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Thread: Encrypted Messaging

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    Encrypted Messaging

    Something that has been in the news recently is the case where the authorities are 99% certain that there is some relevant information regarding the London Terrorist incident to be found on his WhatsApp account, but due to the encryption protocol are unable to access it, and WhatsApp are refusing to allow them access to this.

    Therein lies the ethical question. What price the cost of Privacy?

    Personally, I am all in favour of encrypted privacy, as it is the best defence against Spammers, Scammers & Identity Theft & all sorts of Cyber Security. However, I believe that when it comes to National / International Security & other levels of Criminal Investigation, then the relevant authorities should be allowed access to this. I have always been a believer of the "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" principle. However, I am also aware of the strong leaning from others towards it being the "Thin end of the wedge towards Big Brother". Remember, this isn't merely restricted to acts of Terrorism, but a plethora of other criminal activities as well. After all, the security of WhatsApp encryption is a Godsend for Paedophiles to share their images, for example. Is this a valid argument or is it just Scaremongering?

    Opinions?

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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by FourPart View Post
    due to the encryption protocol are unable to access it, and WhatsApp are refusing to allow them access to this.
    That's not true at all.

    The WhatsApp encryption protocol isn't a secret. Anyone can see the protocol. What's secret is the one-time keys protecting a single message. Nobody, including WhatsApp the company, knows the secret keys - they're made when needed and thrown away immediately afterwards.

    The WhatsApp code encrypts the content from the sending phone all the way to the receiving phone. It can't be decrypted by anyone along the route. It can't be decrypted by WhatsApp the company. It can only be decrypted by WhatsApp the app, at the one handset to which it was sent.

    The government can - and does - plant monitoring patches onto any Apple or Android phone used by someone they consider suspicious, and that patch will copy all the WhatsApp messages in cleartext to the government agency who's monitoring it.

    If the government doesn't have a patch on a specific handset then they don't get to see the content. They can't go back and check what was sent unless they had a monitoring patch in place at the time. They weren't, they say, monitoring the chap in Westminster's phone though I can think of several good reasons why they might be lying when they claim that.

    The government could, if it chooses to, put the patch on every phone in England and see the plaintext of any WhatsApp messages after an event. That's their option, it's easy to do, and it would work.

    As for putting a backdoor into WhatsApp itself, on the other hand, it is absolutely impossible to do that and prevent crooks from using the backdoor too. That's a process called reverse engineering. No code can contain a secret. If code has a backdoor then reverse engineering will tell any skilled coder how to use the backdoor. The backdoor might consist of a weakened protocol instead of an override login but again, reverse engineering would show a criminal how to take advantage of that weakness and read encrypted messages too.

    What crooks do at the moment is they put patches onto phones when they can. They get permission from the phone owner by social engineering - that's what we used to call lying. Then they steal bank account logins and steal money. Stealing money on a phone has nothing to do with encryption, it's to do with some daft prat giving consent to a bogus app to watch his keystrokes.

    Perhaps the government could settle for every phone in the country carrying the government patch from the moment of manufacture, with the code of the patch guaranteeing that the only destination it could send its intercepts to is a government server. That would work, that would be legal and it wouldn't help criminals.

    Putting a backdoor into WhatsApp would let any aware criminal, not just the government, see what people were writing to each other.

    There are a hundred apps like WhatsApp. Putting a government-access backdoor into each of those, one app company at a time, seems a major undertaking. A hundred new WhatsApp-like apps with no backdoor would spring into existence the following week. Putting one keystroke monitor patch onto each phone for the government, to watch the traffic on any of those hundred WhatsApp-like apps, seems more of a possibility.

    Spammers, Scammers & Identity Thefters never ever break any encryption on a phone, they invariably fool people into giving permission for the criminal to be told what's being typed or stored on the phone. The time when they might break encryption is if they steal millions of weakly-encrypted login passwords and usernames from an online company, if the encryption they're breaking at that level is badly constructed which it very often is.
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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    Last time this happened the (US) government went to the Israelis and they decrypted it for them - secure is a relative term.

    Mind you, I think they were only following form and they had a back door all the time - just couldn't be seen to be using it.

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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    That wasn't a messaging protocol, it was the unlock key to make the storage content visible.

    Apple had coded a memory-wipe lockout after ten tries, and had taken steps to prevent the memory being copied elsewhere and a million tries being performed for all possible six-digit access codes.

    The agents hadn't made ten tries so the memory was intact. The bypass was in successfully taking the memory copy despite the attempted barrier Apple had put in place.

    WhatsApp wipes memory securely after the message exchange, the message content would have been gone by then if it had been deleted or not stored.
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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    If you are involved in any kind of criminal activity you should be investigated, and exposed, right down the label on your underwear.
    You committed a crime, you loose your rights.
    Truly this world has lost sight of consequences. Maybe if there were harsher consequences there would be a few less crimes.
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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by minks View Post
    If you are involved in any kind of criminal activity you should be investigated, and exposed, right down the label on your underwear.
    You committed a crime, you loose your rights.
    Truly this world has lost sight of consequences. Maybe if there were harsher consequences there would be a few less crimes.
    Perhaps you could give your opinion on whether you should lose your rights - if indeed you actually have any right to privacy at all - before you commit a crime. Everything discussed in this context, by Amber Rudd (our Police Politician) or the Prime Minister, is about whether someone suspected of potentially becoming a criminal should be bugged. Do you insist (you seem to, if I'm reading your post right) on there being evidence that they're involved in any kind of criminal activity? Or is suspicion sufficient.
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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    you committed a crime you loose your rights.
    Perhaps my wording is incorrect, you are convicted of a crime, you loose your rights. Authorities can look further into your activities and dig deeper.
    Not suspected of doing a crime. Gosh then we will all be bugged.
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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by minks View Post
    you committed a crime you loose your rights.
    Perhaps my wording is incorrect, you are convicted of a crime, you loose your rights. Authorities can look further into your activities and dig deeper.
    Not suspected of doing a crime. Gosh then we will all be bugged.
    So what's wrong with the current law, then? The chap in the background of this thread committed a crime and he was shot dead by government authority within two minutes of doing it. I've not seen anything saying that was the wrong outcome. Who do you want to bug?
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    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

    Meh I don't follow the current laws on this anywhere, I am just of the belief that once convicted, your rights to privacy should be revoked because you may be a part of a much larger ring of crime.
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    Re: Encrypted Messaging

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    If the bugger was still alive and in custody, they'd be able to read the missing message. The only reason the secret no longer exists is that he can no longer recall it for the authorities.

    The same applies to that rather bigger fish Osama Bin Laden too, of course.
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    Who has a spare two minutes to play in this month's FG Trivia game!

    The watch of your vision has become reasonable today.

    It’s normal. You must provoke. You must insult the belief of all monotheists. You must make fun of the belief of all monotheists.
    From the upper tier of the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough Stadium, I watched the events of that day unfold with horror.
    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
    Write that word in the blood

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