Biometric systems – those that identify individuals based on unique biological characteristics like fingerprints, retinal patterns, voice, or facial features – have long been considered the future of security protocols. Technological advances over the past decade in particular have made them much more widespread in practical application, but a new report form the National Research Council says that could be a mistake, as the systems are “inherently fallible.”
Remember Haystack, that software tool developed by the Censorship Research Center for distribution to Iranian dissidents so they could get around the government's Internet filters during the presidential election uproar last year? Its heart was in the right place, but its technology apparently wasn't.
Americans have a prison problem -- namely, we've got a whole lot of people in prisons and that's a huge drain not only on hard money in our public coffers, but on man-hours lost by both the inmates and the people who spend their productive hours keeping an eye on them. But Graeme Wood, writing in The Atlantic, describes a new prison paradigm that would take the economic – and, for the inmates, psychological – duress out of our penal system: let most of the inmates go free.
Quantum cryptography is one of the most secure known means of transmitting data, due to the fact that even if a third party does intercept a quantum signal, that interference changes the encryption key, making the tampering apparent to parties at both ends. But a handful of quantum hackers at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim recently performed successful hacks of two commercial quantum cryptographic systems -- and they did so without leaving a trace.
In the first on-the-record, official recognition that a foreign intelligence agency infiltrated sensitive U.S. military CentCom networks in 2008, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III has revealed the source of the attack. And it was -- drumroll please -- a flash drive. A simple flash drive inserted into a military laptop at a location in the Middle East allowed malicious code to install and conceal itself on both classified and unclassified servers, opening them to foreign control.
Inmates bringing the ruckus at Pitchess Detention Center in California will find that deputies there can bring the pain. Working as the test-bed for a National Institute of Justice experiment, the prison is testing Raytheon's Assault Intervention Device, a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall device that focuses an invisible energy ray on misbehaving inmates, causing a serious heating sensation that should bring said bad behavior to a halt.
The core advantage of quantum computing -- the ability to compute for many possible outcomes at the same time and therefore crunch data much more quickly than classical computers -- also creates a problem for data security. Once the first high-powered quantum computers are functioning, they'll be able to quickly saw through many of our most common data encryption algorithms. But as it turns out, an obscure encryption code created in 1978 is resistant to all known methods of quantum attack.
Most people with even the most fundamental knowledge of how computer chips work are familiar with binary logic -- the system of ones and zeros that enable modern computing to occur -- in which an input always results in a solid result (either a one or a zero).
A former NSA computer espionage specialist has created a blueprint for destroying the United States's cyber defenses and bringing about "Internet Armageddon," and it doesn't take the kind of unmanageable resources one might think. Charlie Miller says that a devastating cyber attack would only require 2 years, roughly a thousand cyber-soldiers, and a mere $100 million.
You may have heard the rumor that swirled briefly last month about an Internet “kill switch” that could power down the Web in the case of a critical cyber attack. Those rumors turned out to be largely overblown, but it turns out there are now seven individuals out there holding keys to the Internet. In the aftermath of a cataclysmic cyber attack, these members of a “chain of trust” will be responsible for rebooting the Web.