Zix Blog

A Voice of Reason from the Encryption Working Group

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 17:52 by Dena Bauckman
In 2016, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee created the Encryption Working Group to look at the challenges law enforcement faces prosecuting crimes with the increasing use of encryption by criminals. Law enforcement organizations refer to the challenges c aused by encrypted data as “going dark,” as it limits their ability to obtain the information and evidence they need. The need for such a working group was emphasized by the standoff between the FBI and Apple over the encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The...
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The Results Are In — People in the U.S. Stand with Encryption

Thu, 03/17/2016 - 05:00 by ZixCorp
Let’s talk about the “E” word. Encryption — it makes the modern world go round. Every time you shop on the Web, submit an online application for an apartment or log into your bank account online, chances are encryption is a part of the transaction (at least you should hope it is). While we — and everyone from the Director of the NSA to Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg— are advocates of the technology and understand its intrinsic value, there are some that harbor a negative opinion of it. With this duality broadcast almost daily in the media, we felt it was...
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New California Data Breach Notification Statute Defines Encryption

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 10:51 by Neil Farquharson
Most readers won’t have noticed California’s updated breach notification statute , due to take effect on January 1st of 2016. However it is worth noting that California often leads the way with new legislation – good or bad – that will usually be followed by the other states in their own good time. Back in 2003, California became the first state to require the issue of security breach notifications. Since then, nearly every state has followed by enacting laws that require organizations who experience a security breach to notify the affected people. This is the third time in as many years that...
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Zix Email Encryption Protects Against Faulty TLS Implementations

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 12:49 by Neil Farquharson
A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan, Google and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign has confirmed what we at Zix have known for a long time: some ISPs create a situation where emails intended to be encrypted are actually sent across the network unencrypted; meaning that they can be intercepted and read by hackers. The STARTTLS instruction is used by networks to initiate TLS secure sessions, thereby ensuring that encrypted emails are sent securely. Unfortunately some ISPs have been choosing to remove the STARTTLS instruction , while others have been setting up...
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Mitnick Interview Goes Live Today

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:47 by Neil Farquharson
You may remember this blog from the last month when I reviewed the then forthcoming Kevin Mitnick video. Well the release date has arrived and today you can watch the forty minute interview of Mitnick by Geoff Bibby. When in college, Mitnick admits to having been bored with the assignments set by his tutors. He uses the term “prankster” often and states that he never hacked a system to make or to steal money. When asked by Bibby what motivated him back then, Mitnick replies “it was [for the] pursuit of knowledge, challenge, and the seduction of adventure.” Clearly for...
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The Oscars, Encryption and Real-Life Heroes

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:51 by Neil Farquharson
As a single man I always found the Oscars a bit of a drag: however as a married man I usually experience the Oscars vicariously – my wife enjoys watching the Oscars and I enjoy watching her. This year however I was delighted to see The Imitation Game win an Oscar. You see Alan Turing, the real-life hero of the movie, was a boyhood hero of mine. Enigma Machine: Photo courtesy of JB Spector, Museum of Science and Industry I was an avid reader of military history, and I could not get enough of the documentaries being shown on the then new BBC 2 television channel. I learned that back in the...
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Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 10:53 by Neil Farquharson
A few days ago, the Future of Life Institute (FLI) published an open letter here , signed by a large number of eminent professors and industry leaders. The impetus for the letter can be traced back to early December when Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist from Cambridge University, warned of the dangers of letting artificial intelligence (AI) develop itself. That is, putting AI in charge of designing and building newer AI. Image via Warner Brothers Up until now the idea of AI has largely been confined to science fiction: Isaac Asimov’s I,Robot series, recently made...
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Why Office 365’s Email Encryption Doesn’t Add Up

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 13:02 by ZixCorp
With the growing realization that data security and email encryption are absolutely essential, large email providers are rushing to play catch-up. But are they paying attention to the users? In November 2013, Microsoft first announced message encryption for Office 365. But after some initial complaints over the system’s usability (people receiving the encrypted messages had to be logged into a Microsoft account to view them), things are starting to change. Last Friday, Microsoft announced that recipients of Office 365 email no longer need a Microsoft account to view messages. Instead, they...
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Email and Unreasonable Expectations of Privacy

Tue, 08/13/2013 - 12:45 by Jim Brashear
In light of the recent alleged NSA snooping, I was reminded of a Spring 2012 article that grabbed my interest. Published by the ABA publication The SciTech Lawyer , Evolving Technology and Privacy Law: Can the Fourth Amendment Catch Up? by Samuel Mark Borowski, Aaron Midler and Pervin Taleyarkhan make a point that I’ve emphasized in the past – users’ expectations of email privacy, and laws and rules intended to protect email privacy (especially the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act ), have not kept up with changes in how people use email. The article’s authors say: In 1986, email was...
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