Tag Archives | encryption

A Hacker Artist Sent the NSA an ‘Uncrackable’ Encrypted Mixtape

The audio cassette greatly increased the distr...

The audio cassette greatly increased the distribution of bootleg recordings in the 1980s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (GNU)

Math evens the playing field and assists in sticking it to the man.

via Motherboard

In late May, hacker artist David Huerta, co-organizer of Art Hack Day and Cryptoparty, sent the NSA one hell of a snail mail. Huerta built a DIY encrypted mixtape using an Arduino board and a transparent acrylic case, containing a “soundtrack for the modern surveillance state.” It’s a mixtape the NSA won’t be able to listen to because of the power of private key-based cryptography.

Originally, Huerta wanted to make a traditional mixtape and share it with friends and co-workers. But, without a cassette recorder, he didn’t get very far. That’s when his DIY hacker artist instincts kicked in, and he started building the encrypted mixtape at NYC Resistor.

“I made my own version of a mixtape with an Arduino and wave shield sandwiched in between two laser-etched pieces of transparent acrylic,” he wrote. “The use of a giant-ass Arduino and wave shield was chosen since the (shitty) 44KHz wave file format gave it roughly the same audio quality I figured a wiretapped AT&T phone conversation would have.”

Huerta settled on the transparent acrylic cassette casing as a symbolic gesture of transparency.

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FreedomPop’s Anonymous, Encrypted “Privacy Phone” Service

PIC: FreedomPop(C)

PIC: FreedomPop(C)

Forgive me if I’m a little bit cynical at this point about any company claiming to offer anonymous phone service. However, if it’s all on the up and up – and presuming that the NSA and their associated goons can’t render its “privacy” claims null and void – FreedomPop’s phone could be useful. You can pay for your service with BitCoins, too.

Via The Next Web:

Budget carrier FreedomPop today announced a new Privacy Phone service that attempts to offer secure and anonymous voice, text and data communications.

Jokingly referred to as the “Snowden phone,” FreedomPop’s latest offering is based on a Samsung Galaxy S II. Voice and text will run over 128-bit encryption, while data is funneled through a pre-installed VPN. In an extra touch of security, you’ll be able to pay for the phone in bitcoin in order to keep the transaction anonymous. FreedomPop also says you can change your number whenever you want.

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NSA Trying To Build Quantum Computer That Could Break All Forms Of Encryption

quantum computingTrying to maintain your privacy? Consider just giving up. The Washington Post reports:

In room-size metal boxes ­secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.

The development of a quantum computer has long been a goal of many in the scientific community. With such technology, all current forms of public key encryption would be broken, including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to protect state secrets.

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Tomorrow’s Surveillance: Everyone, Everywhere, All The Time

arnold3

Will the recent revisiting acknowledgement of our dwindled privacy make encryption products more user friendly? Is the hacker witch-hunt a symptom of a powerful group hedging it’s bets? Tech Crunch breaks it down.

Everyone is worried about the wrong things. Since Edward Snowden exposed the incipient NSA panopticon, the civil libertarians are worried that their Internet conversations and phone metadata are being tracked; the national-security conservatives claim to be worried that terrorists will start hiding their tracks; but both sides should really be worried about different things entirely.

Online surveillance is the one kind that can actually be stopped. One interesting thing we learned from Snowden: “Encryption works.” Right now almost all Internet traffic is completely unencrypted, or badly encrypted, or only encrypted until it reaches the first set of servers, or your host encrypts all data with the same key. But these are all, in theory, solvable problems.

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How Encryption Works To Protect Your Email, IM and Phone Calls

Public-key-crypto-1“One interesting thing we learned from Snowden: ‘Encryption works,’” writes Jon Evans, explaining your various options for encrypting email, instant messaging and phone calls at Techcrunch:

Everyone is worried about the wrong things. Since Edward Snowden exposed the incipient NSA panopticon, the civil libertarians are worried that their Internet conversations and phone metadata are being tracked; the national-security conservatives claim to be worried that terrorists will start hiding their tracks; but both sides should really be worried about different things entirely.

Online surveillance is the one kind that can actually be stopped. One interesting thing we learned from Snowden: “Encryption works.” Right now almost all Internet traffic is completely unencrypted, or badly encrypted, or only encrypted until it reaches the first set of servers, or your host encrypts all data with the same key. But these are all, in theory, solvable problems.

If we don’t want governments (or anyone else) spying on our Internet traffic and our phone conversations, then we can stop them from doing so.

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Using Anonymity Service Or Encrypted Email Makes NSA Likely To Store Your Data

encrypted emailAttempts to protect your privacy are red flags to the NSA, Ars Technica reports:

Using online anonymity services such as Tor or sending encrypted e-mail and instant messages are grounds for US-based communications to be retained by the National Security Agency even when they’re collected inadvertently, according to a secret government document published Thursday, titled Minimization Procedures Used by the National Security Agency in Connection with Acquisitions of Foreign Intelligence.

While the documents make clear that data collection and interception must cease immediately once it’s determined a target is within the US, they still provide analysts with a fair amount of leeway. For instance, a person whose physical location is unknown—which more often than not is the case when someone uses anonymity software from the Tor Project—”will not be treated as a United States person, unless such person can be positively identified as such.”

And in the event that an intercepted communication is later deemed to be from a US person, the requirement to promptly destroy the material may be suspended in a variety of circumstances.

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