Stories by Ms. Smith

'Largest DDoS attack' in GitHub's history targets anticensorship projects

GitHub has been hammered by a continuous DDoS attack for three days. It's the "largest DDoS attack in's history." The attack is aimed at anti-censorship GreatFire and CN-NYTimes projects, but affected all of GitHub; the traffic is coming from China as attackers are reportedly using China's search engine Baidu for the purpose of "HTTP hijacking."

Written by Ms. Smith30 March 15 03:55

Great privacy essay: Fourth Amendment Doctrine in the Era of Total Surveillance

When you signed up with your ISP, or with a wireless carrier for mobile devices, if you gave it any thought at all when you signed your name on the contract, you likely didn't expect your activities to be a secret, or to be anonymous, but how about at least some degree of private? Is that reasonable? No, as the law currently suggests that as a subscriber, you "volunteer" your personal information to be shared with third-parties. Perhaps not the content of your communications, but the transactional information that tells things like times, places, phone numbers, or addresses; transactional data that paints a very clear picture of your life and for which no warrant is required.

Written by Ms. Smith31 July 14 22:56

9 of 10 online accounts intercepted by NSA are not intended surveillance target

Although NSA officials were not sure about what all documents Edward Snowden took with him, they've changed their tune a few times after some new leak proves their previous proclamations to be when former NSA Chief Keith Alexander admitted to lying about phone surveillance stopping 54 terror plots. Despite a year of NSA officials claiming that Edward Snowden had access to reports about NSA surveillance, but no access to actual surveillance intercepts, that ends up being lie too.

Written by Ms. Smith07 July 14 22:44

Microsoft hammers No-IP, collateral damage includes Hacking Team's legal malware

Microsoft brought the hammer down on No-IP and seized 22 of their domains. They also filed a civil case against "Mohamed Benabdellah and Naser Al Mutairi, and a U.S. company, Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC (doing business as, for their roles in creating, controlling, and assisting in infecting millions of computers with malicious software--harming Microsoft, its customers and the public at large."

Written by Ms. Smith02 July 14 23:15

PayPal locks out ProtonMail, asks if encrypted email service has government approval

We previously looked at the huge demand for ProtonMail, an easy-to-use and free NSA-proof email service created by CERN and MIT scientists. It is based in Switzerland, meaning the U.S. government can't just hoover it up without an enforceable Swiss court order, which is hard to come by since the Swiss legal system has "strong privacy protections." The demand for the end-to-end encrypted email service was so high that ProtonMail ran out of a month's worth of server capacity in three days.

Written by Ms. Smith02 July 14 05:49

Government can exploit loopholes for warrantless surveillance on Americans

Bright minds from Harvard University and Boston University collaborated on a new research paper that looks at how the government can exploit legal loopholes as well as "technical realities of Internet communications" to get around Americans' Fourth Amendment rights and hoover up their electronic communications.

Written by Ms. Smith01 July 14 04:51

Facebook manipulated 689,003 users' News Feeds to 'prove' emotions are contagious

If you are exposed to negative person, then that negativity might bleed over to infect you. If you are exposed to a positive person, then those positive emotions might put you in a more positive frame of mind as well. Since you likely have experienced that in real life, then you probably don't need research to back that up. Facebook's data scientists were out to prove if emotions expressed digitally would also be contagious.

Written by Ms. Smith30 June 14 22:51

Liquid surveillance privacy bashfest: Brave Citizens vs Scorched Earth?

Like everything in life, there are a plethora of varying opinions when it comes to protecting privacy, freedom and civil liberties. Even when just looking among different privacy advocates, it's painfully clear that not everyone agrees. While I'm personally not a fan of finger-pointing or name-calling, and I do not know either of the authors concerned with privacy, there are bits and bytes from each that are worth pondering.

Written by Ms. Smith25 June 14 23:11

Microsoft introduces Interflow: Sharing cybersecurity threats in near real-time

Microsoft announced Interflow, a new platform for sharing cybersecurity threats in near real-time. Although it's currently available only in "private preview" for Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) members, security threat information will be shared faster, creating a "collectively stronger cybersecurity ecosystem." In the long run that means protecting people better and more quickly.

Written by Ms. Smith24 June 14 06:03

Microsoft kills off plan to pay people to write good things about Internet Explorer

It was only a couple days ago when Microsoft released its Internet Explorer Developer Channel, "a fully functioning browser designed to give Web developers and early adopters a sneak peek at the Web platform features we're working on." Any chance IE might have gotten some long-term social media love was dashed after a clueless "social strategist on behalf of Microsoft" invited the wrong person to write something positive about Internet Explorer.

Written by Ms. Smith19 June 14 08:37

IRS computer crash eats email evidence: Conspiracy or 'worst IT department ever'?

You might think that people participating in illegal or unconstitutional activity would know better than to leave any digital footprint evidence at all; if folks failed to follow how-not-to-be-nailed-as-a-criminal 101, then destroying electronic evidence so it cannot be forensically recovered would likely be the next move. Although a person could blame missing data on a computer "glitch" or crash, getting rid of every digital trace would be a huge undertaking in this world of redundant backups and cloud storage. Considering the data that supposedly went poof is two years' worth of email from the director of a government agency division, it's little wonder that no techies believe it.

Written by Ms. Smith18 June 14 04:04