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Security Encryption

Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinate Via Unencrypted SMS (techdirt.com) 204

schwit1 writes: In the wake of the tragic events in Paris last week encryption has continued to be a useful bogeyman for those with a voracious appetite for surveillance expansion. Like clockwork, numerous reports were quickly circulated suggesting that the terrorists used incredibly sophisticated encryption techniques, despite no evidence by investigators that this was the case. These reports varied in the amount of hallucination involved, the New York Times even having to pull one such report offline. Other claims the attackers had used encrypted Playstation 4 communications also wound up being bunk.
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Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinate Via Unencrypted SMS

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    On the subject of our respective governments' unbounded honesty, anyone knows what happened to James "Lied Under Oath" Clapper?

    • by Squiddie ( 1942230 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:44PM (#50959039)
      Of course they lie. This isn't about protecting you. Even after this revelation, watch them step up their attacks against crypto and privacy.
      • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @07:15PM (#50959265)

        We couldn't intercept them without encryption, imagine if they had used any!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So now we know for sure which are the propaganda mills in "mainstream" news. I read anti-encryption articles on at least CNN, MSN, Fox, and Infoworld. Are there any others worthy of mention in this context? They are now off my list of "reputable news" sources, though they may be useful for staying up on current events... take it with a grain of salt.

        • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

          /. had this a few days ago
          Belgian Home Affairs Minister: Terrorists Communicate Via PlayStation 4
          http://tech.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

          But yeah they were even pushing it during the democratic debates on the 14th.

        • by Enigma2175 ( 179646 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @09:17PM (#50959837) Homepage Journal

          So now we know for sure which are the propaganda mills in "mainstream" news. I read anti-encryption articles on at least CNN, MSN, Fox, and Infoworld. Are there any others worthy of mention in this context? They are now off my list of "reputable news" sources, though they may be useful for staying up on current events... take it with a grain of salt.

          The BBC: Paris attacks: Silicon Valley in crosshairs over encryption [bbc.com]
          Some gems from the article:
          "And I do think this is a time for particularly Europe, as well as here in the United States, for us to take a look and see whether or not there have been some inadvertent or intentional gaps that have been created in the ability of intelligence and security services to protect the people that they are asked to serve."

          while attitudes towards creating government backdoors were "hostile", that atmosphere "could turn in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement". Paris may just be that event.

          Also, some jackwagon New York prosecutor is calling for legislation mandating phone manufactures use weak encryption and provide backdoors for law enforcement:
          A New York prosecutor is calling for federal legislation to weaken smartphone encryption [businessinsider.com]

          It's just ridiculous. Intelligence agencies and police have unprecedented data and location tracking on nearly every person in the world and it's STILL NOT ENOUGH for them. They will never be satisfied, even if every person in the world provided them a 24/7 video feed they would demand constant brainwave scans to "protect our children". It's time to say enough is enough and remove the people in favor of a surveillance state from a position of power, either by voting them out of office or voting the people who appointed them out of office.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @10:56PM (#50960205)
          Sadly, Al Jazeera is one of the best sources of international news.
  • SMS (Score:5, Funny)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:30PM (#50958929)

    O RLY?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      YA RLY

    • Re:SMS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Paleolibertarian ( 930578 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:56PM (#50959133) Journal

      Encryption isn't needed if nobody is watching.

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        Encryption isn't needed if nobody is watching.

        Yeah, just like if you close your eyes no one can see you!

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Everyone knows that metadata is worse than the actual data in many cases, so obviously encryption alone isn't enough. It's better to use burner phones that can't be tied to individuals, and which are only used once or twice to coordinate the attack.

    • Now that we xenophobically blocked Syrian refugees, now the Governors have announced they will keep Amierica safe by banning cell phones. "The terrorists used cell phones and this new technology they learned from Snowden (aka Moldemort) called SMS. We must not be threatened by this illegal usage of dangerous technology." Rumor has it they're going after books next and plan big book burnings and witch drownings. "I know at least one of those ISIS phuckers read a Harry Potter book," Texas governor was ove

      • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

        Which book was it?

