Given that we now know that the National Security Agency (NSA) has the ability to compromise some, if not all of VPN, SSL, and TLS forms of data transmission hardening, it’s worth considering the various vectors of technical and legal data-gathering that high-level adversaries in America and Britain (and likely other countries, at least in the “Five Eyes” group of anglophone allies) are likely using in parallel to go after a given target. So far, the possibilities include:
- A company volunteers to help (and gets paid for it)
- Spies copy the traffic directly off the fiber
- A company complies under legal duress
- Spies infiltrate a company
- Spies coerce upstream companies to weaken crypto in their products/install backdoors
- Spies brute force the crypto
- Spies compromise a digital certificate
- Spies hack a target computer directly, stealing keys and/or data, sabotage.
Let’s take these one at a time.
Our latest edition of This Week in Photography starts with sad news, but we promise it gets better as you read on. For example, we end with news that photographers sometimes win big; like $625,000 big. Enjoy.
Here’s a new sci-fi short that features some solid world-building. Lunar, by Tyson Wade Johnson, jumps off from modern concerns about an intrusive surveillance state and reliance on drones to create a future America in which a faceless police force holds civilians under its thumb. It’s a place where walking down the street with your face covered is illegal; even wearing a hood is enough to have the robo-cops on your ass.
All that is just setup for a story about a man convicted for basically nothing, after which he’s sent to a lunar prison that turns out to be not quite what the public thinks it is. So add the privatization of prisons and some Judge Dredd-style paranoia to the mix of influences.
Check out the 7-minute short below.
For the past two years, a mysterious online organisation has been setting the world's finest code-breakers a series of seemingly unsolvable problems. But to what end? Welcome to the world of Cicada 3301
TV Gamer, July 1984 - It's not often you find gold in old game magazines, but man, this is absolutely fascinating. "How to play Adventures in the 1990s" by Richard Porch is a fever dream of what Arcades would be like in the decade coming up.
This was written in 1984 - directly in the middle of the American Video Game Crash (though written in the UK) and a few years after Tron happened and no idea on how Japan developers like Nintendo and Sega would change the world in a year or two. It's about how Arcades will evolve into giant Blade Runner style buildings where arcade games will be "modules" and essentially become the giant Vegas style casinos we see today.
It's an absolutely fascinating read to see what this guy thought would happen in the 90s, much like how Back to the Future expected 2015 to be pretty wild. It's so fascinating that I've transcribed the whole article here for easier reading.
I don't know where you are now, Richard Porch, but you're probably disappointed.
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“For centuries, Cuba’s greatest resource has been its people,” writes Pico Iyer in an extended essay on the Caribbean nation in this week’s magazine. In the twilight of the Castro era, Cubans are finding that change brings both hope and anxiety.
To pair with Iyer’s tome, TIME called upon Danish photographer Joakim Eskildsen. Eskildsen, who previously photographed a large portfolio for TIME on the state of poverty in America, traveled to Cuba for ten days, photographing urban housing projects in Havana and rural settlements across the countryside. With the help of local journalist Abel Gonzalez Alayon, Eskildsen photographed tobacco plantations, roadside fruit vendors, migrant workers and beachfront resorts — capturing all in the vibrant saturation of medium-format color film.
“I immediately fell in awe with the complexity of this country,” says Eskildsen. “The more you learn about the situation and how people are living, the more difficult it becomes to understand. It was like learning to view the world form a Cuban angle that kept surprising and inspiring me.”
Abel Gonzalez Alayon is a journalist based in Cuba. Follow him on Twitter @abelcuba.
Photos from Washington, Chile, Iran and Afghanistan.
Photos from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Brazil and India.