Internet Security Issues

Safe as an ostrich, from cyber attack.

Imagine no Internet for a few weeks. Imagine if that is because there is no power grid. CNN.Money: Cyber-Safe: How Corporate America keeps huge hacks secret

The backbone of America — banks, oil and gas suppliers, the energy grid — is under constant attack by hackers.

But the biggest cyberattacks, the ones that can blow up chemical tanks and burst dams, are kept secret by a law that shields U.S. corporations. They’re kept in the dark forever.

Will encryption save us? No, “It’s Saturday Night!”

Last Saturday, some may have been channel surfing and mistakenly thought they were watching Saturday Night Live.  As one the 2% of voters spending last Saturday night intentionally watching the debate between the Democratic candidates and two ABC hosts, I was not the only one that noticed the flaws in one candidate’s claims for encryption that went unchallenged.

Fortunately, Jenna McLaughlin of The Intercept articulates the issues and the faulty assumptions of candidates and pundits: Democratic Debate Spawns Fantasy Talk on Encryption <read>

During Saturday’s debate, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said the U.S. should commission a “Manhattan-like project,” a reference to the secret World War II-era atomic bomb endeavor, to address the alleged threat encryption poses to law enforcement. She also admitted she doesn’t actually understand the technology.

Cyber risks of Internet voting and electronic voting

Two articles this week on cyber risks, one refuting Colorado’s Secretary of State on online voting. Another articulating the risks of hacking electronic voting in general.

Stay tuned and stay involved!

NonScience Nonsense, another claim of electronic voting security

In late June a respected source published a non-peer-reviewed article: The case for election technology Which despite its title is actually a marketing piece disguised as science, not for election technology but for electronic voting, including Internet voting. The case actually made is for skepticism and peer-review.

That skepticism is well addressed in posts by Jeremy Epstein and E. John Sebes: How not to measure security and A Hacked Case For Election Technology

Consensus Reached on Recommendations Toward the Future of Internet Voting

Consensus Reached on Recommendations Toward the Future of Internet Voting

USVoteFoundationThe U.S. Vote Foundation has released a report on the feasibility and requirements for Internet voting. This is the result of about eighteen months of work by computer scientists, security experts, and election officials.  The goal was to answer definitively once and for all if Internet voting was feasible today or in the future.

The short version is the Internet voting is not ready for prime time, not ready for democracy. Yet, it is possible in the future that a system may be developed which could provide safe Internet voting.  The paper lays out the requirements and testing criteria for such a system.

(Internet voting includes online voting, email voting, and fax voting).

Top security official, spouts NonScience Nonsense

Comey’s problem is the nearly universal agreement among cryptographers, technologists and security experts that there is no way to give the government access to encrypted communications without poking an exploitable hole that would put confidential data, as well as entities like banks and power grids, at risk.

“Security online today, is not up to the task of online voting today.”

My friend, Duncan Buell, sent along a .pdf with a blog post of his, Computer Security and the Risks of Online Voting, along with another blog post about drones Meet A.I. Joe

Data Breach Today – Infinite Future Harm!

From the Intercept, an explanation of the harm of data retention and theft: Data Theft Today Poses Indefinite Threat of “Future Harm”

We hear continuous claims that “I have nothing to hide, so who cares if they have my data”. Lets look at what might actually happen. The possibilities are endless.

Net of Insecurity — risks not anticipated by Founders

The Washington Post has a new set of articles, interviewing some of the founders of the Internet on how the it came to be built with insufficient security:

“I believe that we don’t know how to solve these problems today, so the idea that we could have solved them 30, 40 years ago is silly,”…

“They thought they were building a classroom, and it turned into a bank.”

Elections and Voting Summit Joseph Kiniry: Technical Tradeoffs

Last January I attended the annual Elections and Voting Summit. I was most interested in a presentation by Joseph Kiniry on Technical Trade0ffs. It is a relatively brief presentation, with some important thoughts: Online voting convenience vs. risks, transparent systems vs. proprietary rights etc.

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