Authors Posts by Ayush Saraswat

Ayush Saraswat

426 POSTS 1 COMMENTS
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

Yes, Google wants you to keep your bits and bytes as safe as possible through encryption.
With the launch of Android 5.0 Lollipop last year, Google wanted to make full disk Encryption mandatory, but unfortunately, the idea did not go too well.
However, Google thinks the idea will go right this time, and it will try again to require full-disk encryption by default for devices that release with the newest Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher versions.
Google has published the new version of the Android Compatibility Definition Document (PDF), mandating Android encryption with a couple of exceptions in Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The document reads:

“For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience.”

New smartphones and tablets that ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and have certain performance standard must be encrypted by default.

The new Android Compatibility Definition Document for Marshmallow states: If the device implementation supports a secure lock screen… then the device MUST support fulldisk encryption [Resources, 1 32] of the application private data (/data partition), as well as the application shared storage partition (/sdcard partition) if it is a permanent, non-removable part of the device.

For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience. If a device implementation is already launched on an earlier Android version with full-disk encryption disabled by default, such a device cannot meet the requirement through a system software update and thus MAY be exempted.

Encryption MUST use AES with a key of 1 28-bits (or greater) and a mode designed for storage (for example, AES-XTS, AES-CBC-ESSIV). The encryption key MUST NOT be written to storage at any time without being encrypted.

What is Full Disk Encryption?

Full disk encryption (FDE) is the process of encoding all user’s data on an Android device using an encrypted key. Once encrypted, all data on the device is automatically encrypted before ever written to disk.
In turn, the data is automatically decrypted before it returns to any calling process that asks for it. All you need is the correct key.
Full Disk Encryption is done with a kernel feature that acts directly on the block layer of the storage and has been available in devices since Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
However, Android 6.0 Marshmallow brings some pretty big changes and improvements in the overall working of the full disk encryption.
New Android devices running Marshmallow and having AES crypto performance above 50MiB-per-second require supporting encryption of:
  • The private user data partition (/data)
  • The public data partition (/sdcard)
In other words, Full Disk Encryption is damned secure, and Google has done a pretty good job by making full disk encryption mandatory on Android devices.

What’s the Problem with Full Disk Encryption?

Last year when Google implemented full disk encryption by default on the Nexus 6 devices, you had probably heard about poor device performance for disk reading and writing.
It’s true — the problem with full-disk encryption is a hit on the device performance because when you need to encrypt or decrypt on the fly, disk Input/Output speeds suffer.
In short, there are some drawbacks if encryption becomes mandatory:
  1. Slower Performance: As mentioned above, Encryption always adds some overhead, which causes your device a bit slower.
  2. Encryption is One-Way Only: If you forget the decryption key, you’ll need to factory reset your device that will eventually erase all the data stored on your phone.
 

Do we Really Need Full Disk Encryption By Default?

In older devices, there is an option to enable full disk encryption, but by default it is turned OFF. This left us with a choice — Do we need full disk encryption?
Many of us will find full disk encryption useful. This helps us to keep secure our sensitive information that we never, ever want to fall into the wrong hands. Full disk encryption also keeps our data secure from snoopers and government agencies who need to see it.
But for others, just the standard lock screen security is enough. If they lose their phone, they have Android Device Manager or other utilities to remotely wipe their data. They quickly change their passwords of Google and other accounts, and they even don’t have a reason to fear any consequences if government snoops into their data.
So, do you need Full Disk Encryption by Default? Share your views with us; Hit the comments below.

Apple is kicking out applications that collect personal data in violation of the company’s privacy policies from its online store, the tech giant said Monday.

The iPhone maker made the announcement a day after researchers discovered hundreds of apps using Chinese advertising software that extracts “personally identifiable user information.”

Apple confirmed that discovery Monday.

“We’ve identified a group of apps that are using a third-party advertising SDK (software development kit), developed by Youmi, a mobile advertising provider, that… gather private information, such as user email addresses and device identifiers, and route data to its company server,” the California-based company said in a statement to AFP.

“This is a violation of our security and privacy guidelines. The apps using Youmi’s SDK will be removed from the App Store and any new apps submitted to the App Store using this SDK will be rejected.

“We are working closely with developers to help them get updated versions of their apps that are safe for customers and in compliance with our guidelines back in the App Store quickly.”

Apple does not allow third-party applications to share data about a user without obtaining users’ permission, and it rejects apps that require users to share personal information, such as email addresses or birth dates.

Researchers at the mobile analytics firm SourceDNA said Sunday they had discovered hundreds of apps that extract personal information, saying it was “the first time we’ve seen iOS apps successfully bypass the app review process.”

