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Cybersecurity

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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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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Breaches

Uber Is Paying Hackers to Keep Quiet

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Uber Technologies Inc. has reportedly paid hackers to delete scores of private data stolen from the company in a security breach that was concealed for over a year. The revelation provides further confirmation that, when it comes to cyber security, crime does pay.

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Massive Data Breach

According to Bloomberg Technology, hackers retrieved the personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers at some point last year. Nobody heard about it because the rideshare company paid the hackers $100,000 to keep quiet. A purge at the front office of Uber also ensured that the massive cyber breach was kept under wraps.

The compromised data was from October 2016 and included the names, phone numbers and addressed of 50 million Uber riders globally. About seven million drivers had their personal information accessed as well.

At the time of the cyber attack, Uber was inundated with a slew of legal issues stemming from alleged privacy violations. Rather than shine even more negative spotlight on the company, Uber executives decided to pay hackers to stay quiet.

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“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO in September, said in a statement that was published by Bloomberg. “We are changing the way we do business.”

Hackers have done a masterful job infiltrating companies and governments in recent years. As a reminder, recent cyber attacks levied against Yahoo!, Target Corp and Equifax Inc. dwarf Uber’s 57 million compromised accounts.

Various reports indicate that cyber attacks are bleeding the global economy dry. One report, issued by the World Economic Forum, suggests that cyber crime cost the world economy $445 billion in 2016. If cyber crime were its own market cap, it would exceed Microsoft Inc., Facebook Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp

The Fall of Uber?

Uber revolutionized the ride-hailing business over the span of seven years by giving more power to the consumer. Several missteps later, the company finds itself in legal hot water, with its future appearing less certain than it did just one year ago.

The rideshare company faces at least five U.S. probes ranging from bribes to illicit software and right up to unethical pricing schemes. According to another Bloomberg report, Uber is under investigation for violating price transparency regulations, not to mention the alleged theft of documents for Google’s autonomous cars.

Some governments are sensing weakness in the ride-hailing service, and are moving toward banning the Uber app entirely. London is the most prominent example of a city that has taken definitive steps to outlaw the service over a “lack of corporate responsibility.”

Even with its legal troubles, Uber is a revolutionary technology that has influenced a bevy of other innovations aimed at improving the human experience.

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Cybersecurity

The Pirate Bay is Hijacking PCs to Stealth-Mine Cryptocurrency

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For the second time in as many months, The Pirate Bay has been caught mining cryptocurrency on your computer without consent. The torrent platform was actually test-driving cryptocurrency mining in your browser – no doubt a lucrative revenue stream.

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The Pirates Are At It Again

The Pirate Bay has been caught using software called Coinhive, a JavaScript library that essentially serves as a cryptocurrency miner. It basically connects to visitors’ computers to mine Monero, one of the world’s most profitable cryptocurrencies.

The news was later confirmed by Bleeping Computer, which reported that,”The Pirate Bay, the internet’s largest torrent portal, is back at running a cryptocurrency miner after it previously ran a short test in mid-September.”

Estimates indicate that the scheme has earned the pirates a total of $43,000 over a three-week period.

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Users had no way to opt their computers out of being test-driven by the torrent network. Back in September, The Pirate Bay got away by telling people it was just a test. The site’s owners cannot use the same excuse this time around.

CoinHive advises websites to let their visitors  know their browser is being used to mine cryptocurrency.

“We’re a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate CoinHive into their pages without disclosing to their users what’s going on, let alone asking for their permission,” the company said.

The good news is most ad-blockers and antivirus programs will block CoinHive, given its recent abuses. That means not all visitors of The Pirate Pay were being used as a conduit for mining Monero.

Monero Joins Global Crypto Rally

The value of Monero (XMR) shot up nearly 8% on Friday, and was last seen trading at $94.17. With more than 15.2 million XMR tokens in circulation, the total market cap for Monero is $1.4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s enough for ninth on the global cryptocurrency list.

Twelve cryptos have now crossed the $1 billion valuation mark. A handful of others have made their way north of $500 million.

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Breaches

Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility

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Digital currency Ethereum climbed to a two-month high on Monday, taking some of the heat off Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which have slumped since the weekend.

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Ethereum Forges Higher Path

Concerns over Bitcoin created a favourable tailwind for Ethereum (ETH/USD), which is the world’s No. 2 digital currency by total assets. Ether’s price topped $340.00 on Monday and later settled at $323.54. That was the highest since June 20.

At its peak, ether was up 10% on the day and 70% for the month of August.

The ETH/USD was last down 2.2% at $315.02, according to Bitfinex. Prices are due for a brisk recovery, based on the daily momentum indicators.

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Fractured Bitcoin Community

Bitcoin and its offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, retreated on Monday following a volatile weekend. The BTC/USD slumped at the start of the week and was down more than 3% on Tuesday, with prices falling below $3,900.00. Just last week, Bitcoin was trading at new records near $4,500.00.

Bitcoin Cash, which emerged after the Aug. 1 hard fork, climbed to new records on Saturday, but has been in free-fall ever since. The BTH was down another 20% on Tuesday to $594.49, according to CoinMarketCap. Its total market value has dropped by several billion over the past two days.

Analysts say that a “fractured” Bitcoin community has made Ethereum a more attractive bet this week. The ether token has shown remarkable poise over the past seven days, despite trading well shy of a new record.

Other drivers behind Ethereum’s advance are steady demand from South Korean investors and growing confidence in a smooth upgrade for the the ETH network. The upgrade, which has been dubbed “Metropolis,” is expected in the next several weeks. Its key benefits include tighter transaction privacy and greater efficiency.

Ethereum Prices Unaffected by ICO Heist

Fin-tech developer Enigma was on the receiving end of a cyber-heist on Monday after hackers took over the company’s website, mailing list and instant messaging platforms. The hack occurred three weeks before Enigma’s planned Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for September 11.

In addition to defacing the company’s website, the hackers pushed a special “pre-sale” ahead of the ICO. While many users realized it was a scam, 1,492 ether tokens – valued at $495,000 – were directed into the hackers’ cryptocurrency wallet by unsuspecting backers.

The irony in all this is that Engima is a cryptography company that prides itself on top-notch security protocols. The company issued a statement that its servers had not been compromised.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)

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