U.S. Senate Staff can now use Signal for Secure Messaging and So Can You

The US Senate just got a little bit more secure. You can also do the same: increase your security.

Without any fanfare, the Senate Sergeant at Arms recently told Senate staffers that Signal, widely considered by security researchers and experts to be the most secure encrypted messaging app, has been approved for use by all Senate staff members.

The news was revealed in a letter Tuesday by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), a staunch privacy and encryption advocate, who recognized the effort to allow the encrypted messaging app as one of many “important defensive cybersecurity” measures introduced in the chamber.

I have written several times about Signal in past articles in this blog. See https://privacyblog.com/?s=Signal for those past articles.

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Cryptomator Encrypts Your Files Before Uploading to Dropbox or Other Cloud-based File Storage Services

Many people are afraid to use Dropbox, Google Drive, or other file storage services because of the fear that “someone might see my personal data.” Whether the fear is valid or not can be discussed forever but there is a simple solution that always avoids the problem: encrypt everything before sending any files to the file storage service. Encrypted files cannot be read by anyone who does not know the encryption key. The result is that your private information remains private.

Of course, you could always manually encrypt the files one at a time by using any of the dozens of available encryption programs. However, if you have hundreds or thousands of files you wish to save online, encrypting them one at a time entails a LOT of work. Luckily, there is a simpler solution and, best of all, it is free.

Cryptomator provides transparent, client-side encryption for your files to be stored in the cloud. Cryptomator provides a virtual drive. You can add, edit, or remove files as you’re used to with any other disk drive. Not only do the contents of files get encrypted, even the file names and folder names get encrypted. Only the encrypted files stored in the virtual drive are sent to the file storage service. Cryptomator runs solely in your computer and does not need any infrastructure or accounts under anyone else’s control.

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Senator Reveals FBI paid $900,000 to Hack the San Bernardino iPhone and Received Nothing in Return

During last week’s questioning of FBI Director James Comey, California Senator Dianne Feinstein inadvertently revealed the amount the agency paid to hack into a terrorist’s iPhone, the Associated Press reports at http://cnb.cx/2qTzBpB. The money was paid to break into the locked iPhone of a gunman in the San Bernardino, California, shootings. In return, the FBI received … nothing.

Even though the company the FBI hired was able to break into the phone and read its contents, nothing incriminating was found.

Details are available at http://cnb.cx/2qTzBpB.

I wrote about the attempt to break into the iPhone several times last year. See my previous articles by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aprivacyblog.com+fby+iphone&t=h_&ia=web.

UK’s Proposed new Investigatory Powers Act Hopes to Make It Easier to Spy on UK Residents and Others, But Will It?

More details of how the UK’s new surveillance law will operate have been revealed. The details concerning the use of encryption seem especially silly, possibly written by the staff writers of Monty Python.

Under draft regulations to support the new Investigatory Powers Act, the government will be able to issue ‘technical capability notices’ to companies with more than 10,000 UK users to make it easier for police, spy agencies, Inland Revenue employees, and other government bodies to access UK residents’ private communications.

In particular, the regulations require companies to provide and maintain “the capability to disclose, where practicable, the content of communications or secondary data in an intelligible form and to remove electronic protection applied by or on behalf of the telecommunications operator to the communications or data, or to permit the person to whom the warrant is addressed to remove such electronic protection.”

In other words, the proposed law wants an unlocked “back door” into all forms of encryption in order to read what is going on. Security experts all agree that any such “back door” that is available to government employees will also become available to hackers, credit card thieves, and foreign governments within a matter of months, if not within weeks. It is similar to leaving a key to your house door under the doormat.

Unlocked “back doors” will not remain secret very long.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Ditch WhatsApp for Viber

If you are using WhatsApp, you really need to read Rob Nightingale’s article in the MakeUseOf web site.

Nightingale points out that WhatsApp‘s 1.2 billion users send tens of billions of messages to each other EVERY DAY. Obviously, that’s huge. Viber only has 800 million users. Yet Nightingale says that Viber is the better app in almost every way but WhatsApp got a head start and became popular before Viber could get started.

Both apps:

  • Are free to download.
  • Provide end-to-end encryption.
  • Work over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi.
  • Work on Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones.
  • Have Windows and Mac desktop apps.
  • Offer instant messaging.
  • Offer voice and video calls to other users.
  • Allow you to send photos, audio, and video clips.
  • Offer private group chats.
  • Work with Google Now and Siri.

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The Ultimate Encrypted Voice & Data Modem

If you like gadgets, this may be the ultimate device to own. Well, you and your associates will need at least two of them. The RT7 Encrypted Voice and Data Modem works with any HF or V/UHF two-way radio system or computer network to provide secure voice, data and position services.

The RT7 provides robust secure voice, text, forms, file transfer, quickcodes, navigation, situational awareness, sms*, and email* (* via Gateway or CommandPoint Software). It is not a two-way radio itself. Instead, it connects to compatible two-way radios, networks (via an ethernet connection), or computers. It securely encrypts voice or data and also provides positioning information, all while using military-grade encryption.

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