BitTorrent’s Highly Secure Messenger Service

BitTorrent's Highly Secure Messenger Service

new bittorrent messenger serviceBitTorrent announced today in a blog post that the company plans on making a completely secure chat messaging service. How secure? Completely secure. So secure that nobody but the sender and recipient can actually read a chat message. Wait — regular chat messages aren't secure?

Not in the least! Does that surprise you? Did you think that sending messages via a chat messenger meant your thoughts and ideas were kept under wraps? I hate to burst that bubble, but you have more to worry about than the NSA! When it comes to chat services, your messages aren't secure at all. Here's why.

BitTorrent's Highly Secure Messenger Service: Collecting Data

Have you ever wondered why some messenger services are completely free of charge? There's no such thing as free! Companies that offer these so-called free services are actually collecting information about you. Why? It's all about marketing. The most information that they can collect, the more information that they can sell – or, worse, use to target you when trying to sell something.

Even phone messenger services aren't free and clear of spying woes. If your company owns your phone, you can bet that the information you send and receive is not as secure as you think it is. Even if your company doesn't own your phone, developers and government organizations alike can read what you're writing. Yikes! What about cloud-based services that you use to send data?

BitTorrent's Highly Secure Messenger Service: Is the Cloud Secure?

Service like Dropbox are supposed to be highly secure, but even Drop-box has faced its share of issues before. Plus, we have to remember that the NSA exists. This is precisely why BitTorrent has decided to create a chat that is truly impenetrable. How?

BitTorrent plans to use a hash table, forward secrecy, and public key encryption to keep your messages safe. Basically, it will be really hard for anyone to tap into your messages no matter how hard they try. The messages sent through the new Bit-torrent service aren't stored on a server, so they are completely secure.

BitTorrent's Highly Secure Messenger Service: Where to Get It

The Bit Torrent messenger service is still in development phase, and that means that you can't test it out right now. But, you can go to the Bit Torrent site and ask to be admitted to the beta program. From there, you may be able to snag a testing spot. There's no doubt that the new private messenger service will be in high demand when it is unveiled.

With the NSA still operational and hackers cutting into messenger services daily, nothing that you send is secure anymore. So, the next time you wonder if the message you've sent is a secure one, just remember this: nothing in this world is still private. I know, it's a scary thought, but it's one that you'll want to keep in mind whenever you decide to send a message that could get you fired, or otherwise.

What do you think about Bit-torrent's new messenger service? Is this something that you will start to use right away once it's released?

African Startups Are Working on Internet Security

African Startups Working on Internet Security

african startups securityAside from the occasional YouTube video from John McAffee, the Western world doesn't hear much about security startups. But, these startups are booming in Africa. As the Internet continues to expand and mobile phones become something vital, African startups are focusing on security matters now more than ever before.

Best Internet Security Providers

Due to the newness of smartphones and the Internet in some parts of Africa, cyber-crime laws are lax. This is, however, something that various countries in Africa are working tirelessly to change.

African Startups Working on Internet Security: Internet Security is Crucial

If you think back to the first website, you may remember that security surrounding this site was non-existent. This is to be expected with any kind of new technology. When new tech arrives, trying to keep that tech locked down and impenetrable to outsiders can be a rough ride – and that's exactly what African countries are facing right now.

As companies like Samsung and Huawei release more and more smartphones into African countries, tech firms attempting to build cyber crime laws and keep hackers out are fighting an uphill battle. The same goes for new cheap hosting companies being built in various African countries, and website owners attempting to keep sites safe.

African Startups Working on Internet Security: eCommerce Is Both a Good and Bad Thing

Any kind of business expansion within a country is positive. In parts of Africa, that kind of growth is the eCommerce kind. Wherever there's a connection, new companies are setting up online shops. That's great, right? It is – only, it's hard for shoppers to buy things from these shops without knowing whether or not those sites are safe.

