In the ever-shifting landscape of internet privacy and online security, it’s important to stay informed. You can never really predict what form of malevolent online forces will take. Technologies specifically designed to increase internet security can be the perfect solution one day and totally invalid the next.
That’s why we’re happy to do this Internet Privacy & Online Security news roundup; in the interest of keeping our customers and readers fully aware of what new or recurring dangers exist on the web and offering the best possible solutions to maintain the integrity of their networks.
Top Internet Privacy & Online Security News Stories
Governmental Snooping Stories
NSA’s UK Partner Targets German Companies (CNET) – It’s been revealed that the NSA’s UK counterpart, the British Government Communications Headquarters (or the GCHQ), has been spying on German internet companies. Much like many of the similar revelations we’ve seen in the last year, these come straight out of the leaked Snowden files.
President Obama Calls for an End to NSA Bulk Data Collection (New York Times) – In related news, perhaps finally galled by the extent of the NSA’s tremendously invasive breaches of privacy, President Obama is calling for an end to the security agency’s bulk data collection. It’s certainly a move in the right direction.
China Tightens Internet Security to Protect from US Cyber Attacks (Reuters) – Despite President Obama’s vows, China has developed a little edginess about the NSA’s roving eye, and has decided to beef up their internet security. China reportedly made this decision in light of the revelation that the NSA managed to infiltrate the servers at Huawei Technologies Co. The Chinese Defense Ministry claims this move laid “bare the United States’ hypocrisy and despotic rule.” Let that one sink in for a while.
Turkey Hijacks Google’s Internet Domain (The Sydney Morning Herald) – Google has accused Turkey of redirecting users away from their site and sending them to Turkish servers that serve as phony version of Google. This is, of course, all part of Turkey’s larger plan to limit the free web activity of their citizens, a plan which has thus far included banning YouTube (for sharing incriminating audio files of a Turkish state security meeting, involving plans to invade Syria) and Twitter (as we’ll discuss more below).
Government-Sponsored Hackers Attack Journalists (CNET) – Google security engineers Shane Huntley and Morgan Marquis-Boire recently spoke at the Black Hat hackers conference in Singapore and revealed that 21 of the 25 top news organizations in the world have been targeted by hackers. Though there’s no confirmation of this, Huntley and Marquis-Boire seemed fairly certain that these hackers are working on behalf of governments searching for information.
Why Privacy Is Actually Thriving (Wired) – Okay, this one isn’t really news, but Wired’s Nathan Jurgenson wrote an op-ed claiming that the ways in which we use social media to constantly reveal things about ourselves doesn’t really limit our privacy so much as re-contextualize it. It’s worth a read.
Watch Every Cyber Attack in the World in Real Time (Gizmodo) – This one has the benefit of being both terrifying and kind of cool: Kasperkspy Labs has developed an interactive map that allows you watch every cyber attack across the globe as it’s happening. Obviously, the implications are scary, but damn, if they didn’t create a really cool looking map.
Technology Fights Back (For the Most Part)
Turks Circumventing Twitter Ban with a Simple App (Tech-World) – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may need to figure out another way to limit his citizen’s right to free speech (that’s meant as mocking sarcasm, not a real suggestion), as his critics are proving resilient against his attempts to shut down Twitter in Turkey. By using a simple security and internet privacy Google Chrome app, ZenMate, Turkish citizens are bypassing Erdogan’s censorial decrees. Others are relying on VPNs (such as our good friends at Overplay or HideMyAss) to get around this ban.
No-Card-No-Button ATMs (ZDNET) – Click on the link and watch a video of one of these things in action. Diebold has taken the ATM card and all of the buttons out of the ATM scenario, opting instead to allow users with smartphones to simple perform all of their ATM tasks through their phones. There are any number of benefits to this, such as being able to allow other people to use your ATM account by putting them through a brief, but safe, verification process.
Dirigible Drones (Wired) – On the less promising front, here we have StratoBus, a dirigible drone the length of a football field that is designed to hover 13 miles up. On the plus side, StratoBus is a satellite meant to reinforce communications, facilitate navigation. But, of course, there’s also the more sinister element that involves surveillance and the admittedly often beneficial world of border security monitoring. Whatever you focus on, a hundred yard dirigible drone just sounds ominous.
Thank Plato for Encryption (Slate) – A video from the Royal Institution (animated by 12foot6 and Phoebe Halstead) demonstrates the ways in which the ancient Greeks set into motion every mathematically-reliant technological advance we have in our midst today, including encryption. Take a look below: