Category Archives: 2023

image_pdfimage_print

Telegram and the Information War in Ukraine

Telegram and the information war in Ukraine
Telegram and the Information War in Ukraine written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems, for Freemindtronic. This article may be updated on this subject.

How Telegram Shapes the Information War in Ukraine

In this article, we explore how Telegram and Ukraine’s information warfare are intertwined. We look at how the messaging app is influencing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and how it can be used for good or evil. We also discuss the benefits and risks of using Telegram, as well as how security and freedom of expression can be enhanced with EviCypher NFC HSM technology.

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security

Russian Cyberattack Microsoft: An Unprecedented Threat

2024 Digital Security

Europol Data Breach: A Detailed Analysis

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security News Training

Andorra National Cyberattack Simulation: A Global First in Cyber Defense

2024 Digital Security

Apple M chip vulnerability: A Breach in Data Security

2024 Digital Security

Cybersecurity Breach at IMF: A Detailed Investigation

How Telegram Influences the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine

Telegram and the information war in Ukraine are closely related. Telegram is a messaging app that offers users a secure and confidential way to communicate, thanks to its end-to-end encryption system. It has a large user base around the world, especially in Eastern Europe, where it plays a vital role in the information war between Russia and Ukraine.

Telegram’s Usage in Ukraine: Updated Statistics

Popularity and Download Trends

According to the report of the research company SimilarWeb, Telegram is the second most downloaded messaging app in Ukraine, after Viber, with 3.8 million downloads in 2021. It is also the fourth most used app in terms of time spent, with an average of 16 minutes per day. Telegram has about 10 million active users in Ukraine, which is almost a quarter of the country’s population.

Telegram’s Role in Ukrainian Media Landscape

Telegram is particularly appreciated by Ukrainians for its channel functionality, which allows to broadcast messages to a large audience. Some of these channels have become influential but controversial sources of information, as their owners and sources are often unknown. Among the most popular channels in Ukraine, we can mention:

  • @Zelenskyi, the official channel of President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has more than 2 million subscribers. It publishes announcements, speeches, interviews and videos of the head of state. It was created in 2019, during Zelensky’s election campaign, who was then an actor and a comedian.
  • @NashyGroshi, the channel of the journalistic project “Our Money”, which has more than 1.5 million subscribers. It publishes investigations, reports and analyses on corruption, abuse of power, political scandals and judicial cases in Ukraine. It was created in 2008, by journalist Denys Bihus, who received several awards for his work.
  • @Resident, the channel of blogger and activist Anatoliy Shariy, which has more than 1.3 million subscribers. It publishes comments, criticisms and sarcasms on the political and social news in Ukraine. He is known for his pro-Russian, anti-European and anti-government positions. He is currently in exile in Spain, where he is wanted by the Ukrainian justice for high treason and incitement to hatred.

These channels illustrate the diversity and complexity of the Ukrainian media landscape, which is marked by the conflict with Russia, the democratic transition, the fight against corruption and the polarization of society. They are also a reflection of the issues and challenges related to the use of Telegram, which can be both a tool of communication, information and manipulation.

Oleksiy Danilov’s Stance on Telegram’s Usage in Ukraine

Concerns Over National Security

Oleksiy Danilov is the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the body responsible for coordinating and controlling the activities of the executive bodies in the fields of national security and defense. He is also the head of cybersecurity of the country, and in this capacity, he expressed his reservations about the use of Telegram by Ukrainians. In February 2022, he stated that some anonymous and manipulative Telegram channels represented a threat to national security, and that they should be de-anonymized and regulated. He particularly targeted the channel @Resident, which broadcasts pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian comments, and which is suspected of being linked to the Russian intelligence services. He also criticized the channel @Zelenskyi, which according to him, is not controlled by the Ukrainian president, but by advisers who seek to influence his policy.

Debating Telegram’s Influence in Ukraine

These statements provoked mixed reactions in Ukraine. Some supported Danilov’s position, believing that it was necessary to fight against misinformation and propaganda that undermine the sovereignty and democracy of the country. Others denounced an attempt at censorship and an attack on freedom of expression, recalling that Telegram was one of the few spaces where Ukrainians could access independent and diverse information.

How Telegram Influences the Information War in Ukraine

The Benefits and Risks of End-to-End Encryption

Telegram is a messaging app that lets you send messages, photos, videos, documents, and make voice and video calls. Its privacy policy is based on data encryption and non-cooperation with authorities. You can also create groups and channels that can reach thousands or millions of users.

End-to-end encryption is a technology that makes sure only the people in a conversation can read the messages, not even the service provider. Telegram has this option, but it is not on by default. You have to choose it for each chat, by switching to the “secret chat” mode. However, Telegram’s encryption is not based on standard protocols, and security experts have found some flaws.

Anonymous Channels and Their Impact on the Ukrainian Conflict

The channels are spaces where an administrator can send messages to a large audience. They can be public or private, and they can have millions of followers. Some channels are influential but controversial sources of information, as their owners and sources are often unknown. The channels can spread misinformation, propaganda, fake news, or violence.

Telegram and Russian propaganda have a strong connection, as many pro-Russian channels use the app to influence the public opinion in Ukraine and other countries. Telegram and the Ukrainian resistance also use the app to communicate and organize their actions against the Russian aggression.

Bots, Payment Services and Unique Usernames: A Double-Edged Sword

Bots are programs that interact with users. They offer services, information, or entertainment. Anyone can create them. They can be part of chats or channels. Bots can be helpful or harmful. They can collect personal data, send spam, or spread viruses.

Payment Services: Handy or Dishonest?

You can also use payment services via Telegram. These features use third-party platforms, such as Stripe or Apple Pay. They need bank or credit card information. Payment services can be handy or dishonest. They can steal sensitive data, scam users, or fund illegal activities.

Unique Usernames: Fun or Troublesome?

Another feature of Telegram is the unique usernames. They let users contact each other easily, without sharing their phone number. Users can create and change them at any time. Unique usernames can be fun or troublesome. They can enable harassment, identity theft, or account sale.

These features of Telegram raise issues of cybersecurity, privacy, end-to-end encryption, and application security. They can be used by bad actors, who want to harm Ukraine or its people. They can also be regulated by the authorities, who want to control the information or access the data of the users.

Telegram and the Information War in Ukraine: A Challenge

One of the main challenges of Telegram and the information war in Ukraine is to balance the freedom of expression and the protection of national security. Telegram and the Ukrainian conflict are closely intertwined. The app is used by both sides to communicate, inform, and influence. Telegram and Russian propaganda have a strong connection. Many pro-Russian channels use the app to sway the public opinion in Ukraine and other countries. Telegram and the Ukrainian resistance also use the app to coordinate and organize their actions against the Russian aggression. Telegram and cybersecurity in Ukraine are also crucial. The app can be a source of threats or a tool of defense.

Telegram VS Other Messaging Apps: A Comparative Analysis

WhatsApp: Popular but Questionable Confidentiality

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world, with more than 2 billion users. It offers end-to-end encryption by default for all conversations, which guarantees the protection of data. However, it belongs to Facebook, which has a dubious reputation in terms of respect for privacy, and which has raised fears about the sharing of data with other applications of the group. WhatsApp is also subject to the requests of the authorities, who can demand access to the metadata, such as the phone number, the IP address or the location of the users.

Signal: High Security but Limited User Base

Signal is a messaging app that claims to be the most secure and confidential on the market. It also offers end-to-end encryption by default for all conversations, and it does not collect any personal data. It is developed by a non-profit organization, which does not depend on advertising or investors. It is recommended by personalities such as Edward Snowden or Elon Musk. Signal is however less popular than WhatsApp or Telegram, with about 50 million users. It also offers fewer features, such as file sharing, information channels, bots or payment services.

Telegram: Innovative but Security Concerns

Telegram is between these two apps, offering more features than Signal, but less security than WhatsApp. Telegram allows users to choose the level of encryption and privacy they want, by opting for the “secret chat” mode or the “normal chat” mode. Telegram also allows users to enjoy innovative services, such as channels, bots, payments or unique usernames. However, Telegram also presents risks, such as fakes news, inappropriate content, privacy breaches or cyberattacks. Telegram is therefore an app that offers advantages and disadvantages, and that requires vigilance and discernment from users.

Telegram’s Global Perception and Regulation

Russia: Origin and Opposition

Russia is the country of origin of Telegram, but also its main adversary. The Kremlin tried to block the app in 2018, invoking reasons of national security and fight against terrorism. It demanded that Telegram provide it with the encryption keys to access the messages of the users, which Pavel Durov refused. It then ordered the telecom operators to block access to Telegram, but this measure proved ineffective, as Telegram used cloud servers to bypass the blocking. Many Russian users also use VPNs or proxies to access the app. In 2020, the Kremlin finally lifted the ban on Telegram, acknowledging its failure and stating that the app had cooperated with the authorities to remove extremist content. However, some observers suspect that Telegram made concessions to the Kremlin to lift the blocking, such as collaborating with the Russian services or censoring some channels.

France: Striving for Digital Regulation

France is a country that wants to be at the forefront of the regulation of digital platforms, especially in terms of fighting online hate. It adopted in 2020 a law that obliges the platforms to remove illegal content, such as incitement to violence, discrimination or terrorism, within 24 hours, under penalty of financial sanctions. This law also applies to messaging apps, such as Telegram, which must set up reporting and moderation mechanisms for content. France recognizes the right of users to privacy and end-to-end encryption, but it also asks the service providers to cooperate with the law enforcement to access the encrypted data when needed. France is also a country where Telegram is used by radical groups, such as jihadists or yellow vests, who take advantage of the app to organize, mobilize or defend themselves.

Ukraine: Balancing Utility and Risks

Ukraine is a country that has an ambivalent attitude towards Telegram, recognizing its usefulness, but also its dangers. On the one hand, Telegram is a source of information and a tool of resistance for many Ukrainians, who face the threat of Russian aggression and the challenges of democratic transition. On the other hand, Telegram is also a vector of misinformation and propaganda, which can undermine the sovereignty and stability of the country. Ukraine does not have a specific law to regulate Telegram, but it has some legal provisions to protect national security and public order, which can be used to restrict or block the app if necessary. Ukraine also cooperates with international organizations, such as the EU or NATO, to counter the cyber threats and the hybrid warfare that target the country.

EviCypher NFC HSM: Enhancing Telegram’s Security

The Role of Contactless Encryption Technology

One of the main challenges of using Telegram is to ensure the security and confidentiality of the data exchanged, especially in a context of information war. To meet this challenge, a possible solution consists of using EviCypher NFC HSM technology, which is a contactless encryption technology developed by Freemindtronic, an Andorran company specializing in the design of counter-espionage solutions implementing in particular contactless security with NFC technology. EviCypher NFC HSM uses two types of encryption algorithms for data:

  • Symmetric encryption in AES-256 for data such as texts (messages), thanks to its sub-technology EviCrypt. It uses a unique key, which is randomly generated and segmented into several parts. This key is used to encrypt and decrypt messages with the AES 256-bit algorithm.
  • Asymmetric encryption in RSA-4096 for symmetric encryption keys. It uses a pair of keys, which is generated and used from the NFC HSM device and which is based on the RSA 4096-bit algorithm. This pair of keys is used to share the symmetric key of at least 256 bits between the NFC HSM devices remotely, by encrypting the symmetric key with the public key of the recipient and decrypting the symmetric key with the private key of the recipient. The symmetric key is then stored and re-encrypted in the NFC HSM device of the recipient, with the trust criteria imposed by the sender if he has encapsulated them in the shared encryption key.

Practical Applications of EviCypher NFC HSM

EviCypher NFC HSM is a technology that uses hardware security modules (HSM) to store and use encrypted secrets. It allows contactless encryption with the NFC communication protocol. You can integrate the NFC HSM into various media, such as a card, a sticker, or a key ring. Then, you can pair it with an NFC phone, tablet, or computer. This way, you can encrypt everything before using any messaging service, including Telegram. EviCypher NFC HSM also has anti-cloning, anti-replay, and counterfeit detection mechanisms. It is part of the DataShielder product range, which offers serverless and databaseless encryption solutions.

Telegram and the Ukrainian conflict

EviCypher NFC HSM is compatible with Telegram, a messaging app that influences the information war between Russia and Ukraine. It offers more security and confidentiality than Telegram’s end-to-end encryption, which is not based on recognized standards. It also gives you more flexibility and control than Telegram’s secret chat mode, as you can choose the trust criteria for the encryption keys. Moreover, it is more convenient and simple than Telegram’s normal chat mode, as you can encrypt and decrypt messages with a simple gesture.

Telegram and cybersecurity in Ukraine

EviCypher NFC HSM is a useful technology with Telegram, as it enhances the security and confidentiality of the data exchanged, especially in a context of information war. It is also a universal technology, as you can use it with any other messaging app, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Messenger, etc. It is also an innovative technology, as it uses the NFC communication protocol to perform contactless encryption, without requiring any connection or installation.

Concluding Insights on Telegram’s Role in Ukraine

In this article, we have seen how Telegram plays a vital role in the information war between Russia and Ukraine, and what issues and challenges there are in using this messaging app. We have also seen how the technology EviCypher NFC HSM can be a useful solution to enhance the security and confidentiality of the data exchanged with Telegram. We hope that this article has been informative and interesting for you, and that it has helped you to better understand the situation of Telegram in Ukraine and in other countries. Thank you for reading.

Overview of Cited Sources

Here are the sources of the article, which are valid, reliable, relevant and if possible official links that allow to justify and verify the statements made in this article:

  • [Liga.net]: the news site that published the interview of Oleksiy Danilov on November 2, 2023, in which he expresses his concerns about Telegram.
  • [NV.ua]: the news site that reported the statement of Oleksiy Danilov, who alerted the nation to the critical vulnerabilities of Telegram, on November 2, 2023.
  • [RT – Pravda]: the Ukrainian news site that related the remarks of Oleksiy Danilov, who answered the questions of journalists during a press conference on November 3, 2023.
  • [Number of Telegram Users in 2023? 55 Telegram Stats (backlinko.com)]: an article that gives figures on the use of Telegram in the world and in Ukraine.
  • [NV.ua -NSDC]: the official website of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, which published the press release of Oleksiy Danilov, who clarified his recent comments on Telegram, on November 15, 2023
  • [Ukrainians turn to encrypted messengers, offline maps and Twitter amid Russian invasion]: an article that describes how Ukrainians use Telegram and other digital tools to protect themselves and get informed in the face of the Russian aggression.
  • [Pravda – France 24]: the French news site that contains a video of the interview of Oleksiy Danilov with the journalist Gulliver Cragg, dated January 23, 2023.
  • [NFC HSM Technology – Freemindtronic]: an article that explains the NFC HSM technologies and how they work.
  • [EviCypher NFC HSM technology – Freemindtronic]: a page that contains articles and videos on the NFC HSM technologies.
  • [FAQ for the Technically Inclined – Telegram APIs]: a page that provides technical information about the Telegram APIs and the MTProto protocol.

5Ghoul: 5G NR Attacks on Mobile Devices

5Ghoul: 5G NR Attacks on Mobile Devices
5Ghoul Attacks on Mobile Devices written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems, for Freemindtronic. This article may be updated on this subject.

5Ghoul: A Threat to 5G Security

5G has benefits, but also risks. 5Ghoul is a set of 5G NR flaws that affect Qualcomm and MediaTek modems, used by most 5G devices. 5Ghoul can disrupt or make unusable smartphones, routers and modems 5G. In this article, we will see what 5Ghoul is, how it compares to other 5G attacks, and how to protect yourself with contactless encryption, which uses NFC.

2023 Articles Cardokey Eco-friendly EviSwap NFC NDEF Technology GreenTech

NFC Business Cards with Cardokey free for life: How to Connect without Revealing

2023 Articles Cyberculture EviCore HSM OpenPGP Technology EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension EviCore NFC HSM Technology Legal information Licences Freemindtronic

Unitary patent system: why some EU countries are not on board

Andorran law

Llei 26/2014 del 30 d’octubre de patents

Articles Crypto Currency Cryptocurrency Digital Security EviPass Technology NFC HSM technology Phishing

Ledger Security Breaches from 2017 to 2023: How to Protect Yourself from Hackers

5Ghoul: How Contactless Encryption Can Secure Your 5G Communications from Modem Attacks

5Ghoul is a set of 5G NR vulnerabilities that affect Qualcomm and MediaTek modems. These flaws allow to launch denial-of-service attacks or degrade the quality of the 5G network.

What is 5Ghoul?

5Ghoul is a set of 14 5G NR (New Radio) vulnerabilities, the protocol that governs the communication between 5G devices and base stations (gNB). Among these vulnerabilities, 10 are public and 4 are still confidential. They were discovered by researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and DesignSingapore University of Technology and Design.

The 5Ghoul vulnerabilities exploit implementation errors in Qualcomm and MediaTek modems, which do not comply with the specifications of the 5G NR protocol. They allow an attacker to create a fake base station, which pretends to be a legitimate one, and send malicious messages to 5G devices that connect to it. These messages can cause errors, crashes or infinite loops in the modems, resulting in denial-of-service attacks or degradations of the quality of the 5G network.

Which devices are affected by 5Ghoul?

The researchers tested the 5Ghoul vulnerabilities on 714 models of 5G smartphones from 24 different brands, including Lenovo, Google, TCL, Microsoft, etc. They also tested routers and modems 5G from various manufacturers. They found that the 5Ghoul vulnerabilities affect all 5G devices equipped with Qualcomm and MediaTek modems, which account for more than 90% of the market.

What are the impacts of 5Ghoul?

The impacts of 5Ghoul depend on the vulnerability exploited and the type of device targeted. The researchers classified the 5Ghoul vulnerabilities into three categories, according to their severity:

Level 1 vulnerabilities

Level 1 vulnerabilities are the most severe. They allow to render 5G devices completely unusable, by locking them in a state where they can neither connect nor disconnect from the 5G network. These vulnerabilities require a manual reboot of the devices to be resolved. Among the level 1 vulnerabilities, there is for example the CVE-2023-33043, which causes a crash of the Qualcomm X55/X60 modem by sending an invalid MAC/RLC message.

Level 2 vulnerabilities

Level 2 vulnerabilities are less critical, but still harmful. They allow to degrade the quality of the 5G network, by reducing the throughput, latency or stability of the connection. These vulnerabilities can be resolved by reconnecting to the 5G network. Among the level 2 vulnerabilities, there is for example the CVE-2023-33044, which causes packet loss on the MediaTek T750 modem by sending an invalid RRC message.

Level 3 vulnerabilities

Level 3 vulnerabilities are the least dangerous. They allow to disrupt the normal functioning of 5G devices, by displaying error messages, modifying settings or triggering alerts. These vulnerabilities have no impact on the quality of the 5G network. Among the level 3 vulnerabilities, there is for example the CVE-2023-33045, which causes an error message on the Qualcomm X55/X60 modem by sending an invalid RRC message.

How to protect yourself from 5Ghoul?

The researchers informed the manufacturers of Qualcomm and MediaTek modems of the 5Ghoul vulnerabilities, as well as the 5G network operators and the 5G device manufacturers. They also published a demonstration kit of the 5Ghoul vulnerabilities on GitHub, to raise awareness among the public and the scientific community of the risks of 5G NR.

To protect yourself from 5Ghoul, 5G device users must update their modems with the latest security patches, as soon as they are available. They must also avoid connecting to unreliable or unknown 5G networks, which could be fake base stations. In case of doubt, they can disable 5G and use 4G or Wi-Fi.

How 5Ghoul compares to other 5G attacks?

5Ghoul is not the first security flaw that affects 5G. Other 5G attacks have been discovered in the past, exploiting weaknesses in the protocol or in the equipment. Here are some examples of 5G attacks and their differences with 5Ghoul:

ReVoLTE

ReVoLTE is an attack that allows to listen to voice calls 4G and 5G by exploiting a vulnerability in the encryption of data. This vulnerability is due to the fact that some base stations reuse the same encryption key for multiple communication sessions, which allows an attacker to decrypt the content of the calls by capturing the radio signals.

It is different from 5Ghoul because it does not target the 5G modem, but the encryption of data. ReVoLTE also requires that the attacker be close to the victim and have specialized equipment to intercept the radio signals. ReVoLTE does not cause denial of service or degradation of the network, but it compromises the confidentiality of communications.

ToRPEDO

ToRPEDO is an attack that allows to locate, track or harass mobile phone users 4G and 5G by exploiting a vulnerability in the paging protocol. This protocol is used to notify mobile devices of incoming calls or messages. By sending repeated messages to a phone number, an attacker can trigger paging messages on the network, and thus determine the position or identity of the target device.

It is different from 5Ghoul because it does not target the 5G modem, but the paging protocol. ToRPEDO also requires that the attacker knows the phone number of the victim and has access to the mobile network. ToRPEDO does not cause denial of service or degradation of the network, but it compromises the privacy of users.

IMP4GT

IMP4GT is an attack that allows to degrade the quality of the 5G network by exploiting a vulnerability in the security protocol. This protocol is used to authenticate and encrypt the communications between 5G devices and base stations. By modifying the messages exchanged between the two parties, an attacker can mislead the network and the device on the level of security required, and thus reduce the throughput or latency of the connection.

It is different from 5Ghoul because it does not target the 5G modem, but the security protocol. IMP4GT also requires that the attacker be close to the base station and have equipment capable of modifying the messages. IMP4GT does not cause denial of service or crash of the modem, but it degrades the quality of the network.

SS7

SS7 is a set of signaling protocols used by mobile operators to establish and manage calls and messages between different networks. SS7 has existed since the 1970s and has not evolved much since, making it vulnerable to hacking attacks. By exploiting the flaws of SS7, an attacker can intercept SMS and voice calls, locate and track users, bypass two-factor authentication, or subscribe subscribers to paid services without their consent.

It is different from 5Ghoul because it does not target the 5G modem, but the signaling protocol. SS7 affects all types of mobile networks, including 5G, because it still uses SS7 for some functions, such as mobility management or compatibility with 2G and 3G networks. SS7 requires that the attacker has access to the signaling network, which is not easy to obtain, but not impossible. SS7 does not cause denial of service or crash of the modem, but it compromises the confidentiality and integrity of communications.

How and why to encrypt SMS, MMS and RCS without contact?

Contactless encryption is a method of protecting mobile communications that uses NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to establish a secure connection between two devices. NFC is a wireless communication protocol that allows to exchange data by bringing two compatible devices within a few centimeters of each other.

Contactless encryption relies on the use of an external device called NFC HSM (Hardware Security Module), which is a hardware security module that stores and manages encryption keys. The NFC HSM comes in the form of a card, a keychain or a bracelet, that the user must bring close to his phone to activate the encryption. The NFC HSM communicates with the phone via NFC and transmits the encryption key needed to secure the messages.

The technologies EviCore NFC HSM and EviCypher NFC HSM are examples of contactless encryption solutions developed by the Andorran company Freemindtronic. EviCore NFC HSM is a hardware security module that allows to encrypt SMS, MMS and RCS (Rich Communication Services) end-to-end, meaning that only the recipients can read the messages. EviCypher NFC HSM is a hardware security module that allows to encrypt multimedia files (photos, videos, audio, etc.) and share them via SMS, MMS or RCS.

Contactless encryption has several advantages over conventional encryption of mobile communications:

It offers a higher level of security, because the encryption key is not stored on the phone, but on the NFC HSM, which is more difficult to hack or steal.

It is compatible with all types of mobile networks, including 5G, because it does not depend on the communication protocol used, but on NFC.

It is easy to use, because it is enough to bring the NFC HSM close to the phone to activate the encryption, without having to install a specific application or create an account.

It is transparent, because it does not change the appearance or functioning of the messages, which remain accessible from the native application of the phone.

Statistics on 5Ghoul

How widespread are 5Ghouls? What are the trends and impacts of these flaws? Some statistics on 5Ghoul, based on sources and data that are a priori reliable.

5Ghoul: a threat to 5G devices

5Ghoul is a set of 5G NR vulnerabilities that affect Qualcomm and MediaTek modems, which are used by most 5G devices on the market. According to the researchers who discovered 5Ghoul, these vulnerabilities can cause denial-of-service attacks or network degradations.

  • How many 5G devices are affected by 5Ghoul? According to a report by Counterpoint Research, Qualcomm and MediaTek accounted for 79% of the global smartphone chipset market in Q3 2020. Qualcomm had a 39% share, while MediaTek had a 40% share. Assuming that all Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets are vulnerable to 5Ghoul, this means that nearly 8 out of 10 smartphones are potentially at risk.
  • How many 5G NR vulnerabilities are known? According to the CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) database. There are 16 CVE entries related to 5G NR as of April 2021. Four of them are ZeroDay vulnerabilities that have not been publicly disclosed nor fixed by the manufacturers. These vulnerabilities are classified as level 1 or 2, meaning that they can cause denial-of-service attacks or network degradations.
  • How many 5G attacks have been reported? According to the SANS Internet Storm Center, there have been no reports of 5Ghoul attacks in the wild as of April 2021. However, this does not mean that 5Ghoul is not exploited by malicious actors. The researchers who discovered 5Ghoul have developed a proof-of-concept tool called 5Ghoul-Scanner, which can detect and exploit 5Ghoul vulnerabilities. They have also released a video demonstration of 5Ghoul attacks.

Conclusion

5Ghoul is a security flaw that affects 5G modems from Qualcomm and MediaTek, which are used by most 5G devices on the market. 5Ghoul allows an attacker to disrupt the functioning of smartphones, routers and modems 5G, or even make them unusable. 5Ghoul stands out from other 5G attacks known, such as ReVoLTE, ToRPEDO, IMP4GT or SS7, by the fact that it targets the 5G modem, that it does not require secret information or specialized equipment, and that it causes denial-of-service attacks or degradations of the network. To protect yourself from 5Ghoul, 5G device users must update their modems with the latest security patches, and avoid connecting to unreliable or unknown 5G networks.

The American Intelligence: How It Works

The American Intelligence How It Works : Section 702
Learn more about the American Intelligence written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems, for Freemindtronic. This article may be updated on this subject.

The American intelligence: a paradox

The American intelligence is powerful and influential, but also faces limits and challenges. Discover how it works, what are its consequences, and how to protect yourself from it.

2023 Articles Cardokey Eco-friendly EviSwap NFC NDEF Technology GreenTech

NFC Business Cards with Cardokey free for life: How to Connect without Revealing

2023 Articles Cyberculture EviCore HSM OpenPGP Technology EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension EviCore NFC HSM Technology Legal information Licences Freemindtronic

Unitary patent system: why some EU countries are not on board

Andorran law

Llei 26/2014 del 30 d’octubre de patents

Articles Crypto Currency Cryptocurrency Digital Security EviPass Technology NFC HSM technology Phishing

Ledger Security Breaches from 2017 to 2023: How to Protect Yourself from Hackers

The American Intelligence: How It Works, Its Limits and Consequences

The American intelligence is one of the most powerful and influential in the world. It has a vast network of agencies, resources, and allies that enable it to collect, analyze, and act on information of strategic interest. However, the American intelligence also faces challenges and criticisms, both internally and externally. In this article, we will explore how the American intelligence works, what are its limits, and what are the consequences of its actions for the global security and privacy.

How the American Intelligence Works

The American intelligence is composed of 18 agencies that form the Intelligence Community (IC). These agencies are divided into two categories: the civilian agencies, which are under the supervision of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the military agencies, which are under the supervision of the Secretary of Defense.

The main civilian agencies are:

  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating foreign intelligence, as well as conducting covert operations and paramilitary activities.
  • The National Security Agency (NSA), which is responsible for collecting, processing, and disseminating signals intelligence (SIGINT), as well as conducting cyber operations and protecting the US government’s communications and information systems.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating domestic intelligence, as well as conducting counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and law enforcement activities.
  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), which includes imagery, maps, and other geographic information.
  • The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which is responsible for designing, launching, and operating reconnaissance satellites and other space-based systems that provide intelligence to the IC and the Department of Defense (DoD).
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which is responsible for overseeing, coordinating, and integrating the activities of the IC, as well as providing strategic guidance and support to the DNI.

The main military agencies are:

  • The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which is responsible for providing military intelligence to the DoD and the IC, as well as conducting human intelligence (HUMINT), counterintelligence, and defense attaché activities.
  • The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS), which is responsible for providing SIGINT and cyber support to the DoD and the IC, as well as conducting information assurance and cryptologic activities.
  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is responsible for providing GEOINT support to the DoD and the IC, as well as conducting geospatial analysis and mapping activities.
  • The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which is responsible for providing space-based intelligence support to the DoD and the IC, as well as conducting satellite reconnaissance and surveillance activities.
  • The Military Intelligence Corps (MI), which is responsible for providing tactical and operational intelligence to the Army and the joint force, as well as conducting HUMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, and counterintelligence activities.
  • The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), which is responsible for providing maritime intelligence to the Navy and the joint force, as well as conducting HUMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, and counterintelligence activities.
  • The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), which is responsible for providing intelligence to the Marine Corps and the joint force, as well as conducting HUMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, and counterintelligence activities.
  • The Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA), which is responsible for providing intelligence to the Air Force and the joint force, as well as conducting HUMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, and counterintelligence activities.

The American intelligence works by collecting information from various sources, such as human sources, signals, images, open sources, and others. It then analyzes this information to produce intelligence products, such as reports, assessments, briefings, and forecasts. These products are then disseminated to the relevant consumers, such as the President, the Congress, the military, the policy makers, and the allies. The American intelligence also acts on the information it collects, by conducting operations, such as covert actions, cyber attacks, drone strikes, and special operations.

