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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: end-to-end encryption

MongoDB 4.2 Introduces End-to-End Field Level Encryption for Databases

MongoDB 4.2 Introduces End-to-End Field Level Encryption for Databases

June 20, 2019Swati Khandelwal
At its developer conference held earlier this week in New York, the MongoDB team announced the latest version of its database management software that includes a variety of advanced features, including Field Level Encryption, Distributed Transactions, and Wildcard Indexes. The newly introduced Field Level Encryption (FLE), which will be available in the upcoming MongoDB 4.2 release, is an end-to-end encryption feature that encrypts and decrypts sensitive users' data on the client-side, preventing hackers from accessing plaintext data even if the database instance left exposed online or the server itself gets compromised. Almost every website, app, and service on the Internet today usually encrypt (particularly "hashing") only users' passwords before storing them into the databases, but unfortunately left other sensitive information unencrypted, including users' online activity data and their personal information. Moreover, even if there is an encryption
Hacker Breaks Into French Government's New Secure Messaging App

Hacker Breaks Into French Government's New Secure Messaging App

April 19, 2019Swati Khandelwal
A white-hat hacker found a way to get into the French government's newly launched, secure encrypted messaging app that otherwise can only be accessed by officials and politicians with email accounts associated with the government identities. Dubbed " Tchap ," the end-to-end encrypted, open source messaging app has been created by the French government with an aim to keep their officials, parliamentarians and ministers data on servers inside the country over concerns that foreign agencies could use other services to spy on their communications. The Tchap app is built using the Riot client, an open source instant messaging software that implements self-hostable Matrix protocol for end-to-end encrypted communication. Yes, it's the same " Riot and Matrix " that was in the news earlier this week after an unknown hacker breaks into its servers and successfully stole unencrypted private messages, password hashes, access tokens, and GPG keys the project ma
Telegram Gained 3 Million New Users During WhatsApp, Facebook Outage

Telegram Gained 3 Million New Users During WhatsApp, Facebook Outage

March 14, 2019Mohit Kumar
WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram faced a widespread outage yesterday with users from around the world reporting issues with sending messages on WhatsApp and Messenger, posting feeds on Facebook and accessing other features on the three Facebook-owned platforms. While the outage was quite troubling both for the social media giant and its millions of users, guess who benefits the most out of the incident? TELEGRAM. Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular secure messaging platform Telegram, claims to have had a surge in sign-ups within the last 24 hours, at the time duration when its rival messaging services were facing downtime. "I see 3 million new users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours," Durov wrote on his Telegram channel. "Good. We have true privacy and unlimited space for everyone." Telegram is an excellent alternative to Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp services, offering users an optional end-to-end encrypted messaging feature,
Does WhatsApp Have A Privacy Bug That Could Expose Your Messages?

Does WhatsApp Have A Privacy Bug That Could Expose Your Messages?

January 11, 2019Mohit Kumar
In-short conclusion—Whatsapp service or its 45-days deletion policy doesn't seem to have a bug. For detailed logical explanation, please read below. An Amazon employee earlier today tweeted details about an incident that many suggest could be a sign of a huge privacy bug in the most popular end-to-end encrypted Whatsapp messaging app that could expose some of your secret messages under certain circumstances. According to Abby Fuller, she found some mysterious messages on WhatsApp, notably not associated with her contacts, immediately after she created a new account with the messaging app on her brand new phone using a new number for the very first time. Fuller believes that the mysteriously appeared content on her new account was the message history associated with the WhatsApp account of the previous owner of the same SIM/mobile number, which WhatsApp pushed to her phone. Since for WhatsApp, your phone number is your username and password is the OTP it sends to that n
Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Bill—Here's Everything You Need To Know

Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Bill—Here's Everything You Need To Know

December 07, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Australia's House of Representatives has finally passed the "Telecommunications Assistance and Access Bill 2018," also known as the Anti-Encryption Bill , on Thursday that would now allow law enforcement to force Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Signal, and other tech giants to help them access encrypted communications. The Australian government argues the new legislation is important for national security and an essential tool to help law enforcement and security agencies fight serious offenses such as crime, terrorist attacks, drug trafficking, smuggling, and sexual exploitation of children. Since the bill had support from both major parties (the Coalition and Labor), the upper house could vote in support of the Assistance and Access Bill to make it law, which is expected to come into effect immediately during the next session of parliament in early 2019. Although the new legislation does not properly clarify specifics around the potential power that the Assistance
Severe Bug Discovered in Signal Messaging App for Windows and Linux

