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[News] Police Needs Back Doors in Proprietary Software

  • Subject: [News] Police Needs Back Doors in Proprietary Software
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 22:46:12 +0000
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: Netscape / schestowitz.com
  • User-agent: KNode/0.10.4
Skype encryption stumps police

,----[ Quote ]
| These searches are especially important in cases where the suspects are aware 
| that their internet traffic and phone calls may be monitored and choose to 
| store sensitive information directly on their hard drives without emailing 
| it.   
| Spyware computer searches are illegal in Germany, where people are sensitive 
| about police surveillance due to the history of the Nazis' Gestapo secret 
| police and the former East German Stasi.  


Expert scares world with VoIP hacking proof

,----[ Quote ]
| An expert has released a proof-of-concept program to show how easy it would 
| be for criminals to eavesdrop on the VoIP-based phone calls of any company 
| using the technology.   



Beware of Skype

,----[ Quote ]
| The Skype network has been a concern of government intelligence agencies 
| since its inception because it provides a worldwide network of encrypted VoIP 
| calls to potential “terrorists”. So how coincidental is it that 10 days after 
| Bush signs into law a Bill giving the government authority to track foreign 
| calls that go through U.S. networks that Skype, for the first time in its 
| existence, undergoes a massive worldwide outage?     
| [...]
| But there are FOSS alternatives to Skype people really should start 
| considering now. One is the OpenWengo Project. Businesses, and even 
| individuals, should also consider setting up their own Asterisk servers with 
| encryption.   


Why proprietary code is bad for security

,----[ Quote ]
| Tho Skype is using an encrypted protocol, it’s still their own, non-disclosed 
| code and property. So we don’t know what it contains. 
| [...]
| It’s time to stop accepting that we are the bad guys, and to stop consuming 
| things we just don’t understand (and cannot, because they are proprietary,  
| closed-source systems). 
| Say no to companies, or even governments who treat you like this. Start using 
| open sourced products and protocols wherever you can. Even if you could 
| still never understand the code used in these systems, there are still lots 
| of people who can, and who will examine it. The magic word here is “peer 
| review” - your friend or buddy or neighbour may be able to understand all 
| that, and to help. No, not with Skype or Windows or any black box from Cisco.      


Did NSA Put a Secret Backdoor in New Encryption Standard?

,----[ Quote ] 
| Which is why you should worry about a new random-number standard that 
| includes an algorithm that is slow, badly designed and just might contain a 
| backdoor for the National Security Agency.  


,----[ Quote ]
| "Is this a good idea or not? For the first time, the giant software maker 
| is acknowledging the help of the secretive agency, better known for
| eavesdropping on foreign officials and, more recently, U.S. citizens as 
| part of the Bush..."


Microsoft could be teaching police to hack Vista

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft may begin training the police in ways to break the
| encryption built into its forthcoming Vista operating system.


UK holds Microsoft security talks

,----[ Quote ]
| "UK officials are talking to Microsoft over fears the new version of 
| Windows could make it harder for police to read suspects' computer files."


For Windows Vista Security, Microsoft Called in Pros

,----[ Quote ]
| The NSA also declined to be specific but said it used two groups — a “red 
| team” and a “blue team” — to test Vista’s security. The red team, for 
| instance, posed as “the determined, technically competent adversary” to 
| disrupt, corrupt or steal information. “They pretend to be bad guys,” Sager 
| said. The blue team helped Defense Department system administrators with 
| Vista’s configuration .     
| Microsoft said this is not the first time it has sought help from the NSA. 
| For about four years, Microsoft has tapped the spy agency for security 
| expertise in reviewing its operating systems, including the Windows XP 
| consumer version and the Windows Server 2003 for corporate customers.   


Microsoft patents the mother of all adware systems

,----[ Quote ]
| The adware framework would leave almost no data untouched in its quest to 
| sell you stuff. It would inspect "user document files, user e-mail files, 
| user music files, downloaded podcasts, computer settings, computer status 
| messages (e.g., a low memory status or low printer ink)," and more. How could 
| we have been so blind as to not see the marketing value in computer status 
| messages?     


