Posts Tagged ‘Personal privacy’
WhatsApp will now have encrypted messages from now, which is a boon for those who are concerned about personal privacy when chatting and sending photos of their junk to hook-ups. Of course, governments and spy-agencies won’t be at all happy about this, as they get jumpy and start shouting ‘TERRORISTS!’ as soon as anyone hides what they’re talking about.
WhatsApp said that this is the “largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever.” What that means, in English, is that your messages are safe from people listening-in, unless of course, WhatsApp have a deal with someone where they’ll pass all that information on. Seeing as they’re owned by Facebook, you’d be daft to not indulge that in your thoughts.
Thus far, it’ll only work on Android and is limited to one-on-one text-only chats. So group chats and photos are not as locked down.
Whisper Systems – the company behind the software which is being used to encrypt your WhatsApp messages – have said: ”We have a ways to go until all mobile platforms are fully supported, but we are moving quickly towards a world where all WhatsApp users will get end-to-end encryption by default.”
It does look like chat-apps are all working toward utilising this kind of encryption, which is a headache for the NSA and GCHQ. In their eyes, the only people who should have encrypted messages are government officials and people like the FBI.
The Snapchat nudes leak is a real thing, now dubbed ‘The Snappening’ after the iCloud leak was referred to as ‘The Fappening’.
Videos and images of around 200,000 people, which were stored on a third party website, have been put online. This time, it doesn’t just focus on celebrities.
It appears the third party site in question is Snapsaved.com, which allows users to grab a screenshot of the Snapchat images that usually expire after a few seconds.
Snapsaved appears to have saved not only the images, but also, the users’ login details so that, in the torrent that stores all the images, you can search for images under people’s usernames. This third party is not to be confused with Snapsave, which only stores images on the phone of the user.
4chan, as ever, were the ones to announce the 13 gigabytes of images, but one of the problems here is that much of the content could be from underage users, meaning that anyone who distributes the photos or hosts them, could be in legal trouble for hosting child porn or sexual images of minors.
After the huge celebrity leak of photos, dubbed ‘The Fappening’, looks like we’re due ‘The Snappening’ as rumours abound that hackers have got a load of Snapchat photos and plan release all the mucky, naked ones that match with usernames.
They’ll be available on October 12th on a torrent.
According to reports, the hackers have a 13GB library of snaps from a third-party app which allows users to save Snapchats without the sender knowing.
Snapchat are deflecting blame away from themselves, but if they were really vigilant, they should’ve got third party apps removed from app stores or something.
What should worry people though is that a lot of young people use Snapchat, which means anyone looking at any potential leaks could basically be looking at compromising images of underage kids.
Nearly 5 million Gmail addresses and plain text passwords was posted on a forum this week, which is a massive pain in the arse for someone – probably the person who has to answer questions at Google about security breaches and the like.
Someone called ‘tvskit’ posted the archive file on a Bitcoin security forum called btcsec.com, which you can imagine, is a riotous read and will keep you entertained for literally seconds. They reckon that over 60% of the credentials in the file are valid.
“We can’t confirm that it is indeed as much as 60%, but a great amount of the leaked data is legitimate,” said Peter Kruse, the chief technology officer of CSIS Security Group. “We believe the data doesn’t originate from Google directly. Instead it’s likely it comes from various sources that have been compromised.”
What that means is, Google haven’t been hacked, but rather, accounts on other sites where people have used their Gmail addresses as the user name have been obtained.
Google said: “The security of our users is of paramount importance to us. We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that an account has been compromised, we take steps to help our users secure their accounts.”
In conclusion, here’s the usual ‘you might want to change your password on sites where you’ve used your Gmail address as a user name’ advice.
As you’re no doubt aware, Jennifer Lawrence has had some naked selfies stolen from her, and according to the very reputable 4chan, they were swiped by someone hacking her iCloud account. If you haven’t seen the photos, then chances are we’ve lost you and you’re burrowing into a search engine now, looking for boobs.
How can you keep your cloud accounts safe? If you have an account with iCloud, Dropbox or Google+, you might find that they automatically upload and save your images.
First thing to do is to make sure your password doesn’t get stolen or is difficult to guess. That’s blindingly obvious, but worth mentioning. Change your passwords regularly and make sure they’re not words, but rather, a collection of letters, numbers and symbols.
It doesn’t matter how safe cloud accounts are made if your password is 123456 or ‘password’.
Another thing you can do is make sure that you switch off the automatic backup services. In all Apple devices, you can disable Photostream. If you turn it off, it’ll delete any automatically stored images from iCloud. You’ll have to delete any manually shared Photostreams yourself.
With Dropbox, your Android device can be set-up to upload every photo and video you take into the cloud. If that’s not your thing, go to ‘settings’ and turn the option off. You’ll also need to delete them from Dropbox manually.
On Android, G+ and Picasa, you can disable automatic photo backup in the Photos app on your device. You’ll need to go to ‘settings’ then Auto-Backup and then untick ‘Back up local folders’.
Of course, you’re not a celebrity so the chances of someone wanting to hack your account and share your photos are slim. However, if you’re feeling jumpy or just want to disable these functions, now you know how.