“But, based on what we learned, it might not be the last.”

The researchers said they found 256 apps with an estimated one million downloads that have a version of Youmi that violates user privacy.

“Most of the developers are located in China,” the researchers said in a blog post. “We believe the developers of these apps aren’t aware of this since the SDK is delivered in binary form, obfuscated, and user info is uploaded to Youmi’s server.”

Facebook just launched a new notification feature that will alert you if the social network strongly suspects that your account is being hijacked or targeted by hackers working in the interest of a nation-state.
The message, which you can see below, recommends users to turn ON “Login Approvals,” so that their Facebook accounts can only be accessed using stronger two-factor authentication.
Facebook insists that some necessary steps are already taken to secure users’ Facebook accounts that may be targeted by hackers, but the company has also stepped up to directly warn its users when a government-sponsored attack is under away.
In a blog post published Saturday, Facebook Chief Security Officer (CSO) Alex Stamos announced that this step to secure accounts is necessary “because these types of attacks tend to be more advanced and dangerous than others.”

Stamos added that “it’s important to understand that this warning is not related to any compromise of Facebook’s platform or systems and that having an account compromised in this manner may indicate that your computer or mobile device has been infected with malware. Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace these systems if possible.”

But, this raises a question in my mind:
How exactly does the social network know that an account is being targeted by a government-sponsored hacker?
Facebook isn’t disclosing how it would be able to differentiate between accounts compromised by a nation-state’s hacker and smaller-scale attacker, saying that it has to “protect the integrity” of its methods and processes.
However, the social network giant promises that the company will only use this new warning notification “in situations where the evidence strongly supports [their] conclusion.”
Facebook recommends its users to:
  • Rebuild or Replace any system that may have been infected with malware
  • Turn ON Login Approvals
Enabling login approvals is a good practice to help users keep outsiders from logging into their accounts. In this case, whenever your Facebook account is accessed via new browser or device, the company will send a code to your mobile phone.
So next time when you get any notification from Facebook, take the matter seriously.
Source : THN

A Kosovan man has been arrested in Malaysia for allegedly hacking into a computer database and providing information on US security officials to the so-called Islamic State group.

The man, who is in his 20s, was detained on 15 September, Malaysian police said in a statement on Thursday.

Separately, the US identified him as Ardit Ferizi, thought to head a hacker group called Kosova Hacker’s Security (KHS).

Mr Ferizi will be extradited to the US.

A statement from the US Department of Justice said Mr Ferizi, known by his moniker “Th3Dir3ctorY”, hacked into a US company’s systems in order to take the personal details of 1,351 US military and government staff.

He will be charged with computer hacking and identity theft, and faces up to 35 years in jail, the statement added.

‘Right hand man’

Mr Ferizi entered Malaysia in August last year to study computer science in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police said.

Between June and August this year, Mr Ferizi is alleged to have passed the data on to IS member Junaid Hussain, also known as Abu Hussain al-Britani, who later posted the details online along with a threat to target the officials.

“Early investigation found the suspect communicated with one of the right-hand man of IS terrorist group in Syria to hack a few servers containing information and details of US security personnel and team,” Malaysian police said.

“The details were then transferred to the operation unit of the IS group for further action,” they added.

Malaysia has arrested more than 100 people this year, suspected of links to IS, including ten people in August – six of them members of Malaysia’s security forces.

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On Thursday some major websites including Netflix, Uber and the BBC went down simultaneously in some areas of the US, but were soon up again in most cases.

Dozens of major websites including Netflix, Uber and the BBC went down simultaneously in some areas of the US, but were soon up again in most cases.

The cause of the crashes on Thursday remained unclear, but some appeared connected to trouble at a cloud service relied on by companies, although that did not stop the social media rumour and conspiracy mill from going into overdrive.

“We’re aware that members are experiencing issues streaming on all devices,” streaming television service Netflix said in a tweet at its customer service Twitter account.

“We’re working to resolve the problem.”

Netflix spokesman Joris Evers told AFP that the outage was the result of “technical issues” at an UltraDNS cloud service provided by Neustar and affected mostly US subscribers.

“UltraDNS is working to address the issue,” Evers said.

“We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Neustar confirmed in a tweet that there was an issue with its UltraDNS.

Internet trouble tracker CurrentlyDown.com displayed a list of two dozen websites that were or had been out of service on Thursday.

The list also included Ameritrade — an online broker — and The Economist.

It was unclear whether all those affected relied on UltraDNS, but ride-sharing service Uber blamed its problems on that.

The outages sparked chatter at Twitter and other social networks.

