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

How Dutch Police Decrypted BlackBerry PGP Messages For Criminal Investigation

How Dutch Police Decrypted BlackBerry PGP Messages For Criminal Investigation

March 10, 2017Swati Khandelwal
The Dutch police have managed to decrypt a number of PGP-encrypted messages sent by criminals using their custom security-focused PGP BlackBerry phones and identified several criminals in an ongoing investigation. PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, an open source end-to-end encryption standard that can be used to cryptographically sign emails, files, documents, or entire disk partitions in order to protect them from being spied on. You'll be surprised to know how the police actually decrypted those PGP messages. In April last year, the Dutch Police arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of money laundering and involvement in selling customized BlackBerry Phones with the secure PGP-encrypted network to criminals that were involved in organized crimes. At the time, the police also seized a server belonging to Ennetcom, the company owned by Danny Manupassa, which contains data of end-to-end encrypted communications belong to a large number of criminal groups. Later, in Januar
Signal Messaging App Rolls Out Encrypted Video Calling

Signal Messaging App Rolls Out Encrypted Video Calling

February 14, 2017Swati Khandelwal
WhatsApp and Facebook have so far the largest end-to-end encrypted video calling network of all, but now another popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app recommended by whistleblower Edward Snowden is ready to give them a really tough competition. The Signal app, which is widely considered the most secure of all other encrypted messaging apps, released video calling feature on Tuesday for both Android and iOS in a new update. Developed by open source software group Open Whisper System, Signal is a free and open source messaging application specially designed for Android and iOS users to make secure and encrypted messages and voice calls. Even the Signal Protocol powers the end-to-end encryption built into WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo's Incognito mode as well. Signal has already been providing fully end-to-end encrypted chat and voice calling features, but the newly added feature will make it even easier for privacy conscious people to convey their inf
Lavabit — Encrypted Email Service Once Used by Snowden, Is Back

Lavabit — Encrypted Email Service Once Used by Snowden, Is Back

January 21, 2017Mohit Kumar
Texas-based Encrypted Email Service ' Lavabit ,' that was forced to shut down in 2013 after not complying with a court order demanding access to SSL keys to snoop on Edward Snowden's emails , is relaunching on Friday. Lavabit CEO Ladar Levison had custody of the service's SSL encryption key that could have helped the government obtain Snowden's password. Although the FBI insisted it was only after Snowden's account, that was the key to the kingdom that would have helped the FBI agents obtain other users' credentials as well. But rather than complying with the federal request that could compromise the communications of all of its customers, Levison preferred to shut down his encrypted email service, leaving its 410,000 users unable to access their email accounts. Now, Levison has announced that he is reviving Lavabit with a new architecture that fixes the SSL problem — which according to him, was the biggest threat — and includes other privacy-enhancin
Explained — What's Up With the WhatsApp 'Backdoor' Story?

Explained — What's Up With the WhatsApp 'Backdoor' Story?

January 14, 2017Mohit Kumar
What is a backdoor? By definition: "Backdoor is a feature or defect of a computer system that allows surreptitious unauthorized access to data, " either the backdoor is in encryption algorithm, a server or in an implementation, and doesn't matter whether it has previously been used or not. Yesterday, we published a story based on findings reported by security researcher Tobias Boelter that suggests WhatsApp has a backdoor that "could allow" an attacker, and of course the company itself, to intercept your encrypted communication. The story involving the world's largest secure messaging platform that has over a billion users worldwide went viral in few hours, attracting reactions from security experts, WhatsApp team, and Open Whisper Systems, who partnered with Facebook to implement end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp. Note: I would request readers to read complete article before reaching out for a conclusion. And also, suggestions and opinions are
WhatsApp Backdoor allows Hackers to Intercept and Read Your Encrypted Messages

WhatsApp Backdoor allows Hackers to Intercept and Read Your Encrypted Messages

January 13, 2017Mohit Kumar
Important Update — Most Security Experts argued, " It's not a backdoor, rather it's a feature ," but none of them denied the fact that, if required, WhatsApp or a hacker can intercept your end-to-end encrypted chats. Read detailed explanation on arguments in my latest article. Most people believe that end-to-end encryption is the ultimate way to protect your secret communication from snooping, and it does, but it can be intercepted if not implemented correctly. After introducing " end-to-end encryption by default " last year, WhatsApp has become the world's largest secure messaging platform with over a billion users worldwide. But if you think your conversations are completely secure in a way that no one, not even Facebook, the company that owned WhatsApp, can intercept your messages then you are highly mistaken, just like most of us and it's not a new concept. Here's the kick: End-to-end encrypted messaging service, such as WhatsApp and Te
Facebook agrees to Stop using UK Users' WhatsApp Data for Targeted Ads

