Date: November 14, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, opinion

Spying on Petraeus, or how emails quickly become incriminating evidence [Updated 2012-11-15]

The current story of Gen. PETRAEUS and his affair BROADWELL shines a light at the possibilities of digital surveillance and tracing of crumbs of information. It can serve as an example and a warning against insufficient digital tradecraft. Though news reports about the exact order and nature of the events are imprecise, unreliable and contradictory, we are trying to put them together into a plausible series of events and give some background on techniques that were, or might have been, used to intrude on the privacy of both BROADWELL and PETRAEUS.

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Date: November 14, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, news

News: NEC offers face recognition analysis for retailers

  • Technology only requires off-the-shelf personal computer and video camera.
    • It can estimate gender and age based only on video footage.
    • Furthermore, repeat customers even across stores can be automatically recognized.
    • The underlying face recognition product, NeoFace, is also used in services like intruder recognition and surviellance.
    • NeoFace is a cloud service provided by NEC.
    • NEC claims that the face templates generated cannot be reconstructed into images of faces.

ShadowLife comment:

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Date: November 14, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, news

News: Google compliance to reveal user data and remove content

Report covers the 6 months between January and June 2012. Requests for user data increased by 30% compared to July-December 2011. Google received more than 20,938 requests to reveal user data of 34,614 accounts. Google complied in more than 13,900 cases. Majority of user data requests were made by the USA. Google complied in above 90% of US requests. During the same timespan Google received 1791 court orders and requests by executive branch (police etc.

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Date: November 12, 2012
Filed in: concepts, frontpage

Anonymity – Online and Offline – Part II

This article explores how much anonymity really exists online, and how anonymity is reduced by everyday technologies used in Internet communication (please check out Part I of this series for the theory behind anonymity).

Many people expect their actions online to be far removed from their physical identity which often leads them to behave in ways they would never dare when their name were connected to it. But how well founded is this belief in online anonymity?

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Date: November 11, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, news

News: Chrome adds Do Not Track header

Chrome has added the Do Not Track (DNT) header: DNT was added to the Chrome 23 release. Mozilla’s Firefox browser implemented the feature in June 2011. The upcoming release of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) will enable DNT by default. The Apache webserver was recently updated to ignore DNT in IE10. Yahoo recently said it will also ignore DNT in IE10. Source: Ars Technica
Date: November 11, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, howto

How to choose a secure password

This article explains how to choose a secure password. For example, this is necessary to secure encrypted data or private keys against brute-force attacks. An introduction to encryption algorithms is given in the corresponding primer (brute-force attacks are also explained there).

You should never use the same password for multiple purposes. It is fine to use the build-in password manger of the Firefox web browser to store your website passwords, but only if they are secured properly (by using hard disk encryption with a strong password as described below and the master-password feature).

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Date: November 08, 2012
Filed in: concepts, frontpage

Anonymity - Online and Offline - Part I

This series explains the theory of Anonymity and what factors influence anonymity in online communication and offline interaction. The goal is to provide necessary background information to make educated judgements on the effectiveness of methods to increase anonymity.

Let us start out with a definition of the term and then explore its implications:

Anonymity is the degree of uncertainty in relating a person to an event, action or property.

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Date: November 08, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, news

News: DHS will scan payment cards at borders

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will scan payment cards at borders: Travelers leaving or entering the U.S. have to declare aggregated cash and other monetary instruments exceeding $10,000. Under a proposed amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act, FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) will also add the value of prepaid cards to this. The DHS develops advanced handheld card readers to differentiate between a credit card, a debit card, and a prepaid card.

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Date: November 08, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, howto

Secure and professional Bitcoin OTC exchanges

The article Necessary conditions for the long-term success of Bitcoin has shown why widespread availability of over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin exchangers is crucial for Bitcoin to succeed in the long-run and give us more freedom. This article will explain how to exchange Bitcoin OTC securely and professionally. It should be of interest for Bitcoin users who want to get their coins anonymously from OTC exchangers and for people who want to earn a second income as Bitcoin OTC exchangers in the counter-economy.

If you are dealing Bitcoin on the OTC market you have to consider two kinds of enemies: the state and evil customers (for example, fraudsters). To deal securely you have to mitigate the corresponding risks. That is, you have to drive up the cost of a successful attack and make it unlikely.

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Date: November 07, 2012
Filed in: frontpage, opinion

Necessary conditions for the long-term success of Bitcoin

In this article I present my answer to the the question: What does Bitcoin need to succeed in the long-run? Before we consider the question, let’s put Bitcoin into the wider context of the counter-economy.

The Counter-Economy

The counter-economy (a.k.a. the informal economy) in general is all economic activity which is not fully regulated, taxed, or controlled by the state. In its simplest form it is a Lemonade stand which operates without a license, it partly includes a mom-and-pop store which optimizes its taxes by running some of its business off the books, and in the dark corners of it you can find completely separate market places like Silk Road.

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