“Netflix, HBOGo, Chase Bank, Uber, ETrade… all websites down at the same time,” tweeted Joseph Colarusso from the Twitter account @jcolarusso.

“Coincidence or Cyber Attack?” he added.

The UltraDNS service was hit by an outage affecting customers in the eastern United States late afternoon local time, according to Neustar spokeswoman Lara Wyss.

“We can confirm this is not a DDoS attack,” Wyss told AFP, referring to a style of cyber attack in which websites are intentionally overloaded with requests for service and crash under the stress.

Most of the websites that stumbled or fell were back up and running by mid-evening East Coast time, according to CurrentlyDown.

“Some of our clients experienced sporadic difficulty accessing some of our websites,” Ameritrade told AFP.

NEW DELHI: Instant messaging platform Hike messenger on Thursday launched a new feature named Hike Direct which will allow the app to function without an internet connection and also said that it has reached a user base of over 70 million.

“At a point of time in the country where several people are yet to come online, hike Direct will connect users in a never before seen revolutionary way. The feature can work without Wi-Fi or mobile data and allow users to send photos, stickers, files and messages to anyone who is also on the hike network,” said Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and chief executive of hike messenger.

“Files as large as 70 MB can be sent in over 10 seconds,” Mittal added.

Although the feature can work without internet, it won’t work outside a 100-metre radius. The technology used to create the feature is same as the Wi-Fi direct technology available in most smartphones today.

Mittal said the messaging application was growing at a pace of 100% year-on-year. “Currently we are processing 20 billion messages monthly and people are spending at least 140 minutes on the app on a weekly basis.”

Recently, the messaging platform released a feature that would allow users free group calling on the app, connecting up to 100 people at the same time.
The Bharti Softbank backed messaging app has released a flurry of new features which include free stickers in local languages, data transfer option up to 100 MB and making the platform 4G ready, to expand its consumer base in the country which is over 35 million.
Bharti Softbank is a joint venture between Bharti Group and Japan’s Softbank. Other popular rivals like WhatsApp and Viber, respectively, have a user base of 900 million and over 40 million.
The messaging platform had also secured $65 million (Rs 400 crore) in funding in the middle of last year from a group of overseas investors led by Tiger Global Management.

Motorola has finally offered official confirmation about the Moto G update schedule that involves Google’s latest operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Moto G Marshmallow udpate had been an uncertainty at one point as people believed the company would not support a handset that is now more than two years old like the Moto G. Nonetheless, the Moto G from 2013 was one of the best smartphones on the mid-range market and Motorola decided it would be best for everyone to keep updating the device.

As such, the entire Moto G line-up, including the first, second and third generation models, will be updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Google unveiled the updated OS last month during the launch event of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6X and while the OS hasn’t been visually changed, the biggest upgrades are under the surface and will impact performance and battery life, as well as user experience the most.

The Moto G update should be released within 90 days of Google publicly releasing the original builds for Marshmallow. Since the Mountain View search engine giant has already done that, Motorola fans now just have to stay patient. Nexus smartphones from last year will be the first ones to get the new update, aside from the devices launched with it on board, but Motorola is right next in line.

Just like last year, the Moto G update is an important one for users and for Motorola as it brings with it an improved user experience with more features, improved Google Now and a more cemented integration between hardware, software, Android and Motorola’s own app suite. The Moto G update could arrive as early as next week, though, seeing as Android One handsets in India are already receiving their own share of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The safest release date for the Moto G Marshmallow update would be December, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Motorola speed things up a bit. The company is among the fastest to roll out updates and thanks to its previous and current relationship with Google, Motorola can keep that reputation up for a while longer. All those awaiting the Moto G update can also scour community forums to find out about available ROMs that might get them the fresh user experience without the wait.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” campaign has evoked yet another controversy – this time over the appointment of brand ambassadors for the campaign.

Even as news was doing the rounds that self-proclaimed “ethical hacker” Ankit Fadia, 30, has been named brand ambassador for the initiative, a statement by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology on Tuesday morning first denied any such claim.

“There were certain news reports that there is a move to appoint a brand ambassador for ‘Digital India’ programme of the government. This is to clarify that there has been no such move to appoint a brand ambassador as reported,” it said.

Curiously, an hour after the post on the government’s publicity web site, it was withdrawn. But by evening, it confirmed Fadia’s appointment, along with three others – Satwat Jagwani and Krati Tiwari, both IIT toppers, and computer scientist Pranav Mistry of Samsung USA.

In the interim, however, the “ethical hacker” was in a fix.