      • Maybe we can allow in all the Syrian refugees and stuff them in your home, Mr President/Sanders
      • I am wondering how the terrorists sent unencrypted SMS as SMS is pretty heavily encrypted between the phone and tower, and while being transmitted over the network. Must be some pretty special phones to be able to send SMS without the built in encryption of cell networks.

        • At the layer 2 or Rf layer yes. However the news is never that technically educated or contextual. They're referring to layer 5, or application encryption.
  • Justice (Score:1, Insightful)

    by amightywind ( 691887 )
    I'm glad the terrorists died a violent death. I am sorry Diesel the police dog [theguardian.com] was sacrificed for these muslim turds. May Diesel rest in peace.
    • Which brings me to an interesting thought. If no one ages in "heaven" (or whatever they call it in Islam), perhaps those 72 virgins they get are all crying babies that they murdered.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Where is this proof in the article?..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:42PM (#50959019)

    Because terrorists use SMS we should monitor all SMS traffic. Because they use phones we should record all conversations. Because they use the Internet we should monitor all traffic. Because they drive cars, fly planes, and buy things at grocery stores.. we should monitor those too. In fact since terrorists use essentially everything non-terrorists use... then we should monitor everything. Put camera's in washroom stalls just in case the terrorists find a way to use them. Force people to wear microphones just in case they are terrorists. If you have done nothing wrong what do you have to worry about? Are you some kind of terrorist sympathizer? Let me mark down your objections on my suspect review and no fly list.

    Only monitoring everything will free us from the threat of tyranny once and for all. Complete and total control of everything by government officials is true freedom.

  • Common pattern (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:43PM (#50959023)
    Remember when Saddam had some complex masterplan for building chemical and nuclear weapons? And Al Qaeda were criminal masterminds? Now it is ISIL (The Tiny Penises) that have sophisticated methods that only our authorities can figure out if you give them unlimited powers.
    I feel that this terror threat is vastly over-stated. Saddam was not a really threat (a little but not that much). Al Qaeda weren't really a threat (sure they killed people, but hardly enough to roll over your way of life for), and now The Tiny Pensis are a threat (no they aren't [youtube.com]).

    To put it in perspective, the Police in the US have killed more civilians this year [theguardian.com] than The Tiny Penises have in France.

    Terrorists are shitty humans, but it's not enough to give up for freedom and privacy for.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And both have killed more than the Swiss Guard have in the Vatican. So? You are comparing apples and merde.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      To put it in perspective, the Police in the US have killed more civilians this year [theguardian.com] than The Tiny Penises have in France.

      That's a pretty low bar, considering that deaths in the US as a result of terrorism amortizes to a yearly figure around that of deaths by vending machine.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Come on they have had warnings on them not to tilt or shake them for years. Are they just trying for a darwin?

    • Re:Common pattern (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @08:00PM (#50959505)

      And ISIL has killed more people in Syria and Iraq than the police in the US have. Or are you saying that only first world, western lives count?

      ISIS is a bunch of fucking assholes who have taken a select number of passages out of a holy book and twisted them to fit their means. They rape, murder, steal, and a number of other horrible crimes. And they are creating greater racism around the world.

      We won't beat them by giving up our freedoms. We aren't going to beat them by dropping bombs on them. It's going to take a long, hard battle on the ground. But what is really going to defeat them in the long run is people getting along. Having temples attacked, blaming all Muslims, or calling for the refugees not to be admitted is just feeding the anger that causes people who join ISIS. They already feel apart from society and when we do those things we drive them further away. We need to embrace everyone and create an inclusive society or there will be other groups after ISIS.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > And ISIL has killed more people in Syria and Iraq than the police in the US have. Or are you saying that only first world, western lives count?

        When domestic surveillance is being justified by domestic deaths then domestic lives are already the topic of discussion.

      • Re:Common pattern (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @04:23AM (#50960829)

        And ISIL has killed more people in Syria and Iraq than the police in the US have. Or are you saying that only first world, western lives count? .

