee hearing. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” the 33-year-old CEO said when questioned about Facebook’s misuse of user data.

Lawmakers grilled Zuckerberg on issues ranging from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal to its failure in addressing provocative messages during the most recent Myanmar crisis. He took it all in stride, appearing confident and poised throughout the question-and-answer period (at least, that’s what professional PR experts quoted by Bloomberg had to say).

Zuckerberg took full responsibility not just for Cambridge Analytica, but for Facebook’s negligence in safeguarding consumer data. That said, Republican Senator from Iowa Chick Grassley sent a strong signal that new regulations are on the way.

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“The status quo no longer works,” said Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. “Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards to ensure transparency and understanding for the billions of consumers who utilize these products.”

Wall Street Responds

The testimony resonated with Wall Street, as investors scooped up shares of the battered social media company. Facebook shares added 4.5%, their best in two years. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index gained 1.7% on Tuesday and the index’s technology component rose 2.5%.

The stock surge grew Zuckerberg’s personal fortune by $2.8 billion to $66 billion, according to Forbes. That makes him the world’s seventh richest person.

Despite the gain, FB is down almost 15% from its all-time high and its current price point lags behind the 50-day and 200-day moving averages. An RSI of 48 also signals weak underlying momentum for the social media stock.

Facebook’s Declining Usage

Facebook experienced a public backlash last month amid reports that a political research firm had scraped data on 87 million people. The revelation sparked a growing debate over Facebook’s privacy standards at a time when the company was battling a noticeable decline in usage.

The social media platform declined by roughly 50 million hours per day in the fourth quarter, or 5% overall. Meanwhile, independent research from a company named Edison found a steady drop in usage among Americans aged 12 and up.

While Zuckerberg has tried to spin the decline as a good thing, it’s apparent that the platform is experiencing fewer meaningful interactions, which partially explains recent efforts to transform the News Feed.

It remains to be seen how much damage the declines will do to top and bottom line results. Facebook is expected to report its quarterly earnings report Apr. 25. Analysts are expecting per-share earnings of $1.37 for the quarter, up from $1.04 the same time a year ago.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Cybersecurity

Facebook Admits It Has Failed to Protect User Privacy

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In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has had to come clean about its privacy standards. The company recently admitted that the data on most of its 2 billion users could be compromised by malicious actors, a strong sign that the social media giant is not only misusing consumer data, but failing to protect it.

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Data on the Loose

Facebook recently announced that it has removed a feature that allows users to search for people using email addresses or phone numbers. The feature, which accounts for 7% of all searches in some regions, is being discontinued over fears that malicious users were using it to “scrape” profiles.

Mike Shcroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer, issued the following statement on Wednesday:

“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.”

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that it was “reasonable to expect” that your information may have been accessed in this way.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which surfaced last month, blew the lid wide open on Facebook’s privacy standards. Since 2014, Cambridge Analytica legally obtained information on as many as 87 million Facebook users for the purpose of influencing elections. In the wake of the scandal, Zuckerberg is being summoned by U.S. Congress to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, currently scheduled for Apr. 11. The CEO has acknowledged that his company made mistakes, but this has largely failed to resonate with Facebook’s growing list of critics.

Facebook Tanks

Many say that Facebook has suffered irreversible damage since the scandal was brought to light. Faced with declining usage, severed business ties and a severe backlash from the public, Facebook shares have tanked more than 16% over the last three weeks.

Prices have fallen below the 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages, with the short-term average converging on the longer one. An RSI in the low-30s makes a strong case for Facebook’s bearish downturn, although current levels indicate that an oversold bounce is likely.

FB’s share price shed another 0.7% on Wednesday even as the major indexes gained. The S&P 500’s information technology index rose 1.4%, capping off a solid recovery for the market.

Along with the other so-called FAANG stocks, Facebook has been largely responsible for the recent tech rollover and subsequent turbulence on Wall Street. Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet lost a combined $324 billion in market cap between Mar. 12 and Apr. 2.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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