Facebook agrees to Stop using UK Users' WhatsApp Data for Targeted Ads

November 08, 2016Swati Khandelwal
In August, Facebook introduced a hugely controversial data sharing plan to start harvesting data from its WhatsApp messaging app from September 25 for delivering more relevant ads on the social network. Many users were not happy with the move, because there was no real way of opting out from the data sharing – WhatsApp users could only do so within a short period – and even if users did opt out then, some data would still be shared. Eventually, some countries like Britain stood up and opposed the decision. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) of the United Kingdom has asked Facebook and WhatsApp to better explain the changes to its customers in the U.K. And if they don't, the ICO could hand out a heavy fine. What's the good news? In response, the social media giant has agreed to "pause" sharing of data, including their phone numbers, between WhatsApp and Facebook in Britain to target advertisements on its core social network. "We have
WhatsApp Video Calling for Android Launched

WhatsApp Video Calling for Android Launched

October 25, 2016Swati Khandelwal
WhatsApp is, no doubt, the largest end-to-end encrypted messaging network that allows over billion of its users to send messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, and calls that are secure from falling into the wrong hands. And now it seems like WhatsApp is rolling out a much-awaited feature for the new beta versions of its Android app: Video Calling . New beta version 2.16.318 of WhatsApp brings the ability for users to conduct free video calls, though it is not clear, at this moment, whether the Video calling feature of WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption. In order to activate video calls, you simply need to pull up a contact in the WhatsApp app, tap on the call icon and choose "Video Call." You can also go directly to the Calls tab, to begin with the option. The Video calls will only work if both the caller as well as the receiver have the same beta build of WhatsApp that supports the feature. If not, you will be notified of an error message that
How to Start Secret Conversations on Facebook Messenger

How to Start Secret Conversations on Facebook Messenger

October 06, 2016Swati Khandelwal
If you are looking for ways to start a secret conversation on Facebook Messenger with your friends, then you are at the right place. In this article, I am going to tell you about Facebook Messenger's new end-to-end encrypted chat feature, dubbed " Secret Conversations ," but before that, know why do you need your chats to be end-to-end encrypted? Your online privacy is under threat not only from online marketers and hackers but also from governments. Just yesterday, it was revealed that Yahoo secretly built hacking tool to scan all of its customers' incoming emails for US intelligence officials. So, to hide your personal life online from prying eyes, you need end-to-end encryption that allows you to send and receive messages in a way that no one, including the feds with a warrant, hackers and not even the company itself, can intercept or read them. Last year, WhatsApp became the largest end-to-end encrypted messaging network in history by rolling out anoth
Signal is Most Secure Messenger, 'Useless Data' Obtained by FBI Proves It All

Signal is Most Secure Messenger, 'Useless Data' Obtained by FBI Proves It All

October 04, 2016Mohit Kumar
Do you trust your messaging app even though it uses end-to-end encryption? As I previously said end-to-end encryption doesn't mean that your messages are secure enough to hide your trace. It's because most of the messaging apps still record and store a lot of metadata on your calls and messages that could reveal some of your personal information including dates and durations of communication, as well as the participants' phone numbers. Apple's iMessage app is the most recent and best example of this scenario. Just recently it was reported that the company stores a lot of information about its end-to-end encrypted iMessage, that could reveal your contacts and location, and even share this data with law enforcement via court orders. But if you are using open source end-to-end encrypted Signal   app, you are on the safer side. Trust me! As we previously reported that the Signal app, which is widely considered the most secure of all other encrypted messaging a
Using 'Signal' for Encrypted Chats? You Shouldn't Skip Its Next Update

Using 'Signal' for Encrypted Chats? You Shouldn't Skip Its Next Update

September 16, 2016Mohit Kumar
Two Researchers have discovered a couple of vulnerabilities in Signal , the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app recommended by whistleblower Edward Snowden. One of those vulnerabilities could allow potential attackers to add random data to the attachments of encrypted messages sent by Android users, while another bug could allow hackers to remotely crash vulnerable devices. The vulnerabilities have just been patched, but the updated version of Signal is yet available on the Github open source repository, and not on the Google's official Play Store for Android apps, leaving millions of privacy conscious people vulnerable to attacks. That means, if you have installed Signal messaging app via Google Play Store, like other millions of Android users, you are still vulnerable to hackers. Developed by open source software group Open Whisper System, Signal is a free and open source messaging application specifically designed for Android and iOS users to make secure and e
Telegram Hacked? Turn ON Important Security Settings to Secure your Private Chats