The Limits of the American Intelligence

The American intelligence, despite its capabilities and resources, is not omnipotent or infallible. It faces several limits and challenges, such as:

  • Legal and ethical limits: The American intelligence is bound by the laws and regulations of the US and the international community, as well as by the values and principles of the American democracy. It must respect the rights and liberties of the American citizens and the foreign nationals, as well as the sovereignty and interests of the other countries. It must also abide by the oversight and accountability mechanisms of the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches, as well as the public opinion and the media. The American intelligence must balance its need for secrecy and effectiveness with its duty for transparency and legitimacy.
  • Technical and operational limits: The American intelligence is limited by the availability and reliability of the information it collects, as well as by the accuracy and timeliness of the analysis it produces. It must deal with the challenges of information overload, data quality, data security, data privacy, and data sharing. It must also cope with the threats and risks of cyber attacks, counterintelligence, deception, and denial. The American intelligence must balance its need for innovation and adaptation with its need for standardization and coordination.
  • Strategic and political limits: The American intelligence is limited by the complexity and uncertainty of the global environment, as well as by the diversity and dynamism of the actors and issues it faces. It must deal with the challenges of globalization, multipolarity, regionalization, and fragmentation. It must also cope with the threats and opportunities of terrorism, proliferation, rogue states, failed states, and emerging powers. The American intelligence must balance its need for anticipation and prevention with its need for reaction and intervention.

The Consequences of the American Intelligence

The American intelligence has significant consequences for the global security and privacy, both positive and negative, such as:

  • Positive consequences: The American intelligence contributes to the protection and promotion of the national security and interests of the US and its allies, as well as to the maintenance and enhancement of the international peace and stability. It provides valuable information and insights to the decision makers and the operators, as well as to the public and the media. It also conducts effective operations and actions to deter, disrupt, or defeat the adversaries and the threats. The American intelligence plays a key role in the global intelligence cooperation and coordination, as well as in the global governance and leadership.
  • Negative consequences: The American intelligence also poses risks and challenges to the security and privacy of the US and its allies, as well as to the international order and norms. It may collect, analyze, or disseminate information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or biased, leading to errors, failures, or controversies. It may also conduct operations or actions that are illegal, unethical, or counterproductive, leading to violations, scandals, or backlashes. The American intelligence may face competition or conflict with the other intelligence services or actors, as well as with the other stakeholders or interests.

Section 702 of FISA: A Surveillance Without Control

  • On July 17, 2008, the US Congress passed section 702 of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), which authorizes the US intelligence agencies to collect the electronic communications of non-Americans located abroad, without a warrant from the FISA judge.
  • On January 19, 2018, the US Congress extended section 702 of FISA until December 31, 2023, without making any substantial changes.
  • On March 22, 2023, the US Congress extended section 702 of FISA again until April 19, 2024, without making any significant changes.
  • On December 16, 2023, the US Congress approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a four-month extension of section 702 of FISA, avoiding its expiration at the end of the year.

The Violation of the Right to Privacy

  • On June 5, 2013, the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the existence of the PRISM program, which allowed the US intelligence agencies to access the data of the users of the main electronic service providers, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft or Apple.
  • On October 6, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidated the Safe Harbor, an agreement that allowed the transfer of personal data between the European Union and the United States, considering that it did not offer an adequate level of protection.
  • On July 16, 2020, the CJEU invalidated the Privacy Shield, the successor of the Safe Harbor, for the same reasons, considering that the risk of interference by the US intelligence services in the transferred data was incompatible with the respect of the fundamental rights of the persons concerned.
  • On July 31, 2023, the CJEU issued a ruling that confirmed the invalidity of the Privacy Shield and imposed strict conditions for the transfer of personal data to third countries, especially the United States, under the standard contractual clauses (SCCs) or the binding corporate rules (BCRs).

The Legal and Political Consequences

  • On October 24, 2013, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that condemned the massive surveillance activities of the US intelligence services and called for the suspension of the cooperation agreements on security and counter-terrorism.
  • On October 23, 2015, the European Parliament adopted another resolution that requested the creation of an independent international tribunal to examine the complaints of the European citizens regarding the surveillance of the US intelligence services.
  • On September 14, 2018, the European Parliament adopted a third resolution that called for the suspension of the Privacy Shield, due to the non-compliance of the commitments made by the United States on the protection of personal data.
  • On August 31, 2023, the European Parliament adopted a fourth resolution that asked the European Commission to propose a new legislation on the protection of personal data in the context of cross-border data flows, which would guarantee a level of protection equivalent to that of the general data protection regulation (GDPR).

Sources:

Congress passes temporary extension of FISA Section 702 surveillance program – Axios:

The Court of Justice invalidates Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Data Protection Shield:

FISA Section 702: What it is and why Congress is debating it – NBC News

New technologies and products that limit the possibilities of intelligence

Facing the capabilities of collection and analysis of the American intelligence, which threaten the privacy and sovereignty of individuals and countries, there are new technologies and products that allow to limit the possibilities of intelligence. These technologies and products use techniques of encryption, cryptography, blockchain or NFC to protect personal data and electronic communications. They offer an alternative to traditional solutions, which are often vulnerable to attacks or interceptions by the American intelligence. Among these technologies and products, we can mention:

  • EviCypher NFC HSM and EviCypher HSM OpenPGP, which are patented technologies in the United States in the field of cybersecurity developed by Freemindtronic SL Andorra, used in counter-espionage products such as DataShielder Defense. They allow to encrypt and decrypt data without contact, thanks to hardware security modules that use NFC technology. They offer compatibility with OpenPGP standards, operating without server, without database, with a very high level of flexibility from different removable, fixed and online and offline storage media including NFC HSM.
  • DataShielder DefenseDataShielder Defense, which is a counter-espionage product developed by Freemindtronic SL Andorra, which uses EviCore NFC HSM and EviCore HSM OpenPGP technologies to encrypt and decrypt all types of data and communication services. This product protects sovereign communications, by preventing the American intelligence from accessing personal, professional or state secrets. It also guarantees the sovereignty of users, by making their data anonymous and inviolable.
  • Signal, which is an instant messaging application that uses the Signal protocol, which is an end-to-end encryption protocol that ensures the confidentiality and integrity of messages. This application allows to communicate anonymously and securely, by avoiding the surveillance or censorship of the American intelligence.
  • Tor, which is a decentralized network that uses volunteer relays to route Internet traffic anonymously and encrypted. This network allows to browse the web without leaving traces, by hiding the IP address and location of users. It also allows to access hidden websites, which are not indexed by search engines.

These technologies and products represent examples of innovative solutions that limit the possibilities of the American intelligence and preserve the individual and collective sovereignty. They also illustrate the issues and challenges related to the use of digital technologies in the field of intelligence.

Conclusion

The American intelligence is a complex and dynamic phenomenon that has a significant impact on the world. It has many strengths and weaknesses, as well as many opportunities and threats. It has many achievements and failures, as well as many benefits and costs. It is a source of both security and insecurity, both privacy and surveillance. It is a subject of both admiration and criticism, both cooperation and confrontation. The American intelligence is a paradox that requires a careful and balanced approach.

New EU Data Protection Regulation 2023/2854: What you need to know

New EU Data Protection Regulation 2023/2854: What you need to know
Learn more about the new European Data Protection Regulation (2023/2854) written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems, for Freemindtronic. This article may be updated on this subject.

EU 2023/2854 Data Protection Rules: what you need to know

The EU has adopted a new regulation to protect personal data published in OJ L, 2023/2854 on 22.12.2023. How does this impact you and your business? Learn more in this article and discover why Freemindtronic innovations are already compliant.

2023 Articles Cardokey Eco-friendly EviSwap NFC NDEF Technology GreenTech

NFC Business Cards with Cardokey free for life: How to Connect without Revealing

2023 Articles Cyberculture EviCore HSM OpenPGP Technology EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension EviCore NFC HSM Technology Legal information Licences Freemindtronic

Unitary patent system: why some EU countries are not on board

Andorran law

Llei 26/2014 del 30 d’octubre de patents

Articles Crypto Currency Cryptocurrency Digital Security EviPass Technology NFC HSM technology Phishing

Ledger Security Breaches from 2017 to 2023: How to Protect Yourself from Hackers

What you need to know about the new EU data protection regulation (2023/2854)

Personal data is a valuable asset in the digital age, but also a vulnerable asset. This is why the European Union has adopted a new regulation to protect the personal data of individuals in the EU. Data

Protection Regulation (EU) 2023/2854 supplements and updates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has been in force since 2018. The new regulation introduces additional procedural rules for the application of the GDPR, particularly in cross-border cases. It also creates the European Data Protection Authority (EDPA), a new independent body that ensures the consistent application of EU data protection rules across the EU. The new regulation will come into force on November 26, 2024. In this article, we will explain the main provisions of the new regulation, its advantages and disadvantages, its international scope and its reactions and controversies.

We will also show you how some products and technologies from Freemindtronic, an Andorran company specialized in security and cybersecurity of computer and information systems, already comply with the new regulation, since they offer innovative and ecological solutions to protect the personal data without using servers, databases, online accounts or identifiers.

The main provisions of the EU data protection law

Several measures to ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of personal data are introduced by the EU data protection law. These measures are:

  • Declaration of the activity and the processing practices. The controllers and the managers of the entities that process personal data must declare them to the national data protection authorities (NDPA) and to EDPA. The EDPA is a new independent body. It oversees the consistent application of the EU data protection rules across the EU. It also cooperates with the NDPA and the other EU institutions. The goal is to ensure the protection of personal data.
  • Implementation of technical and organizational measures. The controllers and the managers of the entities that process personal data must implement them to prevent the risks of damage or loss of data. For example, these measures include the encryption of data, the pseudonymization of data, the limitation of data access, the regular testing of data security, the notification of data breaches, and the appointment of a data protection officer.
  • Reinforcement of the rights of the persons concerned. They have reinforced rights, such as the right of access, the right of opposition, the right of erasure, the right to data portability and the right to restriction of processing. These rights allow the persons to obtain information about the processing of their data, to object to certain types of processing, to request the deletion of their data, to transfer their data to another entity, and to limit the processing of their data in certain cases.
  • Provision of administrative sanctions. The regulation provides them. They can reach up to 20 million euros or 4% of the annual global turnover, depending on the severity of the infringement. The NDPA or the EDPA, depending on the case, impose these sanctions. The national courts or the Court of Justice of the European Union can hear the appeals.