The same goes for online banking, which is now more popular than ever before in parts of Africa. Banks are embracing the emerging Internet, but those financial institutions have to promise users that security can be found online, and that's not really possible if anti-cyber crime laws are instituted. So, you see, there's a big problem in Africa where technology and security is concerned.

African Startups Working on Internet Security: Solving that Issue

Startups in Africa looking for a way to break into the technology business are focusing on that problem. By setting up security software and helping build anti-cyber crime legislation, these companies are making a lot of headway. Soon, you may see some new Internet security programs coming from African startups. You may also see a lot more eCommerce happening in Africa.

For now, the battle to keep African websites safe from hackers wages on. But, this is all start to change very slowly. It's promising to hear that smartphone companies are targeting African users, and that the Internet is starting to reach far parts of Africa, but cyber security is still a really big issue – one that is, thankfully, being solved.

What do you think about the security problems that African web hosting companies and site owners are facing right now? Is there a simple solution to this issue? Do you expect to see new security companies pop up in Africa soon? Let us know what you think!

Apple Releases NSA Request Details

Apple Releases NSA Request Details

silver apple Apple Releases NSA Request DetailsApple has released the company's first transparency report yesterday. This report details what the NSA asked from the company over the past few years – kind of. You see, the NSA won't let Apple (or any other company, for that matter) disclose specific details. What Apple can tell you is how many times the government asked for data, and Apple has split up the data in the best possible way too.

Here's more on that story.

The Data Split

Apple has divided data into two categories: account requests and device requests. Account requests include any information the NSA sought about personal accounts (including personal data). Device requests includes the number of times that the NSA asked for information about a certain device.

So, how many times did the NSA ask Apple for information about user accounts? According to the newly released PDF, around 3,000 times. How often did Apple comply with these requests? Apple can't reveal that number. The NSA has stated clearly that companies aren't allowed to divulge specifics.

Apple Releases NSA Request Details: Is Apple Collecting Your Data?

Apple has told press that the company does not collect user data. Apple went further to state that other companies do collect this data. We can only assume that Apple is taking a direct stab at Google here. But, like Apple, Google can't reveal any specific details.

Why are companies revealing this information at all? Big companies like Apple, Yahoo, Google and others want to prove to the world that they are not collecting data and aren't part of the government conspiracy. That's a really hard thing to do when the government has told these companies not to give up any real information.

The public wants to see details, but all you'll get right now are some stats that are somewhat vague.

Is More Information Coming?

The government states that letting companies like Apple give up really specific details would be a threat to public security. Let's not forget that the NSA works to keep the U.S. safe from terrorist (and other) attacks, and letting lots of information slip about the NSA's methods might be dangerous (so the story goes).

It's a really fine line between government privacy that's needed and privacy that infringes on citizen rights. It's also a line that Apple and others are having a really hard time straddling. Sure, the people want more details, but Apple can't give those up just yet.

Apple Releases NSA Request Details: More Snowden Leaks

In addition to Apple's latest PDF release, more Snowden leaks point to the fact that the NSA did tap into both Google and Yahoo data centers. This may mean that Google and Yahoo are (and did) store user privacy details, and that those details were given to the NSA. Again, though, companies can't reveal specifics.

So, here's the issue: Apple, Google, and Yahoo need to prove to the public that these companies are safe to trust and use. But, the government won't let those companies give up any really important details about NSA requests. That's a tough situation to be in. It may also be the one reason why Google is thought to be building an offshore data center. Thoughts?

The NSA: We Need What We Love to Hate

nsaI know it's hard not to hate the NSA. But, what if the NSA is needed? I realize it's tough to believe, though it is true. The United States needs a National Security Agency in order to ensure that citizens are safe – and that the country is shielded from outside infiltration.

So, the question become: how can the NSA operate and not infringe upon the rights of citizens?

That's a tough cookie to crack.

Is Security an Illusion?