You’re still not reading this are you. You’re still looking at boobs.
You know that Google tracks your every movement don’t you? Unless you’ve tinkered with the location settings on your phone, they know where you’ve been going. Including that late night jog you went on… to a massage parlour.
Well, if you didn’t know, there’s a map online, where you can see to what level Google have been following you around.
Of course, many of you will look at your map and realise that you’ve got the life-radius of a beetle tied to a nail, walking around in ever decreasing circles.
You’ll have to log in with your Google account, but once you do, you’ll see a 2D map with a record of where you’ve been for the last month. Whether you think this is a cause for concern is your business, but looking at the map of your recent history might make you feel a bit weird in a Minority Report kinda way.
Have a look at the map of your whereabouts here.
Google have been relatively open about how they scan everyone’s emails – it is so they can tailor adverts to customers and make loads of money. However, not everyone is happy about that, especially with all that NSA business.
However, reports say that a Google tip-off from the contents of a Gmail account ended up in the arrest of a child abuser from Texas. Police say Google told the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about the content in an email sent by John Henry Skillern, who is a registered sex offender.
“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email,” said Detective David Nettles. “I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can.”
So what’s going on?
Pictures are hashed which creates a unique code for an image. The hash is compared with a database of known child abuse images and, if they match, details are passed to the NCMEC (or, if you’re in Britain, the Internet Watch Foundation, who Google actually give funding to). Then, a trained expert looks at the case and decides whether or not to pass it on to the police.
AOL also employ a similar system and they caught someone sharing illegal images last year.
The moral quandary is that, while the capture of child abusers is absolutely good and noble, Google and others are sifting through everyone’s correspondence and repacking it for advertisers. With Google’s buying of Nest, some people even think that they’ll be able to spy on you via your thermostat (a bit like the Piers Brosnan robot house in The Simpsons).
So what’s the trade off? If you’re not doing anything wrong, should people be scanning your emails? Do you not mind because child abusers can be caught? Is this case being crowed about in a bid to try and distract users from something a bit dodgy going on? Or do we just accept it because this is how the internet works?
Sounds dodgy doesn’t it? How can a government do something like that? Well, Cameron & Co. have wheeled out the usual excuse of terrorism. See, if the government can snoop on everyone, that’ll stop someone from listening to God and blowing themselves up.
According to Cameron, these fast-tracked measures are absolutely necessary to defend our national security against the threat from Iraq and Syria. If we don’t, the consequences are “grave.” This move is a response to a ruling by the European Court of Justice which struck down regulations that allowed communications companies from storing data for police use for a year. Downing Street reckons that we’re all doomed if phone and internet companies start deleting these records.
“It is the first duty of government to protect our national security and to act quickly when that security is compromised,” David Cameron said. “As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe. The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK. No government introduces fast track legislation lightly. But the consequences of not acting are grave.”
“I want to be very clear that we are not introducing new powers or capabilities – that is not for this Parliament. This is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe.”
Nick Clegg, a man hired to wander around Whitehall to say ‘does anything need doing? No? Okay. Fancy a pint after? You’re busy? Never mind then’, said these emergency laws “will not be used as an excuse for more powers, or for a ‘snooper’s charter’.”
“Liberty and security must go hand in hand. We can’t enjoy our freedom if we’re unable to keep ourselves safe.”
Tom Watson, meanwhile, isn’t impressed and said on the radio this morning that this is a “stitch up” that denies MPs the chance to be able to scrutinise the legislation: ”This is a secret deal between party leaders. There hasn’t been a bill published, we find out this morning when Parliament is on a one-line whip and MPs are in their constituencies that next week they will railroad through emergency legislation.”
“If you are an MP, you probably shouldn’t bother turning up for work next week because what you think doesn’t really matter. They are ramping up the rhetoric on it but no one in civic society has a chance to form a view on this or lobby their MP or talk to them about it. I understand that Labour’s shadow cabinet is seeing it this morning. They’ve not had a chance to think about it yet.”
Cue: If you’re not doing anything wrong, it doesn’t matter arguments.
They have revealed that governments around the world are using secret wires to listen-in on phone conversations over their networks.
In the 29 countries where Vodafone operate, governments are using wires connected directly (and permanently) to its network so they can spy on people in real-time, while also tracking the location of individuals. Basically, what Vodafone have said, is that some countries don’t have to make an interception request to spy on people.
This news was revealed ahead of Vodafone publishing a Law Enforcement Disclosure Report.
In a number of countries where Vodafone do their business, the law says that mobile operators have to install direct-access wires and if they don’t, the law are allowed to install them.
It seems that this wouldn’t be legal in the UK (as spies need warrants), however, the law does “allow indiscriminate collection of information on an unidentified number of targets”.
The marvellously named Stephen Deadman from Vodafone said: “We need to debate how we are balancing the needs of law enforcement with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens. The ideal is we get a much more informed debate going, and we do all of that without putting our colleagues in danger.”
Vodafone are blowing the whistle on all this because they want to see an end to direct-access wires.
Uncharacteristically nice from Vodafone, right? Maybe they’re hoping all this will make everyone forget about their taxes that made everyone so angry?