Saturday, September 08, 2018

A Backdoor for one is a Backdoor for all

The Australian Government wants to put a backdoor into your apps. They are trying to put all sorts of spin on the idea to make you feel like they will have some sort of control and its only for them. This is to stop the bad guys, terrorists, someone they don't like, you know those people.

Let me get this straight, there are only a few ways to enable this. 
Put a flaw in the encryption.
Add something like a keylogger to the device.
Allow access by putting a bug in the app

There are more but you will get the point soon enough to understand that this is not going to create good outcomes for the consumer. 

Let's try and make some sense to you as a consumer of each of these approaches. Hopefully, you will have a better understanding of the problem. Then understand these governments actions have an impact on the broader market. Their proposals will kill the internet in their overzealous approach to "catching the bad guys"

Put a flaw in the encryption

Many apps like Telegram have made a strong point in their selling of why users would want to use their app. Encryption secures your messages. Encryption happens between you and the other you are communicating with som you can safely send information. 

Most of the internet websites use SSL or TLS. These are standards for encryption so that when you type into your browser to enter your banking password it stays between you and the bank. If encryption is broken for anything it has to break encryption for everything. This includes access to your bank. Researchers would publish the flaw in the algorithm for encryption which would force the app's removal. 

Apps will progressively dry up until we are no longer able to securely send anything. Oh hang on but I can connect to a website and https will mean my communication is protected. Yes, well maybe. You see it is now a slippery slope. When it finally means that I cannot log on to my bank or government site to conduct business the internet as we know it has ground to a halt. No Facebook, no Instagram, no Gmail, sorry it's all gone?

Installing a Keylogger

Wow, where do you start! This is what the bad guys try and do every day. Why because it captures all your keystrokes. Literally, everything you type including everything I typed into this blog. My username and password for my banking. Logging into Amazon to buy a book or other things. Every keystroke is sent off to the endpoint where the keylogger is sending the data. Two problems, can someone intercept it? Can I access the place this is going? There will be more issues but let's start with these.

Hackers will do their darnedest to implement their own tools on your computer to capture the output of the keylogger. I guarantee that they will succeed.

The endpoint. That is some great repository of all the data from everyone's devices, yes everyone. That is a copy of every keystroke.
First is storage, we create terabytes of data each day globally. That will require some significant tech to store all that data and significant cost to taxpayers. Second, the endpoint will have to have better than world-class developers and security teams to secure this data. Look above at what is being stored everything you need to cause identity crises for much of that country. 
As a Hacker, these would be golden treasure troves. The value of the repository would be immense to the bad guys. The ability to lure people to do any number of things will have zero monetary bounds. You want $10million to do that, sure, hell I would have paid $50million.

A bug in the app 

Those who have reason to will almost immediately find the bug. These might be enemies of your state (your country) and well just about anyone who might want to commit an offence against you personally. It can't be there just for the government spying agency as that isn't how these things work. All sorts of people will either be screaming for a fix for the bug or quietly extracting your data. How will you know if the app has a bug? Publishing details are the only way you will ever know. 

The Australian government has placed penalties of 10 years custody in their proposed legislation. This is to stop good people telling you that your apps developer has developed a bug to allow the government to spy. Even reporting on the fact you found all sorts of data or other relevant things on the dark web would leave you open to prosecution. 

See ya round


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