The advantages and disadvantages of the EU data protection reform

The EU data protection reform has pros and cons for different actors involved.

The benefits for the persons whose data are processed

The regulation offers a better protection of their rights and interests. They can control more the use of their data and benefit from a high level of security. Moreover, they have an easy and fast access to the information related to the processing of their data, as well as to the remedies in case of dispute. For instance, a person can request a copy of their data from an online platform. If they find any inaccurate or outdated data, they can ask for a correction or an update. They can also withdraw their consent to the processing of their data at any time, or ask for the deletion of their data if they no longer want to use the platform.

The drawbacks for the controllers and the managers of the entities that process personal data

The regulation imposes additional obligations and stricter constraints on them. They must comply with harmonized rules within the EU, while taking into account the national and regional specificities. Furthermore, they face more severe sanctions in case of non-compliance with the regulation. For example, an entity that processes personal data of persons located in the EU must declare its activity and its processing practices to the NDPA and the EDPA.

It must also obtain the prior consent of the persons for the processing of their data, unless there is a legal basis for the processing. The entity must process the data in a lawful, fair and transparent manner, and collect them for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes. It must also respect the principles of data minimization, data accuracy, data storage limitation, data integrity and data confidentiality.

The international scope of the EU data protection rules

The EU data protection rules have an international scope, as they apply to any entity that processes personal data of persons located in the EU, whether it is established or not in the EU. The regulation therefore requires foreign entities to respect the same rules as European entities, under penalty of sanctions. It aims to ensure an equivalent level of protection for personal data transferred outside the EU.

For this purpose, the regulation establishes different mechanisms to ensure the adequacy of the data protection in the third countries or the international organizations that receive the data. These mechanisms include, for example, the adoption of adequacy decisions by the European Commission, the use of standard contractual clauses, the adherence to binding corporate rules, or the certification by approved schemes.

The reactions and controversies of the EU data protection regulation

The EU data protection regulation has provoked diverse reactions, ranging from approval to contestation.

Positive reactions

Some actors have welcomed the interest of the regulation to strengthen the trust and to foster the technological evolution in the field of data protection. They have highlighted the innovative and ambitious character of the regulation, which places the EU at the forefront of the protection of personal data. For example, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), the independent advisor of the EU institutions on data protection issues, has praised the regulation as a “historic achievement” and a “major step forward” for the protection of the fundamental rights of the individuals in the digital age.

Negative reactions

Some actors have criticized the obligation to inform the NDPA and the EDPA about the activity and the processing practices of personal data. They have considered that it could infringe their national sovereignty or that it could create a risk of illegal or fraudulent exercise by some foreign entities. They have also expressed their concern about the complexity and the heaviness of the regulation, which could hinder the competitiveness and the growth of the entities that process personal data. For example, some member states, such as France, Germany, Italy or Spain, have raised objections or reservations about certain aspects of the regulation.

These aspects include the role and the powers of the EDPA, the criteria and the procedures for the adequacy decisions, or the level and the distribution of the sanctions.

How Freemindtronic products and technologies protect personal data

Freemindtronic is an Andorran company that specializes in security and cybersecurity of computer systems and information systems. It designs and develops green technology products and services under white label, based on contactless technology (NFC). Some of its products are PassCypher, DataShielder, SeedNFC or Cardokey, which use embedded technologies such as EviCore NFC HSM, EviCore HSM OpenPGP or EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension.

These products and technologies have several advantages for the protection of personal data, compared to traditional solutions based on servers, databases, online accounts or identifiers. Indeed, they work without server, without database, anonymously from end to end, without the need to create an account on the internet or to identify themselves to use the products. Therefore, they reduce the risks of loss or damage of data, respect the rights of the persons concerned, and comply with the harmonized rules in the EU. These products and technologies of Freemindtronic are already compliant with the European regulation on data protection, because they respect the principles of security, confidentiality and integrity of data, as well as the rights of the persons concerned. They offer an innovative and ecological alternative to traditional solutions, which may present risks or constraints for data protection.

Conclusion

The regulation (EU) 2023/2854 is an important text for the protection of personal data in the EU. It introduces measures to ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of data, as well as to reinforce the rights of the persons concerned. It applies to any entity that processes personal data of persons located in the EU, whether it is established or not in the EU. It was adopted within the legislative process on the fundamental rights in the EU, but it also provoked reactions and controversies between some member states. It will enter into force on November 26, 2024.

FormBook Malware: How to Protect Your Gmail and Other Data

FormBook Malware: how to protect your gmail and other data
Protect your Gmail Account FormBook malware – Jacques Gascuel: This article will be updated with any new information on the topic.

Secure Your Gmail from FormBook Attacks

FormBook is a malware that can steal your Gmail credentials, messages, and attachments. Learn how to use the Freemindtronic devices to encrypt your Gmail data and use passwordless and 2FA.

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security

Russian Cyberattack Microsoft: An Unprecedented Threat

2024 Digital Security

Europol Data Breach: A Detailed Analysis

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security News Training

Andorra National Cyberattack Simulation: A Global First in Cyber Defense

2024 Digital Security

Apple M chip vulnerability: A Breach in Data Security

2024 Digital Security

Cybersecurity Breach at IMF: A Detailed Investigation

How to Protect Your Gmail Account from FormBook Malware

Introduction

Imagine that you receive an email from your bank, asking you to confirm your identity by clicking on a link. You open the link, and you find yourself on a page that looks like your bank’s website, but it is actually a fake. You enter your credentials, and you think you are done. But in reality, you have just given access to your bank account to hackers, who will use it to steal your money, or worse. This is what FormBook can do, a malware that can steal your sensitive data, and that Google cannot stop. In this article, we will explain what FormBook is, how it works, and how to protect yourself from this malware.

What is FormBook and why is it a threat?

FormBook is a malware that can record your keystrokes, take screenshots, and steal your passwords, cookies, and clipboard data. It can also download and execute other malicious files on your device.

FormBook is distributed through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments. These attachments are usually disguised as invoices, receipts, or shipping confirmations. When you open them, they ask you to enable macros or content. If you do, the malware will be installed on your device.

FormBook can target any web browser, but it has a special feature for Chrome. It can inject a fake Gmail login page into your browser, and trick you into entering your credentials. The malware will then send your Gmail username and password to a remote server controlled by the hackers.

FormBook is a threat because it can compromise your Gmail account and access your personal and professional information. It can also use your Gmail account to send spam or phishing emails to your contacts, or to access other online services that are linked to your Gmail account, such as Google Drive, Google Photos, or Google Pay.

How to protect yourself from FormBook?

Google has not yet found a way to detect and block FormBook. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when you use Gmail and other online services. Here are some tips to protect yourself from FormBook and other malware:

  • Do not open or download attachments from unknown or suspicious senders. If you are not sure about the legitimacy of an email, contact the sender directly or check the official website of the company or organization.
  • Do not enable macros or content in any document unless you trust the source. Macros are small programs that can run malicious code on your device.
  • Use a strong and unique password for your Gmail account and other online accounts. Do not reuse the same password for different services. Change your password regularly and use a password manager to store and generate your passwords.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for your Gmail account and other online accounts. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code or a device confirmation in addition to your password.
  • Use a reputable antivirus software and keep it updated. Antivirus software can scan your device for malware and remove it. You can also use a browser extension that can block malicious websites and pop-ups.

How to encrypt your Gmail messages and attachments with DataShielder NFC HSM

DataShielder NFC HSM is a device that allows you to encrypt and decrypt your Gmail messages and attachments with your own encryption keys that you create and store offline. It uses the EviCypher NFC HSM technology, which is a contactless hardware security module (NFC HSM) that won the Gold Medal for International Inventions in Geneva on March 2021.

With DataShielder NFC HSM, you can encrypt and decrypt your data with AES-256 keys that are randomly generated and stored in the NFC HSM. You can store up to 100 keys and one pair of RSA-4096 keys in the NFC HSM. You can also use different keys for the message and the attachment.

To encrypt your Gmail message and attachment, you need to use the EviCrypt and EviFile applications that are embedded in the DataShielder NFC HSM. These applications allow you to encrypt and decrypt your data with a simple tap of your NFC phone on the DataShielder NFC HSM. You can also share your encrypted data with other users who have the same device and the same key.

By using DataShielder NFC HSM, you can protect your Gmail messages and attachments from FormBook or any other malware that can access your Gmail account. Even if your Gmail account is hacked, your encrypted data will remain encrypted and unreadable by the hackers. Only you and the authorized recipients can decrypt your data with the DataShielder NFC HSM.

How to protect your web Gmail account with passwordless and 2FA using PassCypher NFC HSM

Do you want to manage your web accounts with complicated and complex passwords that you do not need to know, remember, or type? If yes, then you should try PassCypher NFC HSM. This device uses the EviPass NFC HSM technology, which is a contactless hardware password manager that won the Silver Medal for International Inventions in Geneva on March 2021.

With PassCypher NFC HSM, you can create and store your usernames and passwords of more than 256-bit in the NFC HSM. Moreover, you can store your OTP TOTP or HOTP secret keys in the NFC HSM to generate the 2FA code for your web accounts. The NFC HSM can store up to 100 web accounts and one pair of RSA-4096 keys.

To use PassCypher NFC HSM, you need to install the Freemindtronic extension for your web browser based on Chromium or Firefox. This extension uses the EviCore NFC HSM Browser technology, which allows you to communicate with the NFC HSM via your NFC phone. You also need to use the EviPass and EviOTP applications that are embedded in the PassCypher NFC HSM. These applications allow you to create, edit, and delete your web accounts and OTP secret keys with a simple tap of your NFC phone on the PassCypher NFC HSM.