Severe Bug Discovered in Signal Messaging App for Windows and Linux

May 11, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have discovered a severe vulnerability in the popular end-to-end encrypted Signal messaging app for Windows and Linux desktops which could allow remote attackers to execute malicious code on recipients system just by sending a message—without requiring any user interaction. Discovered by Alfredo Ortega, a software security consultant from Argentina, the vulnerability was announced on Twitter just a few hours ago with a proof-of-concept video, demonstrating how a javascript payload sent over Signal for desktop app successfully got executed on the recipient's system. Although technical details of the vulnerability have not been revealed as of now, the issue appears to be a remote code execution vulnerability in Signal or at least something very close to persistent cross-site scripting (XSS) which eventually could allow attackers to inject malicious code onto targeted Windows and Linux systems. "For the time being, we can only confirm the execution
Twitter is Testing End-to-End Encrypted Direct Messages

Twitter is Testing End-to-End Encrypted Direct Messages

May 08, 2018Mohit Kumar
Twitter has been adopting new trends at a snail's pace. But it's better to be late than never. Since 2013 people were speculating that Twitter will bring end-to-end encryption to its direct messages, and finally almost 5 years after the encryption era began, the company is now testing an end-to-end encrypted messaging on Twitter. Dubbed " Secret Conversation ," the feature has been spotted in the latest version of Android application package (APK) for Twitter by Jane Manchun Wong, a computer science student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. End-to-end encryption allows users to send and receive messages in a way that no one, be it an FBI agent with a warrant, hacker or even the service itself, can intercept them. However, it seems like the Secret Conversation feature has currently been available only to a small number of users for testing. So, if you are one of those lucky ones, you will be able to send end-to-end encrypted Secret Conversation thro
Microsoft Office 365 Gets Built-in Ransomware Protection and Enhanced Security Features

Microsoft Office 365 Gets Built-in Ransomware Protection and Enhanced Security Features

April 06, 2018Mohit Kumar
Ransomware has been around for a few years, but it has become an albatross around everyone's neck, targeting big businesses, hospitals, financial institutions and individuals worldwide and extorting millions of dollars. Last year, we saw some major ransomware outbreaks, including WannaCry  and  NotPetya , which wreaked havoc across the world, hitting hundreds of thousands of computers and business networks worldwide. From small to mid-range businesses, Microsoft Office 365 remains the most widely used and fastest-growing work office suite, so it's no surprise that it has become a primary target for viruses, ransomware, and phishing scams. In fact, most strains of ransomware target Microsoft productivity apps such as Word, Excel and encrypt sensitive data to hold the company hostage until the ransom is paid. Now, to combat such cyber attacks, Microsoft has announced some new security features for Office 365 that can help users mitigate the damage done by ransomware a
Skype Finally Adds End-to-End Encryption for Private Conversations

Skype Finally Adds End-to-End Encryption for Private Conversations

January 12, 2018Mohit Kumar
Good news for Skype users who are concerned about their privacy. Microsoft is collaborating with popular encrypted communication company Signal to bring end-to-end encryption support to Skype messenger. End-to-end encryption assured its users that no one, not even the company or server that transmits the data, can decrypt their messages. Signal Protocol is an open source cryptographic protocol that has become an industry-wide standard—which is used in  Facebook Messenger , Whatsapp , and Google Allo for secure messaging. Dubbed Private Conversations , the new feature which is about to be introduced in Skype will offer end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text, and multimedia messages like videos and audio files. "Skype Private Conversations give you enhanced security through end-to-end encryption with an additional layer of security for conversations between you and your friends and family," the company announced .  "Private Conversations can only be betwe
WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow 'Potential Attackers' to Spy On Encrypted Group Chats

WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow 'Potential Attackers' to Spy On Encrypted Group Chats

January 10, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A more dramatic revelation of 2018—an outsider can secretly eavesdrop on your private end-to-end encrypted group chats on WhatsApp and Signal messaging apps. Considering protection against three types of attackers—malicious user, network attacker, and malicious server—an end-to-end encryption protocol plays a vital role in securing instant messaging services. The primary purpose of having end-to-end encryption is to stop trusting the intermediate servers in such a way that no one, not even the company or the server that transmits the data, can decrypt your messages or abuse its centralized position to manipulate the service. In order words—assuming the worst-case scenario—a corrupt company employee should not be able to eavesdrop on the end-to-end encrypted communication by any mean. However, so far even the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging services, like WhatsApp, Threema and Signal, have not entirely achieved zero-knowledge system. Researchers from Ruhr-Universität
Buggy Microsoft Outlook Sending Encrypted S/MIME Emails With Plaintext Copy For Months

