This is how you encrypt your entire life

encryption

Man in the middle attacks. Social engineering. Large scale data breaches. Government surveillance. Device theft. Those are just some of the threats standing in your way as you try to carry on a safe digital life.

APTs. Three letter agencies. Script kiddies. State-sponsored hackers. Cybercrime rings. Data-hungry corporations. Jealous coworkers. Disgruntled employees.

And those are just some of the sources that those threats might come from.

The point is, as more of our lives become digitized and stored on computers and online servers, our data becomes more valuable and makes us more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Continue reading

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What is Full-Disk Encryption (FDE)?

Full-Disk Encryption

If you think someone without your desktop login won’t be able to access your computer’s files, think again. Anyone with mediocre IT skills can take your your hard disk, plug it as a secondary drive to another computer, and extract your files.

So how can you protect your files from hackers?

One option would be to encrypt your sensitive files manually or avoid storing them on your computer altogether and lock them away in a safe cloud. An alternative is to use Full-Disk Encryption (FDE), a technique that scrambles everything stored on your computer and makes it only accessible to the person with the decryption key. Continue reading

How to protect yourself against WhatsApp’s non-present backdoor

Secure messaging app

In a controversial Friday 13th scoop, The Guardian unveiled a backdoor in WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook that has over 1 billion users and touts having unbreakable security.

Within a few hours of the Guardian report, the claim was debunked by other outlets, including this detailed piece in Gizmodo. While it is now clear that the backdoor is actually not a backdoor but a natural functionality of the messaging app, here’s what you need to know and what you can do to protect yourself from potential security mishaps. Continue reading

What is secure messaging?

Secure messaging app

We rely increasingly on messaging apps to carry out our daily communications, whether for personal use or to do business. And there are literally tons of them on the internet and app stores, each sporting different features and social reach.

Having messaging apps have become an inherent part of our lives, we often use them to exchange sensitive information without regard to how capable they are of keeping that information secure. With messaging apps, we share personal information and photos, or report on sensitive issues in countries where the internet is strictly controlled and monitored by autocratic regimes.

So just how secure and trustworthy is your favorite messaging app? Here are four criteria that will help you decide. Continue reading

How PGP can protect you against email surveillance

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News broke last week that Yahoo has allowed intelligence agencies to scan user emails. This comes at a very bad time for Yahoo, right on the heels of its 500 million user account data breach—made public earlier this month—and while the company is trying to be acquired Verizon for the meager price of $4.8 billion.

Other tech giants immediately denied having had similar cooperation with government agencies in the wake of the Yahoo leak, though they all have a track record of wholesaling their data to government agencies under the NSA’s PRISM program. Continue reading

How two students wish to improve consumer privacy

Enigma machine - encryption

Despite the fact that the latest round of the decades-old Crypto Wars has been relatively silent for a few months, there’s still much doubt over how the future of data privacy will unfold. Government agencies continue to push for more “transparency” on the part of tech firms, which boils down to baking backdoors into their products that would allow the feds to pry into encrypted communication. Continue reading

What is IoT security?

Internet_of_Things

Guest post by Ken Tola

There are many definitions in our lives that appear to be commonsense but are difficult to define when inspected a little bit closer. Self-consciousness is a great one, as is being successful. In the IT world, by far the hardest concept to define is “security.”

Security means safety. But what does that mean? Well, safety translates into protection, but protection from what? The answer lies in with the concerns of the person requiring security. For instance, running high-end encryption and next-generation network intrusion protection does little to help the person worrying about physical theft of their equipment. Continue reading