Yes, TrueCrypt is Secure But…

I received an email message today from a reader asking about TrueCrypt, the now discontinued freeware utility used for on-the-fly encryption (OTFE). TrueCrypt can create a virtual encrypted disk within a file or encrypt a partition. A recent article stated that TrueCrypt “turned out to be not-so-secure.” My email correspondent is still using TrueCrypt and asked if he should switch to something else.

My answer is, “TrueCrypt is secure but you probably should switch anyway.”

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BlackBerry Claims to Have the World’s Most Secure Cell Phone

DTEK50The DTEK50 from Blackberry is being touted as the most secure cell phone available anywhere. I rather doubt that claim as US military and civilian personnel use some very secure cell phones. Due to all the secrecy involved, I doubt if we will ever see a side-by-side comparison. However, I will concede that the Blackberry DTEK50 might be the most secure cell phone available for sale to civilians.

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Anti-Ransomware Help Site

No More Ransom is an anti-ransomware help site by law enforcement and IT security companies to assist users in preventing, identifying, and decrypting ransomware threats.

The website offers three core features: ransomware information, access to decryption tools, and a ransomware identification tool. If you know the name of the ransomware that infected a PC, you may head over to the decryption tools section right away to find out if a program exists that can do that.

You can read more at http://www.ghacks.net/2016/07/26/no-more-ransom-anti-ransomware-help-site/ while the No More Ransom web site is at https://www.nomoreransom.org/.

How to Steal Keystrokes from Millions of Wireless Keyboards

Wireless keyboards are a great convenience. However, they are also insecure. Most Bluetooth keyboards radiate signals in all directions for a MINIMUM of 30 feet and some of them can send as far as 100 meters or 328 feet. A few may transmit even further.

NOTE: Class 1 Bluetooth devices transmit at 100 milliwatts (on-tenth of a watt) which results in a standard range of approximately 100 meters or 328 feet, range is comparable to that of an 802.11b WLAN device. Class 1 devices are most commonly implemented in devices where power is plentiful, such as laptop and desktop systems. However, most Bluetooth keyboards transmit with less than 100 milliwatts.

A hacking tool called Keysniffer allows any hacker with a $12 radio device to intercept the connection between any of eight wireless keyboards and a computer from 250 feet away. What’s more, it gives the hacker the ability to both type keystrokes on the victim machine to and silently record the target’s typing. All this works by intercepting keyboard keystrokes. Use of a VPN (virtual private network) or other security software is ineffective against Keysniffer.

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New Illinois Limits on Cellphone Surveillance

A new Illinois law limits how police can use devices that cast a wide net in gathering cellphone data and are at the center of a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation into law on Friday and drew immediate praise from civil libertarians.

The technology, a cell site simulator, is perhaps best known by the brand name Stingray. It gathers phone-usage data on targets of criminal investigations, but it also gathers data on other cellphones — hundreds or even thousands of them — in the area.

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Australian Privacy Advocates say People’s Names in Census Records should not be Retained

Census records are some of the most useful records available to genealogists. However, if some Australians have their way, future genealogists will not have access to these records. Privacy advocates are calling on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) not to collect names of individuals in next month’s census, due to privacy concerns.

Actually, this is not as big a loss as it sounds. All Australian census records in the past few years have only kept the names for 18 months. Unlike many other countries, the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not preserve the names and then make them public after 72 or 100 years.

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Eric Snowden Designs a Device to Warn if your iPhone’s Radios Are Spying on You

Snowden and and well-known hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang are hoping to offer strong privacy guarantees to smartphone owners who need to shield their phones from government-funded adversaries with advanced hacking and surveillance capabilities—particularly reporters trying to carry their devices into hostile foreign countries without constantly revealing their locations.

You can read an interesting article describing all this in Wired at https://goo.gl/oDXNUu.