By using PassCypher NFC HSM, you can secure your web accounts with passwordless and 2FA. You do not need to display, know, or type your username and password. You just need to tap your NFC phone on the PassCypher NFC HSM and the extension will autofill and auto login your web account. You also do not need to check for a typosquatting attack, since the extension will verify the URL of the website before logging in. And you do not need to use another device or application to generate the 2FA code, since the PassCypher NFC HSM will do it for you.

How to protect your Gmail account from FormBook with PassCypher NFC HSM

FormBook is a dangerous malware that can access your Gmail account and other sensitive data. Google has not yet found a solution to stop it. Therefore, you need to be vigilant and follow the best practices to protect yourself from cyberattacks. One of them is to use PassCypher NFC HSM to secure your Gmail account with passwordless and 2FA.

By using PassCypher NFC HSM, you can protect your Gmail account from FormBook or any other malware that can access your web browser. Even if your web browser is hacked, your usernames and passwords will remain encrypted and inaccessible by the hackers. Only you can decrypt your Gmail account with the PassCypher NFC HSM. And even if the hackers manage to steal your session cookies, they will not be able to log in to your Gmail account without the 2FA code that is generated by the PassCypher NFC HSM.

To use PassCypher NFC HSM with your Gmail account, you need to follow these steps:

  • Create a Gmail account in the EviPass application on the PassCypher NFC HSM. You can use the default username and password, or you can generate a random and complex password with the EviPass application.
  • Enable 2FA for your Gmail account on the Google website.
  • Choose the option to use an authenticator app, and scan the QR code with the EviOTP application on the PassCypher NFC HSM. This will store your OTP secret key in the NFC HSM.
  • Log in to your Gmail account with the Freemindtronic extension on your web browser. Tap your NFC phone on the PassCypher NFC HSM and the extension will autofill and auto login your Gmail account. You will also see a pop-up window with the 2FA code that you need to enter on the Google website.

By following these steps, you can use PassCypher NFC HSM to secure your Gmail account with passwordless and 2FA. You can also use PassCypher NFC HSM with other web accounts that support 2FA, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon. This way, you can protect yourself from FormBook and other malware that can access your web browser.

Recent statistics on FormBook

FormBook is a malware that was first discovered in 2016, but it remains very active and dangerous. According to the Check Point report on cybersecurity in 2022, FormBook was the third most widespread malware in 2021, attacking 5% of enterprise networks. It was also the most prolific infostealer malware, accounting for 16% of attacks worldwide.

FormBook spreads mainly through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments. These attachments are often RAR self-extracting archives, which are compressed files that can run malicious code when opened. The RAR files contain a legitimate document, such as a PDF or a Word file, and a hidden executable file, which is the FormBook malware. When the user opens the RAR file, the document is displayed, but the malware is also installed in the background.

FormBook can also spread through other methods, such as drive-by downloads, malicious links, or removable media. The malware can infect any Windows device, from Windows XP to Windows 10. The malware can also evade detection and removal by using various techniques, such as encryption, obfuscation, or anti-analysis.

Here are some recent statistics on FormBook, based on the data from Check Point and ANY.RUN:

  • FormBook was the most popular malware in August 2021, affecting 4.5% of organizations worldwide, followed by Trickbot and Agent Tesla, affecting respectively 4% and 3% of organizations worldwide.
  • FormBook was the fourth most common malware in 2020, according to the ranking of malware families by ANY.RUN. It accounted for 8% of the samples analyzed by the online sandboxing service.
  • FormBook was used in many phishing campaigns targeting various industries, such as defense, aerospace, health, education, finance, retail, etc. It was also used to attack Ukrainian targets during the war between Russia and Ukraine in 2022.
  • FormBook has a successor called XLoader, which appeared in 2020 and which is able to infect macOS users. XLoader is sold on the dark web for $59 for a Windows license and $49 for a macOS license.

Danger level of FormBook compared to other malware

FormBook is a very dangerous malware, because it can steal sensitive information, such as credentials, passwords, credit card numbers, 2FA codes, etc. It can also download and execute other malware, such as ransomware, banking trojans, spyware, etc. It can also remotely control the infected device and perform various malicious actions, such as deleting browser cookies, taking screenshots, restarting or shutting down the system, etc.

FormBook is also hard to detect and remove, because it uses advanced evasion techniques, such as code injection, string obfuscation, data encryption, anti-analysis, etc. It also changes frequently its name, path, and file extension, and uses random Windows registry keys to maintain its persistence.

To compare the danger level of FormBook with other known malware in its category, we can use the following criteria:

  • The number of organizations affected worldwide
  • The type and amount of information stolen
  • The ability to download and execute other malware
  • The ability to remotely control the infected device
  • The evasion techniques used
  • The ease of detection and removal

Here is a table that compares FormBook with other popular infostealer malware, such as Trickbot, Agent Tesla, LokiBot, and Raccoon:

Malware Number of organizations affected Type and amount of information stolen Ability to download and execute other malware Ability to remotely control the infected device Evasion techniques used Ease of detection and removal
FormBook 4.5% in August 2021 Credentials, passwords, credit card numbers, 2FA codes, screenshots, keystrokes, etc. Yes Yes Code injection, string obfuscation, data encryption, anti-analysis, etc. Hard
Trickbot 4% in August 2021 Credentials, passwords, banking information, personal data, etc. Yes Yes Code injection, string obfuscation, data encryption, anti-analysis, etc. Hard
Agent Tesla 3% in August 2021 Credentials, passwords, banking information, personal data, screenshots, keystrokes, etc. No Yes String obfuscation, data encryption, anti-analysis, etc. Medium
LokiBot 1.5% in August 2021 Credentials, passwords, banking information, personal data, etc. No Yes String obfuscation, data encryption, anti-analysis, etc. Medium
Raccoon 0.8% in August 2021 Credentials, passwords, banking information, personal data, etc. No Yes String obfuscation, data encryption, anti-analysis, etc. Medium

From this table, we can see that FormBook is the most dangerous infostealer malware, because it affects the most organizations, steals the most types of information, and can download and execute other malware. It is also the hardest to detect and remove, because it uses more evasion techniques than the other malware.

Forms of attacks of FormBook

FormBook can be delivered through different forms of attacks, depending on the delivery mechanism chosen by the malicious actor. Here are some forms of attacks of FormBook:

  • Phishing: FormBook can be sent by email as a malicious attachment, such as a Word, Excel, PDF, or ZIP or RAR file. The email can have a misleading subject, such as an invoice, a receipt, a contract, a job offer, etc. When the user opens the attachment, the malware runs and infects the device.
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities: FormBook can exploit vulnerabilities in popular software, such as Microsoft Office, Windows, Adobe Reader, etc. For example, FormBook used the vulnerability CVE-2017-8570 in Microsoft Office to run malicious code from a RTF file. FormBook also used the vulnerability CVE-2021-40444 in Microsoft MSHTML to run malicious code from a CAB file.
  • Drive-by downloads: FormBook can be downloaded without the user’s knowledge when they visit a compromised or malicious website. The website can use a script or an exploit kit to trigger the download and execution of the malware on the user’s device.
  • Removable media: FormBook can be copied to removable media, such as USB drives, external hard drives, memory cards, etc. When the user connects the removable media to their device, the malware runs automatically and infects the device.
  • Social media: FormBook can be spread by messages or posts on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These messages or posts can contain links or images that redirect to malicious websites or infected files. When the user clicks on the link or image, the malware is downloaded and executed on their device.

Here is a type of formbook malware attacks image:

Type of Formbook MalwareAttacks

How PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM can protect you from FormBook attacks

PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM are two devices that use the EviPass NFC HSM technology from Freemindtronic, which is a contactless hardware password manager that won the Silver Medal for International Inventions in Geneva on March 2021. These devices can help you protect your web accounts and your Gmail messages and attachments from FormBook attacks, by using passwordless, 2FA, and encryption.

PassCypher NFC HSM can create and store your usernames and passwords of more than 256-bit in the NFC HSM. It can also store your OTP TOTP or HOTP secret keys in the NFC HSM to generate the 2FA code for your web accounts. The NFC HSM can store up to 100 web accounts and one pair of RSA-4096 keys.

DataShielder NFC HSM can encrypt and decrypt your Gmail messages and attachments with your own encryption keys that you create and store offline. It uses the EviCypher NFC HSM technology, which is a contactless hardware security module (NFC HSM) that won the Gold Medal for International Inventions in Geneva on March 2021. It can store up to 100 keys and one pair of RSA-4096 keys in the NFC HSM.

To use PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM, you need to install the Freemindtronic extension for your web browser based on Chromium or Firefox. This extension uses the EviCore NFC HSM Browser technology, which allows you to communicate with the NFC HSM via your NFC phone. You also need to use the EviPass, EviOTP, EviCrypt, and EviFile applications that are embedded in the PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM. These applications allow you to create, edit, delete, encrypt, and decrypt your web accounts, OTP secret keys, messages, and attachments with a simple tap of your NFC phone on the PassCypher NFC HSM or DataShielder NFC HSM.

By using PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM, you can secure your web accounts and your Gmail messages and attachments with passwordless, 2FA, and encryption. You do not need to display, know, or type your username, password, or encryption key. You just need to tap your NFC phone on the PassCypher NFC HSM or DataShielder NFC HSM and the extension will autofill, auto login, encrypt, or decrypt your web account, message, or attachment. You also do not need to use another device or application to generate the 2FA code, since the PassCypher NFC HSM will do it for you.

Here is a table that shows how PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM can protect you from different FormBook attack vectors, such as keylogger, password stealer, file transfer, screenshot, etc. I used a check mark or a cross mark to show visually what PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM protect.

