encryption posts on CNET - Page 11


Backing up is a snap with Snap Backup

Programs don't have to be fancy to be useful, and Snap Backup is proof of that. Its interface is plain and its features are basic, but we like it because it's an incredibly easy way to back up your files. And when you have a task that's so important -- yet so easy to forget about -- anything that helps you do it on a more regular basis is worth checking out.

Snap Backup has a simple interface that's easy to figure out. First, select the directories you want to back up. Next, select a destination … Read more

This Internet provider pledges to put your privacy first. Always.

Nicholas Merrill is planning to revolutionize online privacy with a concept as simple as it is ingenious: a telecommunications provider designed from its inception to shield its customers from surveillance.

Merrill, 39, who previously ran a New York-based Internet provider, told CNET that he's raising funds to launch a national "non-profit telecommunications provider dedicated to privacy, using ubiquitous encryption" that will sell mobile phone service and, for as little as $20 a month, Internet connectivity.

The ISP would not merely employ every technological means at its disposal, including encryption and limited logging, to protect its customers. It … Read more

OS X FileVault questions answered

Apple's FileVault technology is a method of automatically encrypting your files so you do not have to worry about data theft should your system be stolen. In its first iteration FileVault was just used to encrypt the user's home directory, but in OS X Lion Apple introduced a second-generation full-disk encryption scheme that has been dubbed FileVault 2.

Many people who are considering using FileVault 2 have been asking about questions such as whether or not the encryption is needed, and expressing concerns about its security.

Is FileVault needed? This is perhaps one of the most common questions … Read more

Secusmart offers encrypted calls for Android, BlackBerry

HANOVER, Germany--Wish you had one of those spy-movie scramblers the president uses to to keep snoopers from tapping into his calls?

At the CeBIT show here, Secusmart debuted a microSD card with a built-in processor that lets people do just that with ordinary smartphones. It plugs into phones with a microSD slot--yes, that means no iPhones--then encrypts voice and SMS communications.

The technology uses VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) to actually place the calls, which means it needs 3G or Wi-Fi connections, said Hans-Christoph Quelle, a managing director at the German company. With that connection, it provides real-time, full-duplex communications--in … Read more

Space station control codes on stolen NASA laptop

A laptop stolen from NASA last year contained command codes used to control the International Space Station, an internal investigation has found.

The laptop, which was not encrypted, was among dozens of mobile devices lost or stolen in recent years that contained sensitive information, the space agency's inspector general told Congress today in testimony highlighting NASA's security challenges.

"The March 2011 theft of an unencrypted NASA notebook computer resulted in the loss of the algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station," NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin said in written testimony (PDF). Another … Read more

Note to self: Encrypt data, memorize password

In a case that serves as a reminder to: a) use encryption, and b) memorize the encryption pass-phrase, an appeals court has ruled that people have a constitutional right not to be forced to decrypt data that potentially includes evidence that could be used to prosecute them in court.

The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination that prohibits authorities from forcing a suspect to reveal the combination to open a lock on a safe in an investigation also applies to the digital equivalent--data locked up with encryption, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Northern District of Florida ruled yesterday. … Read more

How to use VPN to defeat deep packet inspection

Imagine a technology that can stop spam and malware, identify and block illegal downloads, and allow ISPs to prioritize the data they transmit by content as well as by type. Sounds pretty good.

Now imagine a technology that gives network managers and governments the ability to monitor everything you do on the Internet, including reading and recording your e-mail and other digital communications, and tracking your every move on the Web.

Of course, it's the same technology--deep packet inspection by name. That's how governments around the world are able to spy on their citizens' online activities and control … Read more

Researchers find flaw in key generation with popular cryptography

A group of researchers has uncovered a flaw in the way public keys are generated using the RSA algorithm for encrypting sensitive online communications and transactions.

They found that a small fraction of public keys--27,000 out of a sample of about 7 million--had not been randomly generated as they should be. This means it would be possible for someone to figure out the secret prime numbers which were used to create the public key, according to The New York Times, which reported on the research today.

The research was led by James P. Hughes, an independent cryptology expert based … Read more

New tool cracks Apple iWork passwords

Apple offers a number of options for securing your data on a Mac, including enabling FileVault for whole disk encryption in Lion (or home folder encryption in prior versions of OS X), and encrypted disk images for securing collections of documents.

In addition, as with other software developers, Apple has included options to secure individual documents for some of its programs, such as those in its iWork productivity suite.

To do this in iWork, create or open a document in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, and then open the inspector window by clicking its icon in the toolbar or by pressing … Read more

Security concerns on Apple's FileVault decryption via FireWire

Yesterday's news of Passware's ability to decrypt FileVault-encrypted Macs in under an hour may have some people concerned about what this means for Mac security. After all, the purpose of encryption is to keep people from easily accessing the data on your drive, and yet Passware shows that in the hands of a capable person, your drive's encrypted contents might quite easily be uncovered.

Security experts speculate that the 128-bit XTS-AESW encryption used in FileVault would take millions of years to crack with a brute-force approach, so while Passware's approach clearly does not employ a brute-force … Read more