How You Can Protect Your Secrets with Encryption

News stories over the past few years about the unconstitutional actions of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. Yes, there are many people and organizations trying to obtain information about you. From hackers in third-world countries, to companies trying to sell you products, to semi-secret agencies of the U.S. Government, it seems as if nearly everyone is trying to find information about you. Indeed, many people seem to have a phobia about storing their personal information on servers on the Internet.

What saddens me most of all is that the entire issue is so easily avoided: encrypt the information. When you leave your house, I suspect you lock the door. When you leave your automobile in a parking lot, you probably lock it up, too. The same should be true with your information. When you leave your information unattended, whether it is in your home when you are not present or someplace in the cloud, you should lock it up.

Simply put, encryption programs scramble data within the file or files that you specify so that no one else can access that data without the key that you keep. If anyone does manage to obtain a copy of your file, all they will see is something that looks similar to this:

lj,Rn’G9%$#ho\mG{njbhdmnRle=iuwHdwk|,mfmn~jJYle

Security is under your control at all times because you have the key and you decide who gets copies of that key. Encryption is easy to do, requiring only a few seconds, and (in many cases) it is free of charge.

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Millions of People Are Taking an Interest in Cryptography

I see this as a good thing. I will suggest that everyone who ever uses the Internet should be familiar with the reasons for using cryptography. Cryptography may sound complicated, but actually using these systems is easier than ever.

Cryptography used to be the exclusive concern of techies, geeks, and the CIA. Today, however, it seems that everybody wants to be a crypto-expert. And the recent surge in BitCoin and other crypto-coins has further accelerated people’s interest in cryptography.

Encrypting messages and data is one of the easiest ways of improving the security of both, guarding against theft and exploitation. Given this, and how easy it is to encrypt information nowadays, it’s really worth taking it seriously.

Sam Bocetta’s latest article in the TutaNota Blog details why cryptography matters and how it works. You can find the article at: https://tutanota.com/blog/posts/interest-cryptography.

Apple is Served a Search Warrant to Unlock Texas Church Gunman’s iPhone

Authorities in Texas served Apple with a search warrant in order to gain access to the Sutherland Springs church shooter’s cellphone files. Texas Ranger Kevin Wright obtained the warrant last week, according to San Antonio Express-News.

Investigators are hoping to gain access to gunman Devin Patrick Kelley’s digital photos, messages, calls, videos, social media passwords, address book and data since January 2016. Authorities also want to know what files Kelley stored in his iCloud account.

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A Top Department of Justice Official Argues with Himself Concerning Encryption

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the U.S. Department of Justice was recently interviewed about the use of encryption in modern electronic communications and the hindrance that places on law enforcement investigations. In most of his published comments, he seems to be in favor of “back doors” and other methods of allowing law enforcement officials to view otherwise encrypted communications and data.

In the published comments in the Slashdot web site at http://bit.ly/2hk1yUA, Rosenstein strangely also seems to contradict himself. While he obviously wants law enforcement officials to be able to see everything, he also states, “I favor strong encryption, because the stronger the encryption, the more secure data is against criminals who are trying to commit fraud. And I’m in favor of that, because that means less business for us prosecuting cases of people who have stolen data and hacked into computer networks and done all sorts of damage. So I’m in favor of strong encryption.”

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Android to Add a feature That Encrypts Website Name Requests

The Domain Name System (DNS) — often referred to as the Internet’s phone book — translates domain names (like privacyblog.com) into machine-readable IP addresses, such as: 192.0.78.25. The process is hidden from users, but essentially applies to every website you visit. While TLS hides your DNS requests, it won’t afford you full privacy (as your Internet Service Provider can still see the IP address you’re communicating with). For that, you’ll still need a VPN app.

Some low-brow advertisers read your DNS request and then direct you to fake sites and phishing pages.

Now Google is adding a better method of hiding DNS requests from your Internet Service Provider as well as from other spies. This new feature is named “DNS over TLS,” an experimental protocol currently receiving comments at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an Internet standards body.

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s Personal Cell Phone was Compromised

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s personal cell phone was compromised back in December. Details may be found at: http://politi.co/2xIbaTX.

Actually, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. I hope it didn’t surprise John Kelly although I suspect it may have. Everyone should be aware that EVERY unencrypted cell phone can be hacked. The higher your position in government, military, sports, the entertainment industry, or in the business world, the greater the odds that someone is monitoring your calls and the web sites you visit with your smartphone. Those listening might be foreign governments, our own NSA, the FBI, local police departments, business competitors, identity thieves, or (in the case of celebrities) various gossip magazines and newspapers.

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