Buggy Microsoft Outlook Sending Encrypted S/MIME Emails With Plaintext Copy For Months

October 12, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Beware, If you are using S/MIME protocol over Microsoft Outlook to encrypt your email communication, you need to watch out. From at least last 6 months, your messages were being sent in both encrypted and unencrypted forms, exposing all your secret and sensitive communications to potential eavesdroppers. S/MIME, or Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, is an end-to-end encryption protocol—based on public-key cryptography and works just like SSL connections—that enables users to send digitally signed and encrypted messages. According to a security advisory published by SEC Consult earlier this week, a severe bug (CVE-2017-11776) in Microsoft Outlook email client causes S/MIME encrypted emails to be sent with their unencrypted versions attached. When Outlook users make use of S/MIME to encrypt their messages and format their emails as plain text, the vulnerability allows the seemingly encrypted emails to be sent in both encrypted as well as human-readable clear text f
 Microsoft Cortana Can Now Read Your Skype Messages to Make Chat Smarter

Microsoft Cortana Can Now Read Your Skype Messages to Make Chat Smarter

October 10, 2017Mohit Kumar
Microsoft today announced built-in support for Cortana—an artificial intelligence-powered smart assistant—in Skype messenger on Android as well as iOS devices. What purpose does it serve? Microsoft wants its AI-based smart assistance to understand your conversations and help you with quick suggestions, ideas and information right inside your chat window. "Cortana can also help you organize your day—no need to leave your conversations. Cortana can detect when you're talking about scheduling events or things you have to do and will recommend setting up a reminder, which you will receive on all your devices that have Cortana enabled," Skype said in a blog post . In other words, it typically means — Microsoft's Cortana can now read your private Skype conversations. Should You Worry About Your Privacy? Yes, Cortana needs continuous monitoring of your private chats in order to come up with useful suggestions such as movie bookings, travel plans, nearby restaura
China Bans WhatsApp Messenger

China Bans WhatsApp Messenger

September 26, 2017Wang Wei
Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has already been struggling for its existence in China ever since July when Chinese government blocked its users from sending photos and videos over the app. Now, it appears that China has largely blocked Facebook-owned WhatsApp in its latest step to tighten censorship as the country prepares for a major Communist Party gathering next month. Yes, WhatsApp no longer works in the country at all. China has a long history of blocking and limiting access to web services, especially social networks and Western-owned sites through its Great Firewall . The service currently blocks some 171 out of the world's leading websites, including Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many Google services in mainland China. And now, it is WhatsApp. Although it's unclear how long the messaging app may remain inaccessible in the country, according to Symbolic Software, a Paris-based research firm that monitors WhatsApp's situation in Chi
A Company Offers $500,000 For Secure Messaging Apps Zero-Day Exploits

A Company Offers $500,000 For Secure Messaging Apps Zero-Day Exploits

August 24, 2017Swati Khandelwal
How much does your privacy cost? It will soon be sold for half a Million US dollars. A controversial company specialises in acquiring and reselling zero-day exploits is ready to pay up to US$500,000 for working zero-day vulnerabilities targeting popular secure messenger applications, such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. Zerodium announced a new pricing structure on Wednesday, paying out $500,000 for fully functional remote code execution (RCE) and local privilege escalation (LPE) vulnerabilities in Signal, WhatsApp, iMessage, Viber, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Telegram. The payouts for all these secure messengers have been increased after tech companies introduced end-to-end encryption in their apps, making it more difficult for anyone to compromise their messaging platforms. The same payout is offered for remote code execution and local privilege escalation security flaws in default mobile email applications. Launched in 2015, Zerodium is a Washington, DC-based p
Telegram Agrees to Register With Russia to Avoid Ban, But Won't Share User Data

Telegram Agrees to Register With Russia to Avoid Ban, But Won't Share User Data

June 29, 2017Mohit Kumar
After being threatened with a ban in Russia , end-to-end encrypted Telegram messaging app has finally agreed to register with new Russian Data Protection Laws, but its founder has assured that the company will not comply to share users' confidential data at any cost. Russia's communications watchdog Roskomnadzor had recently threatened to block Telegram if the service did not hand over information required to put the app on an official government list of information distributors. The Russian government requirement came following terrorists' suicide bombings that killed 15 people in Saint Petersburg in April in which terrorists allegedly used the Telegram 's app to communicate and plot attacks. "There is one demand, and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram," said Alexander Zharov, head of Roskomnadzor.  "And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organizers
Russia Threatens to Ban Telegram Messaging App, Says It Was Used By Terrorists