        In domestic policy matters, yes.

      • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @05:31AM (#50960951)

        "Or are you saying that only first world, western lives count?"
         
        I am sorry, but when determining the territorial security of country (laws, police intervention) only what happen in that country should count. Citing that some terrorist in some country somewhere should make us drop our law , trample our constitution, and roll over the ground wailing, is stupid. Were you there to claim the genocidial Rwanda event should lead to some police change in the US/France/Whichever ? No ? then ISIL is no different.

      • It's interesting to note that most of the terrorists identified in these latest atrocities had convictions for various abominable crimes (Murder, Armed Robbery etc) prior to being radicalized.
        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Not particularly surprising. Anyone who has actually studied recidivism knows that when people do time in prison, it requires a lot of effort on the part of the government to reintegrate them into society, and if that doesn't happen properly, they are much more likely to commit further crimes because they feel that they have no other means to get the things they want. We also have known for a long time that people who feel isolated from society are more likely to get drawn into a terrorist organization.

    • Or, it's really the idea chemical weapons require some complex master plan is vastly over-stated. One doesn't need a full lab to make WWI level chemicals, just a few ingredients many have in their house already.
    • Saddam was not a really threat (a little but not that much)

      Saddam was a huge threat. He almost developed nukes until his reactors were bombed. He had chemical weapons. He had the fourth largest military on the planet, engaged in a lot of skirmishes with Iran and engaged in a war of conquest against a defenceless neighbor.

      Now all that shook out in the mit-to-late 80's, early 90's...

      • Nazi Germany was a threat in 1938, should we also invade them now?
        I shall clarify for the pedants. Saddam was not really a threat to us when we made the decision to invade his country.
  • by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:43PM (#50959031)

    police have found that the terrorists breathed air, drank water, and wore clothes in order to carry out their attacks. Police and security agencies have united in calling for these things to be banned immediately.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      There is a TV programme called Question Time on the BBC this evening at about 10:30, where a panel of politicians and other minor celebrities answer questions put by the audience. Let's see how many politicians use the Paris attacks as an excuse to bring in the Snooper's Charter, and if anyone even mentions that encryption wasn't used.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:44PM (#50959041)

    "Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinate Via Unencrypted SMS". And where's the article to support that headline?!

  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:55PM (#50959113)

    It really wouldn't be hard to use the in game functions of any military themed shooter game to set up an an attack.

    Essentially, in game people are already talking about shooting people and targets, that even unencrypted it would be painfully difficult to filter through all the chats - supposing you had access to them - to figure out which players were talking about playing the game, and who would be planning something in real life.

    Quite scary

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Quite scary

      In what way? Terrorists will always have access to encrypted communications that are difficult to crack. If the terrorists can meet beforehand, then they can use impossible to crack communications. They already use encryption. They already use steganography, and messages within computer games would just be an example of this.

    • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @07:32PM (#50959367)

      Quite scary

      Not really. It's far scarier to consider life in a panopticon where two people couldn't say something privately to eachother without the goverment listening to the conversation.

    • >

      Quite scary

      Only if you are a complete moron. How is it any more scary than any other communication that is not being traced?

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      eh. just use skype or whatever. people are already using it to replace teamspeak etc.

      however, the point is, the feds & etc are running a campaign to demonize encryption when it is just most likely that they were using something like whatsapp only for international messaging.

      and you know why? because international sms's COST A FUCKING LOT OF MONEY.

      there's already too much to filter through even if they could read everything. case in point, the mastermind they were already well aware who he was but they d

  • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @06:58PM (#50959143)

    The logic of authoritarians:

    Thanks to Snowden's revelations, terrorists started using unbreakable encryption!!!!!!!

    Right. Except they didn't [zdnet.com].

    That was pre-Snowden. Terrorists didn't know about encryption before that.

    Right again. Except they did [usatoday.com].

    So, you see-- Snowden has "blood on his hands [newrepublic.com]" for making terrorists aware of encryption, which they knew about for decades, so they could use it, which they didn't [techdirt.com]. And thank goodness for that, because if they had used encryption, the attacks might have been successful, which they were.

