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Goodbye, Encryption; Hello, FOSS

Filed under
OSS

Few would deny that the world has changed since the National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program was revealed, and not for the better.

Here in the Linux blogosphere, FOSS fans have been mulling the implications ever since the unsettling news broke back in June, but just recently things have taken on an even darker cast.

Turns out not even encryption techniques can hold the NSA at bay, at least in general, leaving users of without much to defend them.

Now, vulnerability is -- or should be -- a familiar feeling to users of Windows, in particular. For those of us in Linux land, however, it comes as something of a shock. No wonder Slashdot blogger deepdive recently sought some clarification.

'Can One Still Sleep Soundly'?




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Security Leftovers

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  • Fedora 26 crypto policy Test Day today (2017-03-30)!
  • Open-source developers targeted in sophisticated malware attack
    For the past few months, developers who publish their code on GitHub have been targeted in an attack campaign that uses a little-known but potent cyberespionage malware. The attacks started in January and consisted of malicious emails specifically crafted to attract the attention of developers, such as requests for help with development projects and offers of payment for custom programming jobs. The emails had .gz attachments that contained Word documents with malicious macro code attached. If allowed to execute, the macro code executed a PowerShell script that reached out to a remote server and downloaded a malware program known as Dimnie.
  • A scramble at Cisco exposes uncomfortable truths about U.S. cyber defense
    When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disclosed earlier this month that his anti-secrecy group had obtained CIA tools for hacking into technology products made by U.S. companies, security engineers at Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) swung into action. The Wikileaks documents described how the Central Intelligence Agency had learned more than a year ago how to exploit flaws in Cisco's widely used Internet switches, which direct electronic traffic, to enable eavesdropping. Senior Cisco managers immediately reassigned staff from other projects to figure out how the CIA hacking tricks worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using the same methods, three employees told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
  • NTPsec: a Secure, Hardened NTP Implementation
    Network time synchronization—aligning your computer's clock to the same Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) that everyone else is using—is both necessary and a hard problem. Many internet protocols rely on being able to exchange UTC timestamps accurate to small tolerances, but the clock crystal in your computer drifts (its frequency varies by temperature), so it needs occasional adjustments. That's where life gets complicated. Sure, you can get another computer to tell you what time it thinks it is, but if you don't know how long that packet took to get to you, the report isn't very useful. On top of that, its clock might be broken—or lying. To get anywhere, you need to exchange packets with several computers that allow you to compare your notion of UTC with theirs, estimate network delays, apply statistical cluster analysis to the resulting inputs to get a plausible approximation of real UTC, and then adjust your local clock to it. Generally speaking, you can get sustained accuracy to on the close order of 10 milliseconds this way, although asymmetrical routing delays can make it much worse if you're in a bad neighborhood of the internet.
  • Zelda Coatings
    I assume that every permutation of scams will eventually be tried; it is interesting that the initial ones preyed on people's avarice and dishonesty: "I will transfer millions to your bank account, then you share with me" - with subsequent scams appealing to another demographic: "I want to donate a large sum to your religious charity" - to perhaps capture a more virtuous but still credulous lot. Where will it end ?

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