Friday, July 26, 2013

Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords

From CNET:

The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users' stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed. 
If the government is able to determine a person's password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused. 
"I've certainly seen them ask for passwords," said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We push back." 
A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'" 
Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.


Always On Watch said...

And access to bank accounts?

Epaminondas said...

Are we ready to all send around a thumb drive with a 1024 bit pgp key to each other?


Always On Watch said...

what is a 1024 bit pgp key? Damn, I'm stupid about certain technologies.

Pastorius said...

AOW, it's an Encryption tool -

Always On Watch said...