Spy Master Admits Error

,----[ Quote ]
| Intel czar Mike McConnell told Congress a new law helped bring down a terror 
| plot. The facts say otherwise. 


FBI ducks questions about its remotely installed spyware

,----[ Quote ]
| There are plenty of unanswered questions about the FBI spyware that, as we 
| reported earlier this week, can be delivered over the Internet and implanted  
| in a suspect's computer remotely. 


United States Government Online Watchdogs? Part of the war on terror?

,----[ Quote
| Is there anyone in the abandonia community with a US based connection who is 
| experiencing this watchdog behavior? Are any foreign Vista users experiencing 
| similar attacks from their own countries ministries and governing agencies?"   


On back doors in Windows XP...


Vista as the mother of all spyware...


Police eats your CPU cycles and disk space...

,----[ Quote ]
| Vista—Microsoft’s latest operating system—may prove to be most
| appropriately named, especially for those seeking evidence of how a
| computer was used.


Will Microsoft Put The Colonel in the Kernel?

,----[ Quote ]
| "The kernel meets The Colonel in a just-published Microsoft patent 
| application for an Advertising Services Architecture, which delivers targeted 
| advertising as 'part of the OS.'   


Austria OKs terror snooping Trojan plan

,----[ Quote ]
| Austria has become one of the first countries to officially sanction the use 
| of Trojan Horse malware as a tactic for monitoring the PCs of suspected 
| terrorists and criminals.  
| [...]
| Would-be terrorists need only use Ubuntu Linux to avoid the ploy. And even if 
| they stuck with Windows their anti-virus software might detect the malware. 
| Anti-virus firms that accede to law enforcement demands to turn a blind eye 
| to state-sanctioned malware risk undermining trust in their software, as 
| similar experience in the US has shown.    


Schäuble renews calls for surreptitious online searches of PCs

,----[ Quote ]
| In his speech towards the end of the national conference of the Junge Union, 
| the youth organization of the ruling conservative Christian Democratic Union 
| (CDU), in Berlin the Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble has 
| again come out in favor of allowing authorities to search private PCs 
| secretly online and of deploying the German Armed Forces in Germany in the 
| event of an emergency.     


Is My Boss Reading My Personal E-mail?

,----[ Summary ]
| Your employer can monitor all electronic communication
| to and from work equipment, especially when it's sent
| over the corporate network


Botnet 'pandemic' threatens to strangle the net

,----[ Quote ]
| Cerf estimated that between 100 million and 150 million of the
| 600 million PCs on the internet are under the control of hackers,
| the BBC reports.


Encrypted E-Mail Company Hushmail Spills to Feds

,----[ Quote ]
| Hushmail, a longtime provider of encrypted web-based email, markets itself by 
| saying that "not even a Hushmail employee with access to our servers can read 
| your encrypted e-mail, since each message is uniquely encoded before it 
| leaves your computer."   
| But it turns out that statement seems not to apply to individuals targeted by 
| government agencies that are able to convince a Canadian court to serve a 
| court order on the company.  


No email privacy rights under Constitution, US gov claims

,----[ Quote ]
| This appears to be more than a mere argument in support of the 
| constitutionality of a Congressional email privacy and access scheme. It 
| represents what may be the fundamental governmental position on 
| Constitutional email and electronic privacy - that there isn't any. What is 
| important in this case is not the ultimate resolution of that narrow issue, 
| but the position that the United States government is taking on the entire 
| issue of electronic privacy. That position, if accepted, may mean that the 
| government can read anybody's email at any time without a warrant.       


Can FOSS save your privacy?

