Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

9/16/2013
10:36 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Post-NSA Leaks, Android Encrypted Texting Arrives

New Android apps bring secure texting to "the masses"

A free Android app for sending encrypted text messages was released today amid escalating privacy concerns that the NSA overstepped its authority in its capture of communications and may have worked to weaken encryption standards.

Wickr's announcement followed that of Silent Circle, which earlier this month began offering a similar free app for its subscribers. Both companies already had offered an iOS version of encrypted text-messaging, but now have added Android secure texting to the mix. Wickr's Android texting app is free. The new apps could potentially propel encrypted texting to the mainstream, experts say.

The new Android encrypted messaging services come on the heels of the shutdown of two encrypted email services -- Lavabit, which closed its doors altogether, and Silent Circle, which dropped its Silent Mail service in the fallout from the Edward Snowden leaks about the NSA's spying programs. Ladar Levison, owner and operator of encrypted email company Lavabit, said he shuttered his business after being faced with having "to become complicit in crimes against the American people," a statement experts say indicates Lavabit may have been pressured to give up customer information or deal with an eavesdropping warrant by the feds.

The New York Times reported last week that the Snowden documents "suggest" the NSA "generated one of the random number generators used in a 2006 N.I.S.T. standard -- called the Dual EC DRBG standard -- which contains a back door for the N.S.A."

[The NSA's systematic crypto-cracking and other tactics have changed the data-protection game for enterprises. See Keep Calm, Keep Encrypting -- With A Few Caveats .]

While some encrypted email services have struggled to find a way to survive commercially post-Snowden leaks, secure text-messaging now is available to the masses.

Nico Sell, CEO and co-founder of Wickr and r00tz, says Wickr agrees with Lavabit's farewell message: Don't trust any U.S. company with your personal information. "We agree completely. This is why we built Wickr to be a zero-knowledge system. We have no keys and no information," Sell said in an email interview. "With this type of architecture, the U.S. is the best place to be to offer private communications to the world. It is also the best place to keep our servers."

Wickr anonymizes users' contacts and can't read the text messages or any content sent by the user. "Therefore, no criminal or rogue government can take them from us," said Robert Statica, co-founder and CTO of Wickr, today in a blog post announcing the new Android service. "It is our commitment to keep our users communications between only them and the intended recipient."

Silent Circle's Silent Text works similarly: no logging of user metadata, and encryption keys reside on users' devices. Both apps also autodelete messages to leave no trace.

One of the challenges of private, anonymous texting is the interface with user contact lists. Sell says Wickr doesn't use address books like many other messaging apps do. "The next update will have an automated connect system that is responsible. We hope this to be a model for all future apps," she says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
anon9865178747
50%
50%
anon9865178747,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2014 | 12:24:21 PM
re: Post-NSA Leaks, Android Encrypted Texting Arrives
Have you ever been accused of mass texting your friends? With MasSMS, impersonal mass text messages will be a thing of the past. MasSMS allows users to customize mass text messages to include each of your recipient's name within the message. This feature will allow users to mass text large groups of people while still personalizing the experience for the end-recipient.

Come join our #Google+community(https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/118041941491247254748) to become a Beta Tester and get all the latest features and enhancements to our Text Messaging replacement app.

Any and all feedback is welcome. Thanks.
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/118041941491247254748

#Android #sms
MROBINSON000
50%
50%
MROBINSON000,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/20/2013 | 11:38:07 AM
re: Post-NSA Leaks, Android Encrypted Texting Arrives
Encrypted texting is a solution for Android users. In addition, hereGs a list with some of the most common flaws in Android development, and a section on how to properly remediate them. This article is mainly focused on Android development, but it applies to other categories as well http://blog.securityinnovation...
For Cybersecurity to Be Proactive, Terrains Must Be Mapped
Craig Harber, Chief Technology Officer at Fidelis Cybersecurity,  10/8/2019
A Realistic Threat Model for the Masses
Lysa Myers, Security Researcher, ESET,  10/9/2019
USB Drive Security Still Lags
Dark Reading Staff 10/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-17537
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-13
Jiangnan Online Judge (aka jnoj) 0.8.0 has Directory Traversal for file deletion via the web/polygon/problem/deletefile?id=1&name=../ substring.
CVE-2019-17538
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-13
Jiangnan Online Judge (aka jnoj) 0.8.0 has Directory Traversal for file reading via the web/polygon/problem/viewfile?id=1&name=../ substring.
CVE-2019-17535
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-13
Gila CMS through 1.11.4 allows blog-list.php XSS, in both the gila-blog and gila-mag themes, via the search parameter, a related issue to CVE-2019-9647.
CVE-2019-17536
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-13
Gila CMS through 1.11.4 allows Unrestricted Upload of a File with a Dangerous Type via the moveAction function in core/controllers/fm.php. The attacker needs to use admin/media_upload and fm/move.
CVE-2019-17533
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-13
Mat_VarReadNextInfo4 in mat4.c in MATIO 1.5.17 omits a certain '\0' character, leading to a heap-based buffer over-read in strdup_vprintf when uninitialized memory is accessed.