Russia Threatens to Ban Telegram Messaging App, Says It Was Used By Terrorists

June 26, 2017Mohit Kumar
Russia has threatened to ban Telegram end-to-end encrypted messaging app, after Pavel Durov, its founder, refused to sign up to the country's new data protection laws. Russian intelligence service, the FSB, said on Monday that the terrorists that killed 15 people in Saint Petersburg in April had used the Telegram encrypted messaging service to plot their attacks. According to the new Russian Data Protection Laws, as of January 1, all foreign tech companies have been required to store the past six months' of the personal data of its citizens and encryption keys within the country; which the company has to share with the authorities on demand. "There is one demand, and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram," Alexander Zharov said, head of communications regulator Roskomnadzor (state communications watchdog). "And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organizers of d
European Parliament Proposes Ban On Encryption Backdoors

European Parliament Proposes Ban On Encryption Backdoors

June 19, 2017Mohit Kumar
Prime Minister Theresa May wants tech companies, like Facebook, Apple, and Google, to create controversial 'backdoors' for police, but even somewhere she knows that it's not that easy as it sounds. The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament has released a draft proposal [ PDF ] for new laws on privacy and electronic communications, recommending end-to-end (E2E) encryption on all communications and forbidding backdoors that offer access to law enforcement. "The protection of confidentiality of communications is also an essential condition for the respect of other related fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the protection of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of expression and information," the draft reads. Draft Says, Your Security is Our Top Priority According to the draft, EU citizens need more protection, not less and they need to know that the "confidentiality and safety" of their
Telegram Messenger Adds AI-powered Encrypted Voice Calls

Telegram Messenger Adds AI-powered Encrypted Voice Calls

March 31, 2017Mohit Kumar
Joining the line with rival chat apps WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and Signal, the Telegram instant messaging service has finally rolled out a much-awaited feature for the new beta versions of its Android app: Voice Calling . And what's interesting? Your calls will be secured by Emojis, and quality will be better using Artificial Intelligence. No doubt the company brought the audio calling feature quite late, but it's likely because of its focus on security — the voice calls on Telegram are by default based on the same end-to-end encryption methods as its Secret Chat mode to help users make secure calls. Unlike Signal or WhatsApp, Telegram does not support end-to-end encryption by default; instead, it offers a 'Secret Chat' mode, which users have to enable manually, to completely secure their chats from prying eyes. However, the voice calling feature in Telegram supports end-to-end encryption by default, enabling users to secure their chats in a way
UK Demands Encryption Backdoor As London Terrorist Used WhatsApp Before the Attack

UK Demands Encryption Backdoor As London Terrorist Used WhatsApp Before the Attack

March 27, 2017Mohit Kumar
The government has once again started asking for backdoor in encrypted services, arguing that it can not give enough security to its citizens because the terrorists are using encrypted apps to communicate and plot an attack. Following last week's terrorist attack in London, the UK government is accusing technology firms to give terrorists "a place to hide," saying Intelligence agencies must have access to encrypted messaging applications such as WhatsApp to prevent such attacks. According to authorities , the killer, Khalid Masood, 52, was active on WhatsApp messaging app just two minutes before he attacked Britain's Houses of Parliament in Westminster that killed four people. Here's what Amber Rudd, Britain's Home Secretary said while speaking at BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate
How One Photo Could Have Hacked Your WhatsApp and Telegram Accounts

How One Photo Could Have Hacked Your WhatsApp and Telegram Accounts

March 15, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Next time when someone sends you a photo of a cute cat or a hot chick on WhatsApp or Telegram then be careful before you click on the image to view — it might hack your account within seconds. A new security vulnerability has recently been patched by two popular end-to-end encrypted messaging services — WhatsApp and Telegram — that could have allowed hackers to completely take over user account just by having a user simply click on a picture. The hack only affected the browser-based versions of WhatsApp and Telegram, so users relying on the mobile apps are not vulnerable to the attack. According to Checkpoint security researchers, the vulnerability resided in the way both messaging services process images and multimedia files without verifying that they might have hidden malicious code inside. For exploiting the flaw, all an attacker needed to do was sending the malicious code hidden within an innocent-looking image. Once the victim clicked on the picture, the attacker coul
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