,----[ Quote ]
| Well, the Bush regime has already claimed "we don't need no steenkin
| warrant" to listen to your phone calls, see what websites you visit,
| scan your emails, and now, with the revelation of a new
| "signing statement", it?s even claiming the authority to read your
| physical mail. When the government becomes the biggest threat to
| your privacy, you better take advantage of the legion of privacy
| advocates creating FOSS to help you retain what little bit of privacy
| you can still have.
| [...]
| However, just because your privacy is being threatened doesn't mean
| you have to accept it. There is a growing array of FOSS being
| developed to provide us with the ability to control our privacy.
| It's about time we all start using it.


Polippix: The Political Linux Distribution of Denmark

,----[ Quote ]
| From what I have been able to determine, PROSA, the Association of
| Computer Professionals, is the group responsible for its development
| and distribution. Their feelings on how privacy is being affected in
| the country of Denmark are rather obvious, and it looks as if they
| are not going to take these concerns lying down.


Microsoft exec calls XP hack 'frightening'

,----[ Quote ]
| "You can download attack tools from the Internet, and even script kiddies can 
| use this one," said Mick. 
| Mick found the IP address of his own computer by using the XP Wireless 
| Network Connection Status dialog box. He deduced the IP address of Andy's 
| computer by typing different numerically adjacent addresses in that IP range 
| into the attack tool, then scanning the addresses to see if they belonged to 
| a vulnerable machine.    
| Using a different attack tool, he produced a security report detailing the 
| vulnerabilities found on the system. Mick decided to exploit one of them. 
| Using the attack tool, Mick built a piece of malware in MS-DOS, giving it a
| payload that would exploit the flaw within a couple of minutes.   


Duh! Windows Encryption Hacked Via Random Number Generator

,----[ Quote ]
| GeneralMount Carmel, Haifa – A group of researchers headed by Dr. Benny 
| Pinkas from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Haifa 
| succeeded in finding a security vulnerability in Microsoft's "Windows 2000" 
| operating system. The significance of the loophole: emails, passwords, credit 
| card numbers, if they were typed into the computer, and actually all 
| correspondence that emanated from a computer using "Windows 2000" is 
| susceptible to tracking. "This is not a theoretical discovery. Anyone who 
| exploits this security loophole can definitely access this information on 
| other computers," remarked Dr. Pinkas.        
| Editors Note:  I believe this "loophole" is part of the Patriot Act, it is 
| designed for foreign governments.  Seriously, if you care about security, 
| privacy, data, trojans, spyware, etc., one does not run Windows, you run 
| Linux.   


"Trusted" Computing

,----[ Quote ]
| Do you imagine that any US Linux distributor would say no to the
| US government if they were requested (politely, of course) to add
| a back-door to the binary Linux images shipped as part of their
| products ? Who amongst us actually uses the source code so helpfully
| given to us on the extra CDs to compile our own version ? With
| Windows of course there are already so many back-doors known and
| unknown that the US government might not have even bothered to 
| ask Microsoft, they may have just found their own, ready to
| exploit at will. What about Intel or AMD and the microcode on
| the processor itself ?


,----[ Quote ]
| In relation to the issue of sharing technical API and protocol
| information used throughout Microsoft products, which the
| states were seeking, Allchin alleged that releasing this
| information would increase the security risk to consumers.
|        "It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is
|        also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into
|        computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows
|        operating systems, are used throughout the United States
|        Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United
|        States in Afghanistan and elsewhere."


How NSA access was built into Windows

,----[ Quote ]
| A careless mistake by Microsoft programmers has revealed that
| special access codes prepared by the US National Security Agency
| have been secretly built into Windows.
| [...]
| The first discovery of the new NSA access system was made two years
| ago by British researcher Dr Nicko van Someren. But it was only a
| few weeks ago when a second researcher rediscovered the access
| system. With it, he found the evidence linking it to NSA.


NSA Builds Security Access Into Windows

,----[ Quote ]
| A careless mistake by Microsoft programmers has shown that special access
| codes for use by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) have been secretly
| built into all versions of the Windows operating system.


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