Featured From The Verge

Featured From The Verge
Posted on 02/17/2017
Featured From The Verge
A German government watchdog has ordered parents to “destroy” an internet-connected doll for fear it could be used as a surveillance device. According to a report from BBC News, the German Federal Network Agency said the doll (which contains a microphone and speaker) was equivalent to a “concealed transmitting device” and therefore prohibited under German telecom law.
Posted on 02/15/2017
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A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers today introduced a bill that would require US police agencies to obtain a warrant before deploying cell-site simulation surveillance devices known as “stingrays,” reports USA Today. Stingrays are typically used by police to triangulate a criminal suspect’s location based on data emitted from their smartphones or wearable devices with cellular connectivity.
Posted on 02/15/2017
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It’s getting harder and harder to enter the United States with your privacy intact. In the wake of President Trump’s executive orders on immigration, travelers have reported increasingly invasive stops by border agents. On January 30th, NASA scientist and US citizen Sidd Bikkannavar was coerced into unlocking his phone for Customs agents at the border, possibly exposing sensitive information. Homeland Security leaders are also considering more invasive requirements, like demanding social media passwords from travelers.
Posted on 02/10/2017
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Russian officials have discussed the possibility of extraditing whistleblower Edward Snowden to the US as a way to improve political relations with President Trump, according to NBC News. The report cites an unnamed US official who has analyzed intelligence reports pertaining to Russia’s plans to “curry favor” with the new administration. During his campaign, Trump called Snowden a “traitor” and plainly stated that he should be executed for treason if he ever sets foot back in the country.
Posted on 02/09/2017
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Trump administration members and other Republicans are using the encrypted, self-destructing messaging app Confide to keep conversations private in the wake of hacks and leaks, according to Jonathan Swan and David McCabe at Axios. Axios writes that “numerous senior GOP operatives and several members of the Trump administration” have downloaded Confide, which automatically wipes messages after they’re read.
Posted on 02/09/2017
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This morning, a Russian forensics firm named Elcomsoft announced a way to extract years’ worth of web browsing records from Apple’s iCloud storage system, a method first reported by Forbes. Those records included site names, URLs, and when a given site was visited. Cleared browsing records are also visible in the records, although they are marked as “deleted” in the table. Mobile browsing records are also visible, although the sites themselves appear to be hashed in the most recent versions of iOS.
Posted on 02/08/2017
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Former National Security Agency contractor Harold Martin was indicted today on 20 criminal counts for stealing government documents and data in his capacity as a Booz Allen Hamilton employee, according to Reuters. Each of the 20 charges carries with it a sentence of up to 10 years. Despite obvious similarities to whistleblower Edward Snowden, who also worked as a NSA contractor employed by Booz Allen Hamilton, the government is not saying what whether 52-year-old Martin actually did anything with the classified info he took. Martin’s arrest was first made public last October.
Posted on 02/08/2017
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Meeting with Congress on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested the United States could soon ask international visitors for passwords to social media accounts.
Posted on 02/08/2017
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HackerOne was very busy last year finding vulnerabilities in some of the most sensitive software used by the United States military. The Department of Defense selected HackerOne to run the US federal government’s first bug bounty challenge, Hack the Pentagon. Over the course of a month, hackers working with the company found 138 vulnerabilities. The challenge cost $150,000 to run and saved the DoD over $1 million, according to former defense secretary Ash Carter.
Posted on 02/07/2017
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The House passed the Email Privacy Act in a voice vote yesterday, effectively sending the bill to the Senate for consideration. The law would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before requesting access to old emails and digital communications stored on tech companies' remote servers.