Encryption Backdoor Sneaks Into UK Law

There has been lots of discussion about the wisdom or lack of wisdom of incorporating “back doors” into devices capable of encrypting information. While the debate rages on, the U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Act that was quietly signed into law this week even though it contains the capability to undermine encryption and demand surveillance backdoors.

According to an article in The Register, any company that receives a “technical capacity notice” will be obliged to do various things on demand for government snoops — such as disclosing details of any system upgrades and removing “electronic protection” on encrypted communications. Thus, by “technical capability,” the government really means backdoors and deliberate security weaknesses so citizens’ encrypted online activities can be intercepted, deciphered and monitored…

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International Authorities Take Down Massive ‘Avalanche’ Botnet

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Eurojust, Europol, and other global partners announced the takedown of a massive botnet named “Avalanche,” estimated to have involved as many as 500,000 infected computers worldwide on a daily basis.

“The monetary losses associated with malware attacks conducted over the Avalanche network are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, although exact calculations are difficult due to the high number of malware families present on the network,” the FBI and DOJ said in their joint statement.

Details may be found at https://goo.gl/aj1YXQ.

More Than 1 Million Google Accounts Breached by Gooligan

An Android malware campaign named Gooligan has breached the security more than one million Google accounts. The number continues to rise at an additional 13,000 breached devices each day. Gooligan potentially affects devices on Android 4 (Jelly Bean, KitKat) and 5 (Lollipop), which is over 74% of in-market devices today. About 57% of these devices are located in Asia and about 9% are in Europe.

Details may be found in the Check Point Blog at: https://goo.gl/8r5JJW.

48 Organizations Now Have Access To Every Brit’s Browsing History

If you live in Great Britain, your government is spying on you. Not only can the police and GCHQ see everything you do online, but so can the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency, and even the Scottish Ambulance Service Board. Why do the employees of those agencies need to spy on your online habits? And how secure are they? Do the employees of those agencies surreptitiously give information to their friends and relatives?

Read more at: https://goo.gl/7WzUva.

Manufacturer Refurbished Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA

c100pI have written often about Chromebooks. They are excellent low-cost laptop computers that do most of the tasks that most computer users want, although they cannot match the power of the laptops that cost five or ten times as much. Best of all, these laptops never get viruses and do a better job at protecting privacy than do Windows or Macintosh computers. Private information typically is not stored in the laptop but rather in safe and secure cloud storage services. Too many laptops get stolen every year and, with Windows and Macintosh laptops, the thief gains access to the private information stored within that system. That is not a security problem with a Chromebook.

Now StackSocial has the Asus Flip C100PA Chromebook on sale for $199.99. That price includes shipping. I have an Asus Flip C100PA and love it. The 2-pound laptop with 9-hours battery life has become my primary traveling laptop. However, I had to pay more than today’s price of $199.99 when I purchased it more than a year ago.

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pCloud: Better than Dropbox?

Dropbox is a very popular service. However, it certainly is not perfect.

My biggest complaint with Dropbox is that it has a rather weak method of encryption for storing your data on Dropbox’s servers. (See https://goo.gl/G7cxNF for an explanation of Dropbox’s encryption weaknesses.) Dropbox employees can read your personal data. If Dropbox receives a court order demanding they supply copies of your personal data to some government agency, the company must do so. Also, in theory, if a hacker ever gains access to Dropbox’s servers, that person  possibly could also read your data. The odds of a hacker gaining access are slim but not impossible.

Next, Dropbox only provides 2 gigabytes of storage space free of charge, significantly less than that of most of its competitors.

One new service is “just like Dropbox, except (1.) it is faster than Dropbox, (2.) it can encrypt every bit of data before storing on the company’s servers, making the service much more secure and (3.) it offers 10 gigabytes of free storage space with the option to obtain 20 gigabytes at no charge if a user makes some bonus steps.

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