The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity




Engineers at Golden Frog recently discovered that Cricket wireless was automatically disabling their email encryption.

It is not at all clear why they were doing this, but we do know how. When an email client attempts to make a secure connection to a server, it sends a STARTTLS command. If the server never sees the STARTTLS, then it assumes you just wanted an insecure connection. (more…)

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FISA court order cropped

Here is a new “as a service” offering I had never considered. Companies are supporting ISPs in responding to classified FISA court search warrants for the ISPs, including helping to capture the data and deciding if the request is proper.

Meet the shadowy tech brokers that deliver your data to the NSA | ZDNet

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Researchers analyzing results from the ICSI Netalyzer project have found ISPs redirecting traffic bound for Yahoo! and Bing to third parties like Paxfire, Barefruit, and Golog. According to this EFF article:

Netalyzr’s measurements show that approximately a dozen US Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including DirecPC, Frontier, Hughes, and Wide Open West, deliberately and with no visible indication route thousands of users’ entire web search traffic via Paxfire’s web proxies.

This appears to be done by returning the IP address of the intercepting server rather than the true IP address when you do a DNS lookup of the server ( for example). Your browser then connects to Paxfire or one of the other companies, rather than yahoo, allowing them to collect data on your activity and possibly modify the results.

There are some things you can do to protect yourself. If your connection to the website is using SSL, or if you have a VPN, your ISP can not intercept or modify your connection.

If you are running FireFox you can install the “HTTPS Everywhere” extension, which will ensure that your connection uses SSL for most of the most popular sites on the Internet.

Using Anonymizer Universal will ensure 100% of your traffic goes over an encrypted connection which will prevent this kind of interception for all websites.

I encourage all of you to visit the ICSI Netalyzer website to test your connection and your ISP for this kind of interception, and to contribute information for their research to detect this kind of strange and/or nefarious activity.

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