Connecticut Court Case Highlights the Security and Privacy of the Zello Walkie-Talkie App for Cell Phones

I have written about Zello several times. See for a list of my past articles about this very useful and very private cell phone app. Now it seems that a court in Connecticut has learned how private the app really is.

Various laws require police officers to turn over their personal phone records, if subpoenaed and if the phones were used for official police business. New London police officers Todd Lynch, Jeremy Zelinski, Joseph Pelchat and Ryan Griffin used their personal cell phones during a narcotics investigation and, with the help of the communications provided by Zello, were able to arrest the career criminal who is believed to be a drug dealer.

The officers brought their phones to Superior Court on Friday to show to Judge Hunchu Kwak, if necessary. The issues of the case had created some publicity earlier so Connecticut State’s Attorney Michael L. Regan also attended the hearing to learn first-hand about the issues.

Continue reading

DOJ Made Secret Arguments To Break Crypto, Now ACLU Wants To Make Them Public

Big Brother is still spying on you as never before. Here is still another reason to never use Facebook’s Messenger app or anything else from Facebook. According a report from Ars Technica:

Earlier this year, a federal judge in Fresno, California, denied prosecutors’ efforts to compel Facebook to help it wiretap Messenger voice calls. But the precise legal arguments that the government made, and that the judge ultimately rejected, are still sealed.

Continue reading

Your iPhone Reportedly can be Hacked by a $3,900 Device

Want to see what your friend (or lover or enemy or boss or anyone else) has stored in his or her iPhone? For only $3,900 US, you can find out. Oh yes, you will have to take possession of the iPhone for at least a few minutes, maybe for a few hours.

The company selling the device, called DriveSavers, is also using strict identification protocols, in some cases requesting documents that include death certificates, probate documents, court documents, and more. According to the DriveSavers web site, “This service is only available to the actual owner of the data on the locked smartphone, or to an owner’s next of kin in the event that the owner has passed away.”

DriveSavers says that most people use the service to access the data from the device of a deceased loved one. That may be true for MOST people but what about the others?

Continue reading

Hackers are using Leaked NSA Hacking Tools to Covertly Hijack Thousands of Computers

Your tax dollars at work! If a hacker breaks into your computer, you can probably thank the U.S. government. Researchers say that hackers are using the leaked tools developed by NSA to create an big malicious proxy network. Akamai says more than 45,000 devices are already under the thumb of the massive network — potentially amounting to more than a million computers waiting for commands.

Details may be found in an article by Zack Whittaker in the TechCrunch web site at:

Alphabet’s Cybersecurity Group Touts Its New Open Source Private VPN

Alphabet (the parent company of Google, YouTube, JigSaw, and a bunch of other corporate divisions) is proudly promoting its new, FREE VPN called “Outline” and for good reasons.

Unscrupulous VPN providers can steal your identity, peek in on your data, inject their own ads on non-secure pages, or analyze your browsing habits and sell that information to advertisers, says one Jigsaw official. And you can’t know for sure whether you can trust them, no matter what they say in the app store. “Journalists should be aware that their online activities might be subject to surveillance either by government agencies, their internet service providers, or a hacker with malicious intent,” said Laura Tich, technical evangelist for Code for Africa, a resource for African journalists. “As surveillance becomes ubiquitous in today’s world, journalists face an increasing challenge in establishing secure communication in the digital space.”

Outline is being offered as free open source software. Jigsaw (the producing company) invites anyone and everyone with programming skills to examine the source code, looking for security problems or other bugs. If any problems are found, please let the Jigsaw software developers know so they can fix the problem(s) for the next release.

Continue reading

Facebook is Now Compared to “Big Tobacco” and that is Not a Complement

From an article in The Economist:

“Big tobacco” is what the bosses of several large technology firms have started calling Facebook in private and in public. The company has spent the past year fending off critics who claim it is addictive, bad for democracy and overdue for a regulatory reckoning. Being compared to the tobacco giants is one of the business world’s more toxic insults, but it is not the only unflattering analogy circulating. A lower blow is the suggestion that Facebook may become like Yahoo, the once high-flying internet firm that plunged.

Also, from the same article:

Continue reading

Half of all Phishing Sites Now Have the Padlock

We used to believe that a padlock shown in a web browser’s address bar meant that we were connected to a safe and secure web site. That’s no longer true. In fact, it never was completely true.

The padlock is shown when a web site has a security certificate installed and the connection is made using an encrypted “https” connection.

HTTPS protocol. (The letter “S” after “http” indicates a “secure” connection.) In fact, an https connection has some arguable drawbacks. Mainly, there’s virtually no barrier to anyone obtaining HTTPS certification, which has made it attractive for criminal groups hoping to add an air of authenticity to bogus sites. That little green padlock guarantees that you’re sending data encrypted, but not that the person on the receiving end has scruples.

Continue reading