Fadia, who shot to fame when he was all of 15 with his book “Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking”, stood his ground and said the appointment letter was issued on July 1 and signed by then IT secretary Ram Sewak Sharma, now chairman of the telecom watchdog.

“Yes! I posted the certificate on Facebook yesterday. I have emails from government as proof as well,” Fadia told IANS in an SMS. The said post on Facebook alluded to his claims, pointing out that he had been retained for a period of one year to propagate products and applications.

His Facebook post also said: “Humbled and honoured to be appointed as one of the brand ambassadors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative.”

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The former employee says he was surprised when the world famous domain name was made available for him to buy.

A man has successfully bought Google.com – the domain name for the world’s most popular website – for just $12.

Sanmay Ved was using Google’s new domain sale service when he tried typing in the well-known address.

He was shocked when it was shown as available to buy, so he clicked the ‘add to cart’ button.

He said: “I was hoping I would get an error at sometime saying transaction did not go through, but I was able to complete the purchase, and my credit card was actually charged.”

After the purchase was completed, he received two emails confirming the bargain.

Ownership was officially transferred to him, but minutes later he received an email from Google saying they had cancelled the order.

Mr Ved – a former Google employee – says he has contacted the firm’s security team to alert them to the breach.

The incident has echoes of an embarrassing lapse by Microsoft in 2003, when it forgot to renew its Hotmail.co.uk domain name.

It was returned to the open market when ownership expired, and bought by a member of the public.

Thankfully for Microsoft, they had good intentions and immediately contacted the firm and arranged to hand it over.

Google recently rebranded itself as Alphabet, bringing all of its subsidiaries – including the Google search engine – under one umbrella organisation.

Yet Alphabet.com is owned by car manufacturer BMW, an apparent oversight by the tech giant.

New Delhi: Seems like India and Pakistan are locked in a digital war!
Late Saturday night, the official website of the Kerala Government: kerala.gov.in, was hacked by a person identifying himself as Faisal Afzal aka ‘Faisal 1337′ for reasons unknown.

Well, someone had to retaliate! Within a few hours of the attack, an Indian hacking group hacked more than 250 Pakistani websites, which included official website of Pakistan’s President, official website of Pakistani Govt., official website of Pakistani Railways.

Going by the name, “The Mallu Cyber Soldiers” the group claimed responsibility of the retaliation and announced their act as payback to the Pakistani hack of the Kerala Government’s website.

They also posted a message on their Facebook page, “!!Message to Script Kiddies of Pakistan ….Do not touch Indian Websites !!! Now your 46 Pakistan government websites got crashed and 4 educational websites got defaced. This is a small payback for hacking kerala.gov.in. Faisal 1337 go home kiddo, you are F*ucked.

 

Source : Zee News

We all know that Facebook is trying very hard to bring its Internet.org to India. It was disallowed in India and to get it passed, it is now being sold as “Free Basics”. Recently, they launched a super cool looking feature to change your profile picture to one with tricolour hues. This is supposed to be your show of support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative.

Lakhs of people just loved this cool feature and started changing their profile pics as soon as they saw these giants changing their profile picture. However, please beware, Facebook is actually counting each DP change to as your support for its on “Internet.org” in India.

Remember, it took a number of Internet influencers almost a month to educate people about Net Neutrality and garner about a million and a half signatures against Airtel’s Zero and Facebook’s Internet.org. With a little bit of manipulation, Facebook managed to garner millions of signatures in favour of enabling Internet.org and breaking Internet.org overnight. In a response to DoT, Facebook announced that 17 million people have supported the Internet.org service. The company has published all comments received (dropbox link/via) – which was (I believe) mostly collected from its CAN’T-SAY-NO-POLLS as quoted by nextbigwhat

This blatant manipulation that Facebook is capable of is the exact reason why Internet.org is harmful for the Internet. The hidden agenda is ‘Internet.org’  – the free Internet that will kill Internet freedom and will hurt the startup ecosystem as well.

Now, you know that Internet.org is not the best thing for netizens. You may ask how? They clearly mentioned the pic as Internet.org Profile Picture.

What Really Happens When You Change Your Profile Pic?

A look at the source code and well, the profile pic is NOT for the support of Digital India, but for Facebook’s Internet.org initiative.

If you clearly observe the highlight in blue above, it says that the name given to the profile picture is InternetorgProfilePicture ie.. the Facebook’s initiative. People, without noticing this, changed their profile pictures, in effect offering support for Internet.org.

Digital India is a great initiative that will lead to a lot of opportunities in India. However, we must make sure that we support Digital India and not ‘Facebook’s Digital India’.

Source : The Logical Indian

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