Staying private online is easier said than done, but a few services are popping up that promise to shield your conversations from prying eyes. The Signal messaging app, previously known as TextSecure, comes to mind. But the WhatsApp team has been working on securing its messages using some of the same code, and now, after testing things out last month, the service is ready to roll out end-to-end encryption to all users. Read More
Since Game of Thrones seems to revel in jerking us around and House of Cards is now disturbingly close to believable, USA's cyberpunk drama Mr. Robot is Android Police's pick for cable TV binge-watching. While it's not so deep in its own hacker lore that it's incomprehensible to the layman, it's surprisingly accurate in its realistic and often low-tech methods of showing hacking and counter-hacking techniques. One of those techniques is using ProtonMail, an encrypted email service that makes FBI analysts shake their fists like cartoon villains.
Considering that ProtonMail claims over a million users for its secure email system, it's kind of amazing that it took them this long to create an Android mail client. Read More
You might have heard that Amazon disabled the option for software encryption in the latest version of its Android-based Fire OS for the Kindle Fire series of tablets. (This isn't new - Fire OS 5 has been rolling out to various tablets since last year.) And if you read news that isn't Android Police, you probably also know that it's not the biggest story involving encryption right now. After consumer backlash following the Apple-FBI encryption case, Engadget reports that Amazon says it will return software encryption in the next major update.
Customers might have had something to say about the loss of encryption capabilities even without the highly public spat between Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino iPhone case. Read More
Two bills recently passed in the states of New York and California that aim to weaken smartphone security in order to combat crime. The laws would prevent the sale of smartphones with full-disk encryption that could not be unlocked by the manufacturer (at the request of law enforcement). In response, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, a Democrat, and Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, a Republican, have proposed a bill, the Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications (ENCRYPT) Act of 2016, that would block state-level attempts to ban encryption on smartphones sold in the US.
The bipartisan bill addresses multiple issues. Read More
The Turing phone, advertised as "unhackable," looks and sounds like a handset that would never see the light of day. Call it a work of science fiction, a fanboy's wet dream of a device materialized out of Robotech. But prototypes exist and pre-orders have gone live. Thing is, that promised shipment date of December 18th has been delayed. Read More
The tireless developers at Team Win released their custom Android recovery for the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X last week, but at the time it didn't support decryption. This makes working with the stock software (which Google encrypts by default, gleefully thumbing their noses at the NSA and FBI in a show of customer protection) somewhat tricky. But ROM flashers and phone modders can now use the latest version of TWRP on the Nexus 6P with the encrypted stock software, or any other ROM that uses the feature. The latest version is 22.214.171.124. Read More
With every major Android release comes a new version of Google's not-so-famous Android Compatibility Definition Document. As reading goes, it is roughly between the excitement level of "doing your taxes" and "doing somebody else's taxes." Which is to say, I am well-caffeinated this morning. Anyway, the newest version of the CDD for Android 6.0 contains a change we've been on the lookout for since Lollipop was announced last year: mandatory full-disk encryption.
Since the announcement of encryption being enabled by default of the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, Google has been on the encryption warpath (rightfully so!), and did in fact attempt to make this change in the initial Lollipop CDD back in January. Read More
Since the Snowden leaks began back in 2013, there has been a justifiable increase in public scrutiny of the US federal government's attitudes towards surveillance and information access. So when President Obama voiced the opinion that encrypted files should be accessible to law enforcement (presumably via some kind of backdoor or exclusive decryption method), privacy advocates joined security experts in a nationwide groan. Thankfully the administration seems to have changed its tune nine months later.
According to a report by Reuters, White house spokesman Mark Stroh said that the administration is no longer looking to introduce encryption-weakening legislation to Congress. Read More