UK plans dramatic ‘publicity attack’ against encryption

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UK steps up fight against encryption
It will use children for dramatic anti-encryption stunts.
Photo: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

The U.K. will spend taxpayer money on a dramatic “publicity attack” against end-to-end encryption, according to a new report. The country apparently hopes to sway public opinion before taking further steps to crack down on the security feature.

A major focus of the campaign will be child safety. M&C Saatchi, the agency hired to run the marketing blitz, reportedly will use child actors to carry out emotive stunts that suggest encryption is being used by predators to conceal their activities.

iOS 14.5 makes zero-click iPhone attacks even more difficult

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If hackers dump your personal data onto the dark web, you need to know about it. Dashlane Dark Web Monitoring can sound the alarm.
“Dammit, Apple keeps breaking all my best zero-click attacks.”
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The next iOS version will make it more difficult for hackers to break into iPhones. Security researchers digging around in Apple’s beta code for iOS 14.5 found that the company began encrypting pointer authentication codes, which will make zero-click attacks far tougher to pull off.

Proposed Republican bill would crack down on unbreakable encryption

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Privacy Screen makes Google Drive just a bit more secure.
Apple is a big believer in privacy.
Photo: Google/Cult of Mac

Republican senatators have proposed a new bill that would end the use of unbreakable encryption by tech companies on the basis that it helps “terrorists and other bad actors to conceal illicit behavior.”

The so-called Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act is proposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).

Zoom does an about-face on end-to-end encryption

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Zoom
Zoom will offer top-tier encryption to all users.
Photo: Allie Smith/Unsplash

Zoom promised on Wednesday to make end-to-end encryption an option for all users, not just paying ones.

This video conferencing app became incredibly popular during the COVID-19 epidemic. But it also drew criticism for weak security.

Zoom worked quickly to fix that, but again faced complaints when the company decided that end-to-end encryption would only be for paying customers. That’s a decision it changed today.

Zoom buys startup to bring end-to-end encryption to video calls

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Zoom promises to work harder to protect user privacy.
Zoom calls are already encrypted, and the company committed today to step up to end-to-end encryption.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom on Thursday acquired Keybase for its experience with encryption and security.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought millions of new users to Zoom, but also criticism for weak security. Its stated goal in purchasing the smaller company, which developed its own messaging and file-sharing service, is to bring end-to-end encryption to Zoom meetings.

Zoom 5.0 aims to stamp out Zoombombing

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Zoom 5.0 brings much-needed security enhancements hoping to end Zoombombing.
When you’re having a Zoom meeting and Satan drops in unexpectedly? That’s Zoombombing.
Photo: Zoom/Cult of Mac

Zoom on Wednesday committed to upgrading the encryption in its video-chatting app. And Zoom 5.0, which will be out within the week, will include additional security controls for meeting hosts, like the ability to report disruptive users.

Use of this platform rose enormously since people around the world went into self quarantine. And criticism of Zoom’s security and privacy controls also increased dramatically as Zoombombing became a thing.

MI5 boss thinks tech companies should provide ‘exceptional access’ to encrypted messages

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UAE iPhone hacks
Spymaster thinks intelligence agency should be able to read encrypted messages when it needs to.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The UK’s director general of intelligence agency MI5 thinks that tech companies should provide it with “exceptional access” to encrypted messages when required.

Sir Andrew Parker made his remarks for an ITV documentary broadcast on Thursday about the domestic intelligence agency. He said that it is “increasingly mystifying” why intelligence agencies are not able to easily read the secret messages being sent and received by terror suspects they are monitoring.

Signal is the European Commission’s encrypted messaging app of choice

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Signal app
Signal is all about privacy.
Photo: Signal

The European Commission doesn’t want its staff using WhatsApp or iMessage for internal communications. Instead, they must start using end-to-end-encrypted messaging app Signal as part of a push toward greater security.

“Signal has been selected as the recommended application for public instant messaging,” noted an instruction that reportedly appeared on internal EC messaging boards in early February.