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Comment Re:Fail (Score 2) 420

Absolutely. The hardware they made for the Windows Phone was top notch. If they offered it with a current release ANDROID and strived to be the only phone company releasing a clean android with updates that happen rapidly they could have easily decimated samsung and HTC in the market.

Instead they went a completely dumb direction, and the knife in the back was Windows Phone OS.

Comment Wild speculation... (Score 1) 417

That report is as accurate as an old tymey Alminac that says that the last 4 years it did not rain today, so it wont rain today.

I want to see the raw data and all the peer reviews of the same study. Too many of you people JUMP on the OMG sky is falling / OMG Sky is not falling bandwagons too fast.

US scientists want to see the real meat and what a LOT of others scientists think.

Comment Re:Question about Google's HTTPS (Score 1) 607

Not all Google searches are encrypted. Only if you're logged in, or specifically visit The reasons are complicated and stupid - to do with US schools with political clout that outsourced their internet filtering and couldn't filter searches (for the children!) if SSL was enabled for everyone. A bunch of companies/orgs in similar positions also complained.

If you use Chrome at least then Chrome-Google communication is forward secure (compromise of the private key let's you MITM but not passively decrypt).

Comment Re:Uh... okay (Score 3, Informative) 607

There's nothing in the articles that implies this. Backdooring a CA only helps if several things hold:

1) They can not only intercept but also rewrite traffic on the fly. Possible, but if so, not yet mentioned in any leaks.

2) They're willing to take the chance that someone might notice.

So an operation against a single site, definitely possible. But they are clearly desperate to grab everything, all the time! Their whole MO is not targeted investigations but to spy on everyone simultaneously. You can't use a rogue CA to do that. They'd be detected immediately, if only by geeks setting up SSL for their new personal VPS and suddenly noticing the CA their browser gets isn't the one they installed.

The problems with SSL are not that CAs exist. The model holds against the global adversary who wants to decrypt everything. The problems with SSL are almost certainly more prosaic - many websites can be automatically hacked and their keys stolen without the owners ever knowing. In the default config that allows you to then decrypt all past traffic as well. Some implementations will use old, weak keys that were strong once upon a time but have since become obsolete. Some implementations will have bad random number generators. Some implementations will run on VPS providers and are subject to side channel attacks by colocated VMs. Some keys can be subpoenad and others can be obtained by covert agents. And of course you still leak traffic metadata even when SSL works perfectly.

There are lots of ways to attack SSL that will work some of the time, and that's exactly what the leaks imply - they can beat encryption sometimes but they don't have a magic skeleton key to everything.

Comment Re:SSH? (Score 5, Informative) 607

Certificate authorities never see private keys so you are dead wrong about that. What's more, even if a rogue CA was minting bad certs on the fly to attest that the NSA was really, that would have been noticed. Remember that secrecy is something they value insanely highly. They wouldn't ever do something so easily noticed and the articles do not imply any kind of CA compromise.

In fact if you read all the stories (they overlap largely but not entirely) you can get a vague picture of what's going on. Firstly, they record all encrypted traffic in case they can decrypt it later. Secondly, they have a database of public to private keys, populated via any means they can. Thirdly, they obtain keys in lots of ways (hacking, subversion, bogus court orders, brute forcing old/weak keys etc) but they don't seem to have a magical solution to all strong crypto. The closest that the leaks come to this is discussion of some amazing cryptoanalytic breakthrough, which could possibly mean they're able to break some kinds of RSA? Perhaps they're ahead of Joux et al by some years?

Regardless, what it is, it can't be a solution to all crypto, because these governments apparently asked the newspapers not to publish on the grounds that people might switch to stronger systems that worked.

Comment Re:Botnets and Tor (Score 2) 55

No offence, but there absolutely is reason to believe you're incorrect. The reasons are in the Tor mailing lists which I've been keeping up with for the past few weeks.

Firstly, exit traffic has hardly moved, despite massive increase in Tor usage overall. This is consistent with the bots getting instructions from a hidden service. So exit node operators can't do much here.

Secondly, the whole point of the hidden service protocol is that relays don't know the IP of the hidden service. That's why there are rendezvous nodes that join user and service together via two 3-hop circuits. De-anonymizing such a service is very hard and requires you to control large numbers of nodes over a period of many months, according to the latest research. It's not something the Tor community can just do.

If you think you know of a slick way to resolve this problem, I suggest taking it to the Tor developers, because all the evidence I see from their lists is that right now they don't have any great ideas.

Comment Re:Botnets and Tor (Score 4, Informative) 55

I believe you are making an incorrect assumption that these botnet nodes are actually relaying on behalf of the network. I've not seen any reason to believe this is correct. Rather than just act as normal clients of the Tor network - placing extreme load on existing relays.

In fact, this botnet appears to be basically breaking Tor with many node operators reporting that their relays cannot keep up. The Tor developers recently started developing code to prioritise the more efficient NTOR handshake over the older protocol, and because the botnet runs older code people who upgrade to the latest code (once they are finished) should take priority over the botnet traffic. Until the botnet also upgrades, of course.

To make it worse, when a circuit fails to build because of overloaded relays, Tor retries. I'm not sure there's any kind of exponential backoff. Thus the network goes into a death spiral in which clients constantly try to build circuits and fail, placing even more load on the already overloaded system and making it impossible to recover.

Unfortunately we may be looking at the end of Tor here, at least temporarily. The botnet operator doesn't seem to realise what's happening, otherwise they'd be backing off. Tor is effectively experiencing a massive, global, accidental denial of service attack by this botnet. Many relays don't have enough CPU power to weather the circuit storms. It will be very interesting to see what the Tor developers do next - they don't have any effective way to fight off this botnet because almost by design they can't detect or centrally control the network. They practically have to ask nicely for the operators to go away.

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