Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Build Apps 5x Faster
For Half the Cost
Enterprise Cloud Computing

On Force.com
Hardware
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Twitter Beefs Up Encryption Against NSA Snooping
Twitter Beefs Up Encryption Against NSA Snooping

By Jennifer LeClaire
November 25, 2013 1:38PM

    Bookmark and Share
PFS largely protects intercepted communications against future encryption key disclosure. For example, the NSA intercepts communications between you and Twitter. It then could go to court and persuade Twitter to disclose its keys. If Twitter complied, the NSA could read the intercepted communications. But forward secrecy prevents the keys from working.
 



Following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, Twitter is moving to implement "perfect forward secrecy," a cryptographic technique to keep data safe from prying eyes. Twitter announced it has enabled forward secrecy for traffic on Twitter.com, api.twitter.com, and mobile.twitter.com.

On top of the usual confidentiality and integrity properties of HTTPS, perfect forward secrecy adds a new property, according to Twitter's Jacob Hoffman-Andrews. If an adversary is currently recording all Twitter users' encrypted traffic, and they later crack or steal Twitter's private keys, they should not be able to use those keys to decrypt the recorded traffic, he said.

The New Normal

"Under traditional HTTPS, the client chooses a random session key, encrypts it using the server's public key, and sends it over the network," Hoffman-Andrews wrote in a blog post. "Someone in possession of the server's private key and some recorded traffic can decrypt the session key and use that to decrypt the entire session. In order to support forward secrecy, we've enabled the EC Diffie-Hellman cipher suites."

Under those cipher suites, the client and server manage to come up with a shared, random session key without ever sending the key across the network, he explained, even under encryption. Hoffman-Andrews said the details are explained at Wikipedia's article on Diffie-Hellman key exchange. The server's private key is only used to sign the key exchange, preventing man-in-the-middle attacks.

"At the end of the day, we are writing this not just to discuss an interesting piece of technology, but to present what we believe should be the new normal for Web service owners," said Hoffman-Andrews. "A year and a half ago, Twitter was first served completely over HTTPS. Since then, it has become clearer and clearer how important that step was to protecting our users' privacy."

Largely Symbolic Move

We asked Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser at Sophos, for his thoughts on Twitter's latest security move. Pointing to when Google began using HTTPS by default, he told us it often takes a bit of time for all the big players to come around and set the new standard for security and privacy online.

"Perfect forward secrecy is another one of these moments. It is great news to see high-profile organizations like Twitter adopt changes that will improve the privacy and security of its users. Will it make a difference? Probably not, but it does help establish this as a new baseline that all Web sites should comply with," Wisniewski said.

PFS largely protects intercepted communications against future encryption key disclosure. For example, the NSA intercepts communications between you and Twitter. Before PFS it could go to court and persuade Twitter to disclose its keys. If Twitter were to comply, Wisniewski said, the NSA could read the intercepted communications. PFS prevents that from working. Even if the private keys are intercepted or handed over, he continued, the messages remain protected.

"The reason it might not matter? Who is sending private messages over Twitter? It is a platform designed for blasting out messages, publicly, to anyone willing to listen," he concluded. "It would seem that this move is largely symbolic more than about preventing interception."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 Hardware
1.   Schools Buy Million Chromebooks in Q2
2.   US Orders a New Cray for Nuclear Arms
3.   PC Shipment Slump Bottoms Out
4.   IBM Earmarks $3B for Next-Gen Chips
5.   Most Networks Not Ready for IoT


advertisement
Most Networks Not Ready for IoT
But most enterprises are prepared.
Average Rating:
Gartner Sees Tablets Up, PCs Down
But PC sales are recovering.
Average Rating:
Review: Tablets with Keyboard Covers
How do Surface and Lumia stack up?
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Juniper DDoS Solution Aims at High-IQ Networks
In the face of more complex attacks, Juniper Networks is boosting its DDoS Secure solution to help companies mitigate the threats with more effective security intelligence throughout the network fabric.
 
Large-Volume DDoS Attacks Hit Record in 2014
The number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks set a record in the first half of 2014, according to a report by Arbor Networks. The number of attacks over 20 GB/sec doubled.
 
U.N.: Nations Hide Rise in Private Digital Snooping
Governments on every continent are hiding an increasing reliance on private companies to snoop on citizens' digital lives, the U.N. human rights office says, with grave concerns about privacy.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Contrary to Report, Lenovo's Staying in Small Windows Tablets
Device maker Lenovo has clarified a report that indicated it is getting out of the small Windows tablet business -- as in the ThinkPad 8 and the 8-inch Miix 2. But the firm said it is not exiting that market.
 
Seagate Unveils Networked Drives for Small Businesses
Seagate is out with five new networked attached storage products aimed at small businesses. The drives are for companies with up to 50 workers, and range in capacity from two to 20 terabytes.
 
Another Day, Another Internet of Things Consortium Is Born
In the emerging Internet of Things, zillions of devices will be talking to each other. Samsung, Intel and Dell just formed a consortium to ensure each thing can understand what others are saying.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | Small Business | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.