    Got it.

  • "...Attackers Coordinate Via Unencrypted SMS"

    You mean the media? Yes, they often attack using SMS as their weapon of choice when blindly and viciously terrorizing truth or due diligence.

    If you're talking about the Paris terrorists, well yeah, I guess they could be stupid enough to do that...or just be attention whores like the media...

  • Lets make mandatory to encrypt all communications, so only the terrorists will use non-encrypted messages and indentify them fast. what? wait, let me think that one moment more.
  • by DigitalSorceress ( 156609 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @07:32PM (#50959371)

    It seems to me that when you're planning to blow yourself up anyway - you're probably not that worried about getting caught after the fact, and there's so much traffic going around that open communications especially if using a simple codewords for obvious trigger phrases (so say "flowers' instead of "bombs" etc...) and very likely the best the intelligence folks will do is read your comms after you've succeeded and have gone to meet your 72 Virgins....

  • We need to encrypt everything. Leaving SMS encrypted leaves us open to terrorist attacks.
    And we need licencing for SMS use too!

  • The best method of encryption is no encryption at all, using word or phrase replacement.

    All the spy measures in the world are pretty useless against people who understand that.

  • by seoras ( 147590 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @08:14PM (#50959593)

    This war on encryption and personal privacy can't be won by the ordinary man against governments.
    It's inevitable. They will get their way.
    I take personal comfort in seeing a repeating cycle in history where they can only legislate once the genie is out of the bottle, and they are slow to react.
    A basic lack of understanding of technology, by those in power, and technology's ability to evolve outside of their constraints means that they are really just sowing the seeds for the next big thing after the internet - it's replacement.
    Peer to peer communications, not network based would be my guess.
    How? I dunno, but when forced into a corner we always find a way out.

    • The ordinary man can have access to good crypto software. There's always going to be people who know what they're doing publishing it as Free/Open Source software. (It can be difficult to figure out who knows what they're doing and who doesn't, of course.)

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @10:12PM (#50960041)

    When the drug dealer started sending MMS images of clocks?

    It seems entirely reasonable that you could plan just about anything with plain text SMS. It wouldn't be hard to talk about whatever it was in plain language substituting normal activities like going shopping or whatever.

    An innocuous code would be impossible to decode if you didn't suspect the people in question. You'd never filter out the 373738483847 other texts that were about mundane activities.

  • In other news, terrorists have a bunch of new ideas on how to communicate
  • Ban SMS! Terorristz use them!!!1!
  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2015 @11:52PM (#50960343) Journal
    They need to explain why the massive global surveillance failed to stop the attacks and the reasons they came up with is Snowden and encryption. This is despite their own reports that showed their massive surveillance to not be effective against terrorism even before Snowden and widespread encryption. Big-Data is great for statistical analysis, if is not very useful for spear-fishing.
  • ... and let me tell you that after last Friday, we are now experiencing a period in which the government can decide and impose whatever it damn pleases : massive surveillance, restricted freedom, you name it.... At this stage, I believe people are willing to accept anything in the name of (presumed) safety. At some point, this period will come to an end but until then, I except the law to change a lot, and essentially nobody is going to raise a finger about it....
    Reminds me of the time when I was living in
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  • Like criminals they are MOSTLY stupid and uneducated. Both groups for the most part lack many of the basic resources required to improve upon their actions, be it infrastructure, money, contacts, technology, etc...

    That is why you hear of stories of bank robbers taking cabs home and the like.

    That is not to say that smarter craftier ones don't exist, only that the dumb ones far outnumber them. I have no doubt, the easiest way to catch the smart ones, are not by trying to unravel their master plan, but rather

  • Hi! Good morning, welcome to real life where sith happens despite the government knowing everything about you. Can we go back to some of those outdated constitutional protections now? Maybe? Okay, I'll just wait and be optimistic either way, hoping to read more good news on here :)
  • So how is encryption a problem when they can't even stop crimes when it's not being used?

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