If you operate a cheap hosting website, you may not have had a brush-in with the NSA, yet. But, if someone that runs a site through your hosting company is questionable or operating illegally, the government may knock on your door. What would you do? You'd probably hand over private details, just to get the government off of your back, right?

This means, in basic terms, that nobody operating a business within the United States is safe from government prying. For the most part, this fact is upsetting. But it's not so upsetting when it comes to the protection of all U.S. citizens. There are, after all, a lot of things that happen on the government level every day – and we aren't privy to most of this information.

The NSA: We Need What We Love to Hate: The Line Between Safety and Privacy

How can the NSA operate without really freaking out U.S. citizens? Is that even possible? Maybe not. Maybe it's best if we don't know what's happening. Maybe people like Edward Snowden are really a threat to our way of life. Maybe it's best to go without knowing what's going on. Maybe.

Or, maybe not. Maybe the government needs to be more open about privacy requests. Then again, it's hard to let the world know what you're doing if you want to keep that information a secret from other governments. It's confusing, isn't it? For now, though, you are under a sort of obligation to hand over any privacy information when the government comes knocking.

Your Obligation As A Cheap Hosting Provider

Owning a cloud hosting or other hosting site does put you in a precarious place. Until the law says otherwise (and it may say otherwise soon enough), here's what you have to do if the government asks for user data:

1. Comply.

That was simple enough, right? Don't want to comply? There's another option:

2. Shut Down.

I know, it's all gloom and doom. But, that's the way this works. You either bow out and state publicly that you won't give in, or you give in privately. Or, if you're like Google, you build a data center on a barge in the middle of the ocean. That could work too.

I'm curious: has the government bothered you about user data? Have you given in? What would you do if this were the case? And, more importantly – can we have a NSA and still keep citizen rights intact?

Ten Ways You Can Be Tracked

You Can Be Tracked

NSA Ten Ways You Can Be TrackedCan I have a show of hands? Who’s feeling a bit paranoid ever since the NSA news spread? Are you feeling better now that this news has quieted down a bit? We haven’t heard much about the NSA in a few weeks, but that definitely doesn’t mean that the government has stopped monitoring what you do. But, wait, let’s go one step further: it’s not just the government that’s spying on your every move.

I thought it might be interesting to note the many ways that you might be spied on – like, right now. Just as you thought you were safe reading this message…okay, maybe not now, but you should know how and when you can be tracked. Ready for that list?

How You Can Be Tracked

  • Anything that has a GPS tracker
  • Through companies that record data like Apple (and others)
  • By police forces in some states where warrants aren’t required
  • By the NSA if you are on the bad list
  • By advertisers seeking to find out what your shopping habits are
  • Pretty much any time you use a phone
  • Whenever you send an email that you think is private
  • Through social networks like Facebook and Twitter and others
  • By Google and other companies if, and when, the NSA comes knocking
  • Through your cheap web hosting company

Is that enough to make you feel really paranoid? Well, don’t start ripping off your nails just yet.

Precautions to Take

To be on the safe side, it helps to always remember that you can be watched by any number of people at once. The best thing to do is to keep this in mind when sending a text or writing an email. Remember: you are being watched and recorded, in most cases. However, it also helps to remember that most people (like the government) are not spying on you – you’d have to be a really bad citizen for that to happen!

What’s the bottom-line here? Keep in mind that everyone from your hosting provider to your phone company can spy on you. But, most of the time, this is for advertising purposes, and not to find out who you are texting all night. I’m also going to throw this one into the mix: if your sending private files on the Internet, make sure that those files are heavily encrypted – the same goes for any cloud storage you purchase.

A Scary World

We live in a world where sites like the Silk Road exist and can be taken down in a heartbeat. That means that there’s not much you can do to make sure your information is kept safe – except to remember that you always have to be cautious!

So, now I want to know: is it right that we are tracked so much? What do you do to avoid this kind of tracking?