Telegram Hacked? Turn ON Important Security Settings to Secure your Private Chats

August 03, 2016Swati Khandelwal
We have heard a lot about data breaches nowadays. And if you think that switching to an encrypted messaging service may secure you and your data, then you may be wrong. No good deed today can help you protect yourself completely. Reuters and several media outlets are reporting that the phone numbers of 15 Million users in Iran and more than a dozen accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service have been compromised by Iranian hackers exploiting an SMS text message flaw. Telegram is a messaging app " with a focus on security " that promotes itself as an ultra secure instant messaging system as all data is end-to-end encrypted. The service claims to have 100 Million active subscribers. According to research conducted by two security researchers, Collin Anderson and Claudio Guarnieri, this attack has threatened the communications of activists, journalists and other people in Iran, where around 20 Million people use Telegram. The incident is even said to be the
Brazil Freezes $11.7 Million of Facebook Funds for Not Complying with Court Orders

Brazil Freezes $11.7 Million of Facebook Funds for Not Complying with Court Orders

July 29, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Facebook's legal war with Brazilian government seems to be never-ending. Facebook-owned cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp has already been blocked a total of three times in Brazil since December for failing to comply with a court order asking the company to access WhatsApp data under criminal investigation. But, now the Brazilian government has taken an even tougher step. On Wednesday, the public federal prosecutor in the Brazilian state of Amazonas said the court froze 38 Million real ( US $11.7 Million ) of funds held in Facebook's bank account, Reuters reports . The prosecutor has said that the decision to freeze Facebook funds was made after the social media giant failed to comply with the court order to hand over data of WhatsApp users who are under criminal investigation. Since WhatsApp communications are end-to-end encrypted , even the company would not be able to access any message exchanged between users. Facebook representatives weren't imme
Facebook Messenger adds End-to-End Encryption (Optional) for Secret Conversations

Facebook Messenger adds End-to-End Encryption (Optional) for Secret Conversations

July 08, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Facebook has begun rolling out end-to-end encryption for its Messenger app, thus making its users' conversations completely private. The end-to-end encryption feature, dubbed " Secret Conversations ," will allow Messenger users to send and receive messages in a way that no one, including the FBI with a warrant, hackers and not even Facebook itself, can intercept them. But, this new feature will currently be available only to a small number of users for testing. So if you are one of those lucky users, you will be able to send end-to-end encrypted Secret Conversations through your Messenger app. Rest of the Messenger users will get Secret Conversations feature later this summer or in early fall, the company wrote in a Facebook newsroom post published today. Sounds exciting, right? But, there's a catch: Your conversations on Messenger will not be end-to-end encrypted by default, like what WhatsApp and Apple are offering. Instead, Facebook will require
Facebook Messenger App — Choose either End-to-End Encryption or Artificial Intelligence

Facebook Messenger App — Choose either End-to-End Encryption or Artificial Intelligence

June 03, 2016Mohit Kumar
Facebook is set to introduce end-to-end encryption for its Messenger app , allowing more than its 900 Million users to send and receive messages that can not be read or intercepted by law enforcement or even the social network itself. However, it's not the kind of end-to-end encrypted chat feature provided by Apple or WhatsApp in which all your conversation are entirely encrypted by default. Instead, the social networking giant will offer an end-to-end encrypted chat mode in Messenger as opt-in, just like Google's Allo smart chat app that provides encrypted chat feature only if users opt for it. Privacy advocates criticized Google for adding its ' incognito ' encrypted chat mode as an opt-in feature, rather than offering end-to-end encryption by default. Now, Facebook Messenger will roll out the same choice for its users in the next few months, when the company will roll out this new encrypted chat mode in Messenger as an opt-in feature, reports  The Guardian.
Iran orders all Messaging Apps to store its citizens' data within Country

Iran orders all Messaging Apps to store its citizens' data within Country

May 30, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Last year, Iran blocked Telegram and many other social networks after their founders refused to help Iranian authorities to spy on their citizens. Now it looks like Iranian government wants tighter controls on all foreign messaging and social media apps operating in the country that will give the authorities a wider ability to monitor and censor its people. All foreign messaging and social media apps operating in Iran have one year to move 'data and activity' associated with Iranian citizens onto servers in Iran, Reuters reported . In order to comply with the new regulations, the companies would need to set up data centers in Iran within one year, but apps may lose a larger number of users by moving data onto Iranian servers. However, transferring data to Iran servers might not be enough, as some of the most popular messaging services like WhatsApp , Apple iMessage , and Telegram are offering end-to-end encrypted communication i.e. nobody in between, not even Whats
WhatsApp launches Desktop Software for Windows and Mac Users

