Encrypted Email Service ProtonMail is Being Blocked in Turkey

I have written before about encrypted email provider Proton Mail. In fact, I used Proton Mail last week when I was in China as it was the only email service I could find that was not blocked by the Great Firewall of China. (I bet that changes soon!) Now the government of Turkey isn’t allowing its citizens access to the privacy-enabled email service.

See https://protonmail.com/blog/turkey-online-censorship-bypass/ for the details, unless you are in Turkey in which case the article is blocked.

Graphite: the Google Docs Competitor with Heavy-duty Privacy

Graphite is the first truly decentralized and encrypted replacement for Google G-Suite and Microsoft Office. Nick Douglas writes in the LifeHacker web site:

“My favourite thing about Graphite, the new blockchain-based Google Docs competitor, is that it’s so much faster. Docs used to be the lightweight alternative to MS Word; now it feels similarly slow and bloated. While I still use it for collaborative work, I’ve been leaning toward Apple’s Notes app in all my solo writing; it’s much faster but has some stupid design choices, such as a bad default font and bright yellow link text. (My second favourite thing about Graphite is that it looks crisp and handsome.)

“Graphite is a web app for documents, spreadsheets, and an email alternative called “conversations”. Its creator Justin Hunter emphasises its security and privacy features: Graphite can store your documents on your own servers or on Blockstack, a recently released decentralised network that uses the blockchain to securely distribute encrypted data. As Hunter explains on Product Hunt, your data is encrypted on your computer before it’s sent to any servers. And unlike Google, Graphite never knows your password.”

You can read the full article at: http://bit.ly/2FAnKbQ.

Use Encipher.it to Quickly and Easily Encrypt Your E-mail Messages

Encipher.it is an amazing service. It secures your email messages and other data so that none of the bad guys can read it, it protects your work or personal files from identity thieves, it allows you to share confidential information easily with friends or co-workers, and it is available free of charge. What is there to dislike about Encipher.it?

Encipher.it offers several methods of use. In its easiest-to-use form, simply type your text into the Encipher.it web site (or copy-and-paste the text), click on ENCIPHER IT, enter an encryption password of your choosing, and your text is instantly converted into what looks like mumbo-jumbo. Here is a snippet from a message I just created:


Decrypt it at https://encipher.it

Then you can copy-and-paste that mumbo-jumbo into an email message and send it to anyone of your choosing. You also need to tell the person the encryption password you used. (Don’t send the encryption password in unsecured email!)

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Senator Ron Wyden Asks FBI Director To Justify His ‘Ill-Informed’ Policy Proposal For Encryption

Well, at least one Senator has some common sense. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon criticized FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday for not consulting him before going public with the proposal for encryption.

NOTE: See my earlier article, FBI Chief Calls Unbreakable Encryption ‘Urgent Public Safety Issue’ at http://bit.ly/2DPEM3W, for information about the Director’s silly ideas.

Senator Ron Wyden wrote, “Your stated position parrots the same debunked arguments espoused by your predecessors, all of whom ignored the widespread and vocal consensus of cryptographers. For years, these experts have repeatedly stated that what you are asking for is not, in fact, possible.”

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Facebook Launches an Open Source Group Chat Encryption Tool

One of the biggest complaints about Facebook is how the company constantly spies on its users, collecting information about their personal habits and interests, packaging the information, and then selling it to advertisers. While the company is not abandoning that business plan, it is surprising to see Facebook release a product that allows users to apply encryption to their social media group chats.

Named the Asynchronous Ratcheting Tree, the open source tool is designed to enhance the security of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and the Signal App among others.

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FBI Chief Calls Unbreakable Encryption ‘Urgent Public Safety Issue’

Depending upon your viewpoint and your own desire for personal privacy, you could say this story is good news or perhaps it is bad news. FBI Director Christopher Wray certainly thinks it is bad news. I think it is good news.

According to Director Wray, the FBI was unable to access data from nearly 7,800 devices in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 with technical tools despite possessing proper legal authority to pry them open, a growing figure that impacts every area of the agency’s work, Wray said during a speech at a cyber security conference in New York. “This is an urgent public safety issue,” Wray added, while saying that a solution is “not so clear cut.”

You can read more about the FBI’s difficulties in spying on you in an article by Dustin Volz in the US News & World Report at: http://bit.ly/2AKfzlP.

You Absolutely Must Secure Your Home Router and You Probably Can’t

Your in-home router/modem may be the most insecure piece of hardware you own. Luckily, there is an easy fix although it isn’t cheap for many people: replace your present router’s internal software with a security-focused product, such as the free and open code, DD-WRT. The expense arises from the fact that most routers cannot easily replace the internal software. If you are one of the majority who owns a non-modifiable router, you will have to purchase a new router (which is a good idea anyway) and then install DD-WRT or a similar product yourself. If you are one of the fortunate few who do own a router that allows for modifying the internal software, you can upgrade to DD-WRT at no charge. Another alternative is that a few companies will sell new routers with DD-WRT or similar software already installed.

You can read much more about this topic in You Absolutely Must Secure Your Home Router and You Probably Can’t in the BoingBoing.net web site at: http://bit.ly/2Cpdspj. That article provides an overview in plain English of a somewhat more technical article, How to Protect Your Home Router from Attacks, by Lucian Constantin, available at: http://bit.ly/2CBh36N.

For the past 3 or 4 months, I have been using DD-WRT installed in a Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT FlashRouter. It includes all the security enhancements of DD-WRT plus it also has a VPN installed. Not only are all connections from my desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet, and even my cell phone protected by the VPN, but even my Roku box, Apple TV, VoIP telephone, security video cameras, and even the Nest thermostat in my home are now connected to the Internet via a safe and secure VPN connection.

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