 

FormBook PassCypher DataShielder
Keylogger ✔️ ✔️
Password stealer ✔️ ✔️
File transfer ✔️
Screenshot ✔️ ✔️
Remote control
Phishing ✔️ ✔️
Exploit kit
Drive-by download
Removable media ✔️
Social media

This table shows that PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder NFC HSM can protect your web accounts from FormBook’s keylogger, password stealer, and phishing, by using passwordless and 2FA. They can also protect your Gmail messages and attachments from FormBook’s file transfer and screenshot, by using encryption and decryption. DataShielder NFC HSM can also protect your data stored in computers or removable media, by using encryption and decryption. However, neither device can protect your device from FormBook’s remote control, exploit kit, drive-by download, or unsecured social media, which can compromise your system and your data. Therefore, you should also use an antivirus software and a firewall to prevent FormBook from accessing your device.

Quantum computing RSA encryption: a threat and a solution

Quantum computing RSA encryption
Quantum computing RSA encryption by Jacques Gascuel: This article will be updated with any new information on the topic.

Quantum computers RSA cryptography: how to secure your data

Quantum computers can break RSA encryption, which secures our online data. But there are solutions that are resistant to quantum attacks. One of them is Freemindtronic, an Andorran company that notably uses NFC HSM technology to share AES-256 keys using RSA-4096 encryption, which quantum computers cannot decipher.

2024 Articles Cardokey EviSwap NFC NDEF Technology GreenTech Technical News

NFC vCard Cardokey: Revolutionizing Digital Networking

2023 Articles Cardokey Eco-friendly EviSwap NFC NDEF Technology GreenTech

NFC Business Cards with Cardokey free for life: How to Connect without Revealing

2023 Articles Cyberculture Eco-friendly Electronics GreenTech Technologies

The first wood transistor for green electronics

Eco-friendly GreenTech

Hardware secrets manager Eco-friendly

Quantum computing RSA encryption: a challenge and a solution

Quantum computing RSA encryption is a challenge for online security. Quantum computing is a new way of computing that uses quantum physics. It can do things that classical computers cannot or are too slow to do. One of these things is breaking RSA encryption, which secures data online. RSA encryption is based on the difficulty of factoring large numbers. Quantum computers can factor large numbers faster than classical computers. They use algorithms like Shor’s algorithm, which exploits quantum properties.

However, this threat is not imminent. Building and using quantum computers is still challenging and uncertain. Two recent announcements claimed to have cracked RSA encryption with quantum systems. But they have not been verified. The experts are skeptical and doubtful. They have not provided any evidence or details. They have made unrealistic or too good to be true claims. They have not been peer-reviewed or reproduced.

What is RSA encryption?

RSA encryption is a type of asymmetric encryption. It uses two keys: a public key and a private key. The public key can be shared with anyone, but the private key must be kept secret. They are mathematically related, but it is very hard to find the private key from the public key.

How does RSA encryption work?

RSA encryption uses large prime numbers to generate the keys. The public key and the private key are based on the product of two prime numbers. It is easy to multiply two prime numbers, but very hard to factor their product. For example, 17 x 23 = 391, but finding that 391 = 17 x 23 is much harder.

RSA encryption uses keys that are 2048 or 4096 bits long. These are numbers that have 2048 or 4096 binary digits (0 or 1). They are so large that it would take billions of years for a classical computer to factor them. Therefore, RSA encryption is very secure and widely used for online security.

What is quantum computing and how does it work?

Quantum computing is a new way of computing that uses quantum physics. It can do things that classical computers cannot or are too slow to do. Here is how it works:

  • Qubits: Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits. They can be 0 or 1, or both at the same time. This is called superposition. When we measure a qubit, it becomes either 0 or 1. This gives us more information than a classical bit, which is always 0 or 1.
  • Entanglement: Quantum computers can also use entanglement. This is when two qubits share a quantum state and affect each other, even if they are far apart. This allows us to manipulate multiple qubits at once and create complex quantum states.
  • Parallelism: Quantum computers can use these properties to perform parallel computations. This means they can do many calculations at the same time, using fewer qubits than classical bits. This can speed up some tasks that are hard for classical computers.

One of these tasks is breaking RSA encryption, which is based on factoring large numbers. Quantum computers can use a quantum algorithm, called Shor’s algorithm, to factor large numbers faster than classical computers. This can break RSA encryption by finding the private key from the public key. However, this requires a quantum computer with many qubits and low errors, which we do not have yet.

Quantum computing RSA encryption: a challenge and a solution

The ability to find an RSA private key from its public key by a quantum computer poses a serious threat to online security. However, this threat is not imminent, as there are still many challenges and uncertainties in building and using quantum computers. Two recent announcements have claimed to have cracked RSA encryption with quantum systems, but they have not been verified and have been met with skepticism and doubt from the experts. They have not provided any evidence or details of their work. They have made assumptions and claims that seem unrealistic or too good to be true. They have not been peer-reviewed or reproduced by other sources.

How quantum computers can break RSA encryption

RSA encryption is a type of asymmetric encryption. It uses two keys: a public key and a private key. The public key can be shared with anyone, but the private key must be kept secret. They are mathematically related, but it is very hard to find the private key from the public key.

RSA encryption uses large prime numbers to generate the keys. The public key and the private key are based on the product of two prime numbers. It is easy to multiply two prime numbers, but very hard to factor their product. For example, 17 x 23 = 391, but finding that 391 = 17 x 23 is much harder.

RSA encryption uses keys that are 2048 or 4096 bits long. These are numbers that have 2048 or 4096 binary digits (0 or 1). They are so large that it would take billions of years for a classical computer to factor them. Therefore, RSA encryption is very secure and widely used for online security.

Quantum computers can break RSA encryption by finding the prime factors of the composite number that is used to generate the public and private keys. Once the prime factors are known, the private key can be easily calculated from the public key, and the encrypted messages can be decrypted. Quantum computers can use a quantum algorithm, called Shor’s algorithm, to factor large numbers faster than classical computers. Shor’s algorithm can factor a large number in polynomial time, which means that the time it takes to factor a number grows relatively slowly as the number gets larger. In contrast, the best classical algorithms for factoring are exponential, which means that the time it takes to factor a number grows very fast as the number gets larger.

Two claims of breaking RSA encryption with quantum systems

Two recent announcements have raised concerns about quantum computing RSA encryption. One is from a team of Chinese researchers, who published a paper on arXiv in December 2022. They claim to have found a faster way to break RSA encryption with a quantum computer of 372 qubits. They combine a classical algorithm, called Schnorr’s algorithm, with a quantum algorithm, called QAOA (Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm). Schnorr’s algorithm is a method of factoring large numbers that uses a probabilistic approach and a lattice reduction technique. QAOA is a method of finding approximate solutions to optimization problems using a quantum computer.

The researchers say that by applying QAOA to the most computationally intensive step of Schnorr’s algorithm, they can reduce the number of qubits and the number of operations needed to factor a large number. They also say that they tested their method on a 10-qubit quantum computer and succeeded in factoring a 48-bit number. They extrapolate that their method can scale to factor a 2048-bit number, which is the standard for RSA encryption.

The other announcement is from a researcher named Ed Gerck, who posted on LinkedIn in November 2023. He claims to have decrypted RSA-2048 encryption, the most used public-key algorithm, with a quantum system implementable on a smartphone or a PC running Linux. He says that he developed a quantum algorithm that can calculate prime numbers faster than Shor’s algorithm and that he proved several mathematical conjectures, such as Goldbach’s conjecture. He published an excerpt of his work, but has not provided any proof or detail of his method.

Both announcements are not verified and have been met with skepticism and doubt from the experts. They have not provided any evidence or details of their work. They have made assumptions and claims that seem unrealistic or too good to be true. They have not been peer-reviewed or reproduced by other sources.

Quantum computing RSA encryption: possible solutions

How to protect RSA encryption from quantum attacks?

However, this announcement is not yet verified, and it raises many questions in the scientific community. It is therefore premature to draw hasty conclusions, and we must wait for the publication of the evidence of his work. It is also possible that RSA encryption can be adapted to resist quantum attacks, for example by increasing the length of the keys, or by using masking techniques. In addition, there are alternatives to RSA encryption, supposed to be more robust against quantum computing. These are post-quantum cryptography algorithms, based on other mathematical problems that are difficult to solve for quantum computers. Post-quantum cryptography is a very active field of research, which aims to anticipate the threats that quantum computers would pose to the security of communications. There are several potential candidates to replace RSA encryption, but they must be evaluated and compared in order to choose the most suitable ones for different needs and constraints. The NIST has launched an international competition to select and standardize the best post-quantum encryption algorithms, which should be ready by 2024.

What are the alternatives to RSA encryption?

Some of the alternatives to RSA encryption that are considered to be more resistant to quantum attacks are:

  • Lattice-based cryptography: This is based on the hardness of finding the shortest vector in a high-dimensional lattice, or the closest vector to a given point. Lattice-based cryptography has the advantage of being fast, versatile, and allowing for advanced features such as homomorphic encryption and digital signatures. Some examples of lattice-based algorithms are NTRU, BLISS, and NewHope.
  • Code-based cryptography: This is based on the hardness of decoding a general linear code, or finding the error vector in a noisy transmission. Code-based cryptography has the advantage of being simple, efficient, and having a long history of security analysis. Some examples of code-based algorithms are McEliece, Niederreiter, and BIKE.
  • Multivariate cryptography: This is based on the hardness of solving a system of multivariate polynomial equations over a finite field. Multivariate cryptography has the advantage of being compact, flexible, and allowing for various applications such as encryption, signatures, and identification. Some examples of multivariate algorithms are Rainbow, HFE, and GeMSS.
  • Hash-based cryptography: This is based on the hardness of finding collisions or preimages for a cryptographic hash function. Hash-based cryptography has the advantage of being simple, provably secure, and relying on minimal assumptions. Some examples of hash-based algorithms are XMSS, SPHINCS, and LMS.

How Freemindtronic protects data with RSA-4096 and NFC technology

Freemindtronic is an Andorran company that specializes in security and cybersecurity of information and computer systems. It designs and develops products and services based on NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which allows wireless communication at short distance.

