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Schneier: UN Report on the Value of Encryption to Freedom World-Wide->

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United Nation's Office of the High Commissioner released a report on the value of encryption and anonymity to the world: Summary: In the present report, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 25/2, the Special Rapporteur addresses the use of encryption and anonymity in digital communications. Drawing from research on international and national norms and jurisprudence, and the input...
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Schneier: Terrorist Risks by City, According to Actual Data->

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I don't know enough about the methodology to judge it, but it's interesting: In total, 64 cities are categorised as 'extreme risk' in Verisk Maplecroft's new Global Alerts Dashboard (GAD), an online mapping and data portal that logs and analyses every reported terrorism incident down to levels of 100m worldwide. Based on the intensity and frequency of attacks in the...
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Schneier: Race Condition Exploit in Starbucks Gift Cards->

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A researcher was able to steal money from Starbucks by exploiting a race condition in their gift-card value-transfer protocol. Basically, by initiating two identical web transfers at once, he was able to trick the system into recording them both. Normally, you could take a $5 gift card and move that money to another $5 gift card, leaving you with an...
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Schneier: Stink Bombs for Riot Control->

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They're coming to the US: It's called Skunk, a type of "malodorant," or in plainer language, a foul-smelling liquid. Technically nontoxic but incredibly disgusting, it has been described as a cross between "dead animal and human excrement." Untreated, the smell lingers for weeks. The Israeli Defense Forces developed Skunk in 2008 as a crowd-control weapon for use against Palestinians. Now...
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Schneier: Why the Current Section 215 Reform Debate Doesn't Matter Much->

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The ACLU's Chris Soghoian explains (time 25:52-30:55) why the current debate over Section 215 of the Patriot Act is just a minor facet of a large and complex bulk collection program by the FBI and the NSA. There were 180 orders authorized last year by the FISA Court under Section 215 -- 180 orders issued by this court. Only five...
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Schneier: New Pew Research Report on Americans' Attitudes on Privacy, Security, and Surveillance->

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This is interesting: The surveys find that Americans feel privacy is important in their daily lives in a number of essential ways. Yet, they have a pervasive sense that they are under surveillance when in public and very few feel they have a great deal of control over the data that is collected about them and how it is used....
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Schneier: The Logjam (and Another) Vulnerability against Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange->

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Logjam is a new attack against the Diffie-Hellman key-exchange protocol used in TLS. Basically: The Logjam attack allows a man-in-the-middle attacker to downgrade vulnerable TLS connections to 512-bit export-grade cryptography. This allows the attacker to read and modify any data passed over the connection. The attack is reminiscent of the FREAK attack, but is due to a flaw in the...
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Schneier: Research on Patch Deployment->

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New research indicates that it's very hard to completely patch systems against vulnerabilities: It turns out that it may not be that easy to patch vulnerabilities completely. Using WINE, we analyzed the patch deployment process for 1,593 vulnerabilities from 10 Windows client applications, on 8.4 million hosts worldwide [Oakland 2015]. We found that a host may be affected by multiple...
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Schneier: Spy Dust->

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Used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War: A defecting agent revealed that powder containing both luminol and a substance called nitrophenyl pentadien (NPPD) had been applied to doorknobs, the floor mats of cars, and other surfaces that Americans living in Moscow had touched. They would then track or smear the substance over every surface they subsequently touched....
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Schneier: More on Chris Roberts and Avionics Security->

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Last month ago I blogged about security researcher Chris Roberts being detained by the FBI after tweeting about avionics security while on a United flight: But to me, the fascinating part of this story is that a computer was monitoring the Twitter feed and understood the obscure references, alerted a person who figured out who wrote them, researched what flight...
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