WhatsApp launches Desktop Software for Windows and Mac Users

May 11, 2016Wang Wei
The most popular messaging app WhatsApp now has a fully functional desktop app – both for Mac as well as Windows platform. Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging software has been a mobile-only messaging platform forever, but from Tuesday, the company is offering you its desktop application for both Windows and OS X. Few months back, WhatsApp launched a Web client that can be run through your browser to use WhatsApp on your desktop, but now users running Windows 8 or Mac OS 10.9 and above can use the new desktop app that mirrors WhatsApp messages from a user's mobile device. According to the company's blog post , the WhatsApp desktop app is similar to WhatsApp Web with synchronized conversations and messages Since WhatsApp desktop app is native for both Windows and OS X platform, it can support desktop notifications and keyboard shortcuts. WhatsApp has been rising at an extraordinary pace recently. The service has over 1 Billion monthly active users. At the beginning
Pro-ISIS Hackers release 'Kill List' Of 43 United States Officials

Pro-ISIS Hackers release 'Kill List' Of 43 United States Officials

April 26, 2016Wang Wei
In Brief A group of pro-ISIS hackers calling themselves the United Cyber Caliphate (UCC) has issued a "Kill List" containing the names of dozens of U.S. government personnel at the Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and several other federal agencies. Meanwhile, the US military's Cyber Command has announced to launch its first attack against ISIS' digital infrastructure in an effort to disrupt the terrorist's communications and other core functions. The announcement came earlier this week when President Barack Obama discussed the war on ISIS ( Islamic State ) in Hanover, Germany, where he met with world leaders and represented this new cyber initiative, according to the sources from New York Times. On the other side, the Kill List was distributed Monday by the United Cyber Caliphate (UCC) hackers over the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app Telegram through which the ISIS communicate with their followers and spread terro
​DARPA Wants To Build Ultra Secure Messaging App for US Military

​DARPA Wants To Build Ultra Secure Messaging App for US Military

April 23, 2016Mohit Kumar
Just last month, DARPA launched a project dubbed "Improv," inviting hackers to transform simple household appliances into deadly weapons . Now, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is finding someone in the private sector to develop a hacker-proof " secure messaging and transaction platform " for the U.S. military. Darpa wants researchers to create a secure messaging and transaction platform that should be accessible via the web browser or standalone native application. The secure messaging app should " separate the message creation, from the transfer (transport) and reception of the message using a decentralized messaging backbone to allow anyone anywhere the ability to send a secure message or conduct other transactions across multiple channels traceable in a decentralized ledger, " agency's  notice explains. In simple words, DARPA aims to create a secure messaging service that not only implements the standard encryption and se
Viber adds End-to-End Encryption and PIN protected Hidden Chats features

Viber adds End-to-End Encryption and PIN protected Hidden Chats features

April 19, 2016Mohit Kumar
In Brief Viber, the popular mobile messaging app announced Tuesday that it has added full end-to-end encryption for video, voice and text message services for its millions of users. Here, the end-to-end encryption means only you and the person you are communicating with can read the content, and nobody in between, not even the company and if court orders company to provide user data, they will get only the heaps of encrypted data. Viber is the latest messaging platform to join WhatsApp , Telegram , and Apple iMessage , who strengthened their default privacy features in recent times. Founded in 2010 and acquired by Japanese e-commerce titan Rakuten for $900 Million in 2014, Viber is currently being used by more than 700 Million users globally across Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and desktop, the company claimed in a blog post published today. The move comes just a couple of weeks after Facebook-owned Whatsapp messaging app implemented full end-to-end encryption by default
FBI claims its iPhone Hacking Tool can't Unlock iPhone 5S, 6S and 6S Plus

FBI claims its iPhone Hacking Tool can't Unlock iPhone 5S, 6S and 6S Plus

April 07, 2016Mohit Kumar
Although everyone, including Apple, was worried about the iPhone hacking tool used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to access data on iPhone belonged to the San Bernardino shooter, the FBI director said the hack does not work on an iPhone 5S or later. FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that the agency was able to avoid a prolonged legal battle with Apple by buying a tool from a private source to hack into terrorist Syed Farook's iPhone 5C. Apple was engaged in a legal battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a month over a court order that forces the company to write new software, which could disable passcode protection on Farook's iPhone to help them access data on it. Apple refused to comply with the order, so the FBI worked with a third-party firm, most likely the Israeli mobile forensic firm Cellebrite, and was successfully able to access data on the locked iPhone used in the San Bernardino shooting incident last year. But speaking to the
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