nsa

House passes USA Freedom Act, curtails NSA’s powers

House passes USA Freedom Act, curtails NSA’s powers

The NSA and other government agencies like it have been dealt yet with another near fatal blow. Just a week after the Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU that the agency's massive data collection spree was illegal, the House of Representative further reduces the NSA's power. In an almost landslide vote of 338 to 88, the House passed what is known now as the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which imposes limits on what the government can and cannot demand in terms of private phone data.

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Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

In March, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the NSA, claiming their surveillance program was overreaching and illegal. Today, a Federal Court of Appeals has agreed with that assertion, finding the NSA’s practice of data collection “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized”. This decision comes well after Edward Snowden began leaking documentation highlighting just how deep and intrusive the NSA’s domestic surveillance program is. In the ruling, Circuit Judge Gerald Lynch wrote “such an expansive concept of 'relevance' is unprecedented and unwarranted”.

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Forget spying, now the NSA wants your password list

Forget spying, now the NSA wants your password list

The NSA isn't interested in a sneaky back door into your smartphone or computer any more, it just wants you to leave the front door wide open. While arguments continue around just what the National Security Agency can and can't get access to - dragging more than one big tech name into the controversy - the spy organization's chief is suggesting a far more blunt approach: in effect, handing over the keys to encryption upfront.

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People care about privacy when John Oliver sells it to them

People care about privacy when John Oliver sells it to them

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver just did a bang-up job showing off the newest in government surveillance law in the United States. Such a bang-up job, in fact, that the YouTube release of the 33-minute segment has garnered nearly 3-million views in less than two days. As Oliver explains, no one cared about the government surveillance program known as the Patriot Act for the first decade it was active, authorized, and re-authorized after it was enacted following September 11, 2001. Fast forward to June of 2013 and Edward Snowden infamously revealed the goings-on of the NSA - fast forward to 2015 and John Oliver is interviewing Edward Snowden.

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NSA sued over surveillance by Wikimedia & more

NSA sued over surveillance by Wikimedia & more

The NSA may be used to lurking in the shadows and quietly reading our emails, but the ACLU and Wikimedia Foundation aren't willing to let them stay that way, filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the government agency's actions. The suit, filed today in the US District Court for the District of Maryland, takes issue with NSA "upstream" surveillance which, it's argued, needlessly and intrusively gathers huge quantities of text-based messages sent and received by innocent people. That, the ACLU insists, is an infringement of both First and Fourth Amendment rights, among other things.

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Gemalto: we were ‘probably’ hacked, but definitely affected

Gemalto: we were ‘probably’ hacked, but definitely affected

For a company that wasn’t even aware they’d been hacked years prior, Gemalto sounds pretty confident things are just fine. In a report outlining the ‘probable’ hack executed by the NSA and GCHQ, Gemalto says none of the encryption keys our SIM card have were compromised. Earlier this week, Gemalto said they believed the hack was less damaging than initially outlined by Edward Snowden, wherein he says the NSA and GCHQ played a kind of ‘man in the middle’ game to grab your SIM codes.

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Gemalto says NSA SIM card hack might not be so bad after all

Gemalto says NSA SIM card hack might not be so bad after all

Late last week, Edward Snowden revealed another bombshell. In his ongoing quest to reveal the scope of NSA spying, he announced the NSA and GCHQ (NSA’s UK counterpart) hacked a major SIM card provider, Gemalto, in an attempt to get the ‘keys’ to your phone. In hacking your phone via the SIM, the NSA and GCHQ would be able to bypass the carriers, and keep a watchful eye on you with no one being the wiser. In response to the report, Gemalto is now saying it might not be a problem at all.

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Oliver Stone’s Snowden biopic casts 3 new actors

Oliver Stone’s Snowden biopic casts 3 new actors

Oliver Stone is filming the controversial biopic Snowden, based on the life of Edward Snowden, the American NSA whistleblower. Stone is a great director for two types of films, big-budget blockbusters or Oscar fodder. There is no report on the budget yet, but the Snowden plot will probably be packed with more suspense than action. This put the movie into the latter category. Technologically driven movies are resonating with the audiences of today. David Fincher's The Social Network proved that a technologial biopic could stand on its own during Oscar season.

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Snowden: NSA/GCHQ have nearly everyone’s SIM card codes

Snowden: NSA/GCHQ have nearly everyone’s SIM card codes

Edward Snowden’s cache of information is unsettling, but necessary. Periodically, he’ll release a tidbit of info that either follows up on something that came before it, or is entirely new and equally shocking. Today, we get the latter of the two, as Snowden reveals how the NSA — in conjunction with the UK’s GCHQ — hacked Gemalto, a major SIM card manufacturer. According to Snowden, the NSA/GCHQ hack of Gemalto gave them secret passcodes to SIM cards around the world, bypassing your carrier altogether.

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Equation group creates “The Death Star of Malware”

Equation group creates “The Death Star of Malware”

According to the Kaspersy Labs Global Research and Analysis Team (GREAT), one piece of malware has infected thousands of victims throughout the world. The team suggests that it may be possible that tens of thousands of victims have been infected with malware made by Equation APT, or The Equation Group, through a number of "implants" - otherwise known as Trojans. These infection points are called upon by Kaspersy to identify the spread. Kaspersy calls this team of hackers The Equation group - their real identities remain a mystery.

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NSA said to have hacked North Korea before it hacked Sony

NSA said to have hacked North Korea before it hacked Sony

If you have ever wondered why the US seemed rather quick at pointing the finger at North Korea for the recent disastrous hacking of Sony's servers, then this might be the answer. According to leaked NSA documents, the US government's agency notorious for its spying activities apparently tapped into North Korea's networks even before the Sony attacks, providing President Obama with the hard evidence needed to make that public accusation. Sadly, that knowledge came too late to protect Sony despite North Korea's not so subtle threats.

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US and UK plan bank hack wargames as security fears grow

US and UK plan bank hack wargames as security fears grow

A war game exercise which will see US and UK banks simulate a huge and potentially devastating hack on their systems will be run later in the year, as the two countries ramp up their preparedness for cyber espionage. The practice will be run by representatives from the NSA and the FBI in the US, and MI5 and GCHQ in the UK, with a so-called "cyber cell" of experts collaborating on worst-case scenarios and the ways in which vital institutions can steel themselves. The news follows the high-profile hack of Sony Pictures late last year, and comes as security commentators warn that more online attacks are a case of "when" not "if".

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