The HSM of Freemindtronic: devices that store and protect cryptographic keys

One of the products of Freemindtronic is the HSM (Hardware Security Module), which is a device that stores and protects cryptographic keys. The HSM of Freemindtronic uses two technologies: EviCore HSM OpenPGP and EviCore NFC HSM.

  • EviCore HSM OpenPGP is an implementation of the OpenPGP standard, an open standard for encryption and signature of data. It can manage symmetric and asymmetric encryption keys, both standard and OpenPGP. It can also create HSM on any type of storage device, such as key store, key chain, SD card, SSD, USB drive, NAS, cloud, etc. It can work in fixed, offline, or online mode (LAN/WAN).
  • EviCore NFC HSM is a technology that allows to share AES-256 standard keys using RSA-4096 standard encryption. It works without contact with NFC HSM, which use a pair of RSA-4096 keys for secret sharing (AES-256 encryption keys).

The AES-256 standard: a type of symmetric encryption with high level of security

The AES-256 standard is a type of symmetric encryption, which means that it uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt messages. The AES-256 standard offers a high level of security, as it uses keys that are 256 bits long, which are very hard to crack by brute force. The AES-256 standard is widely used for encrypting data and communications, such as files, emails, or messages.

The RSA-4096 encryption: a type of asymmetric encryption that protects the AES-256 keys from quantum attacks

However, the AES-256 standard requires that the key be securely transmitted between the sender and the receiver, without being intercepted, modified, or forged by an attacker. This is where the RSA-4096 encryption comes in, as it provides a way to protect the AES-256 keys from quantum attacks.

The RSA-4096 encryption is a type of asymmetric encryption, which means that it uses two different keys to encrypt and decrypt messages: a public key and a private key. The public key can be shared with anyone, while the private key must be kept secret. The RSA-4096 encryption uses keys that are 4096 bits long, which are out of reach of the current or future quantum computers. The RSA-4096 encryption can encrypt the AES-256 keys with the public key of the receiver, and decrypt them with the private key of the receiver. Thus, only the receiver can access the AES-256 keys, and use them to encrypt or decrypt the messages. The RSA-4096 encryption can also sign the AES-256 keys with the private key of the sender, and verify them with the public key of the sender. Thus, the receiver can ensure the identity of the sender, and the integrity of the AES-256 keys.

The RSA-4096 encryption is therefore an effective way to protect the AES-256 keys from quantum attacks, as it uses keys that are 4096 bits long, which are out of reach of the current or future quantum computers.

The RSA-4096 encryption is also a practical way to share the AES-256 keys between the HSM, as it uses the NFC technology, which allows wireless communication at short distance. The RSA-4096 encryption is therefore a major asset for the technologies of Freemindtronic, which offer an optimal security for the encryption of data.

Conclusion

Quantum computing is a new paradigm of computing that could break RSA encryption, the most common encryption method on the internet. With only 372 qubits, a quantum computer could break RSA encryption, exposing our online data and communications. However, there are solutions and alternatives that can resist quantum attacks. One of them is Freemindtronic, an Andorran company that uses NFC technology to share AES-256 standard keys using RSA-4096 standard encryption, which is beyond the reach of quantum computers. Freemindtronic’s technologies are based on the EviCore HSM OpenPGP and the EviCore NFC HSM, which are hardware devices that store and protect cryptographic keys. EviCore HSM OpenPGP transforms your smartphone, tablet or computer into a hardware security module compatible with the OpenPGP standard. EviCore NFC HSM allows you to store and use your crypto keys and secrets in a contactless NFC device, such as a card, a sticker, or a keychain. Both technologies offer features such as offline isolation, seamless integration, enhanced user experience, and multi-factor authentication. Therefore, Freemindtronic’s technologies are innovative and secure solutions for data and communication encryption, which can withstand quantum attacks and ensure the privacy and integrity of online activities.

NFC Business Cards with Cardokey free for life: How to Connect without Revealing

Cardokey NFC vCard Business: Edit, Read, and Import Contacts Seamlessly on iPhone.
NFC Business Cards with Cardokey by Jacques Gascuel: This article will be updated with any new information on the topic.

How to Create NFC Business Cards with Cardokey

Do you want to create your contact information in a simple, fast and eco-friendly way? Do you want to use NFC technology without spending a fortune or compromising your privacy? Then you need to read this article about Cardokey, the app that’s revolutionizing NFC business cards.

2024 Articles Cardokey EviSwap NFC NDEF Technology GreenTech Technical News

NFC vCard Cardokey: Revolutionizing Digital Networking

2023 Articles Cardokey Eco-friendly EviSwap NFC NDEF Technology GreenTech

NFC Business Cards with Cardokey free for life: How to Connect without Revealing

2023 Articles Cyberculture Eco-friendly Electronics GreenTech Technologies

The first wood transistor for green electronics

Eco-friendly GreenTech

Hardware secrets manager Eco-friendly

NFC Business Cards: Create your NFC vCard with Cardokey, the Eco-Friendly and Secure NFC App

Are you looking for an eco-friendly way to create contactless business cards? Do you want to benefit from affordable NFC technology and prioritize privacy? You’ll love Cardokey – the app revolutionizing NFC business cards! Cardokey, the NFC business card that connects you while protecting your privacy.

What is Cardokey and how does it work?

Cardokey: Free App for Eco-Friendly NFC Business Cards

You can easily and free create and share your business cards, your social network links or links to your favorite sites for life. Recycle any NFC Tag, NFC Ticket, NFC Sticker or NFC card allowing the use of the NDEF format.
Use of the free Cardokey application is completely anonymous and does not ask for any personal or professional information. You therefore do not need to create an account or identify yourself to use Cardokey.

Cardokey: a compliant and sustainable solution

Cardokey adheres to various standards like ISO/IEC 7816-4, ISO/IEC 14443, NFC Forum Type 2, ISO/IEC 18092, and ISO/IEC 15693 without compromising your privacy or security. It also complies with international data protection laws such as GDPR, PIPEDA, CCPA, and more.

Cardokey is an eco-designed solution that contributes to the UN Goal 12. Consequently, it complies with international standards for eco-responsible practices, circular and solidarity economy, sustainable economy and carbon footprint reduction.

Cardokey: a compatible and versatile app

NFC business cards created with Cardokey are compatible with all NFC phones, Android and iPhone. The application works in real time, offline, without a database, including in airplane mode. This means that you can modify the information contained in the memory of your NFC media at any time. The app also allows you to format any NFC Media to NDEF format and also erase almost all types of NFC chips.

Cardokey: a simple and fast way to share your contact information

Digital business cards created with Cardokey can be shared in seconds. In fact, your interlocutor does not need to download a specific application in order to be able to read the information you wish to share. All he has to do is place the digital business card under his phone equipped with NFC technology to see the information.

How to create an NFC business card with Cardokey that fits the memory size of your NFC media?

The intelligent system of Cardokey

One of the most interesting features of Cardokey is the automatic management of the memory size of forms. The contact form indicates in real time the actual occupancy of the NDEF memory based on the number of characters. The Cardokey user knows the type of vCard information. He can store it according to the memory size. The memory size depends on the NFC media.

The different types of NFC Media and their memory size

It is possible to make a vCard with a minimum of name, surname and email information for a very small NFC memory4. For example, on an NTAG Nano, which has a capacity of 160 bytes and can store NDEF messages of up to 128 bytes, one can store basic information like a person’s name, surname, phone number, and email address.

Or, more complete information can be stored on a ST25TV02K chip, which has a capacity of 256 bytes and can store NDEF messages of up to 224 bytes. In this case, one can include a person’s name, surname, title, organization, phone number, email address, and postal address.

The steps to create an NFC business card with Cardokey

You can create NFC business cards that fit the memory size of your media without losing information. This allows you to optimize the use of your NFC Media and take advantage of their full capabilities.

To create NFC business cards that fit the memory size of your media, simply follow these steps:

  • Open the Cardokey app and choose the type of content you want to create (business card, URL link, social media link).
  • Enter the information you want to share in the contact form. The form tells you in real time how much memory your data is occupying and how much memory is available on your media.
  • Hover your smartphone to the NFC media of your choice. The app writes the data to the NFC media and confirms that the NFC business card has been created successfully.
  • Test your NFC business card by scanning it with your smartphone or another NFC phone. You’ll see the information you’ve shared on the screen.

That’s it, you’ve created an NFC business card adapted to the memory size of your media, thanks to Cardokey’s automatic form memory size management feature

What are the benefits of NFC business cards with Cardokey?

Cardokey is free and anonymous

Cardokey is a free app that lets you create NFC vCard business cards easily. You can create as many NFC business cards as you want, without paying any fees or signing up for any subscriptions. Moreover, Cardokey is completely anonymous and does not ask for any personal or professional information from the user. You don’t need to create an account or fill in any data. Everything works offline, in real-time, without a database.

Cardokey is easy to use

Cardokey is very easy to use, with one-click installation and operation. You don’t need any technical knowledge or specific hardware to create your NFC business cards. All you have to do is download the app on your smartphone, choose the type of content you want to create, enter the information you want to share, and swipe your smartphone on the NFC media of your choice. And there you have it, your NFC business card is ready! Furthermore, Cardokey features an intelligent system that optimizes the NDEF memory management of NFC media. This provides an optimal user experience.

How Cardokey protects your data with EviSwap NFC NDEF technology

The innovative features of EviSwap NFC NDEF technology

Cardokey uses EviSwap NFC NDEF technology by Freemindtronic for cybersecurity. This is an innovative technology that lets you create and share digital contacts contactless for life. With a simple click, you can create NFC business cards on any NFC media, whether it is disposable or not. You can give a new use to NFC tickets, cards, labels, and tags. You can also rewrite your NFC business cards at least a million times without any risk of error. You can use them for more than 40 years without needing a power source.

The standard and secure format of EviSwap NFC NDEF technology

EviSwap NFC NDEF technology is a technology that uses NFC to facilitate data exchange by implementing the NDEF NFC standard. NDEF stands for NFC Data Exchange Format. It is a standardized format that contains structured data, such as contacts, links, texts, images, etc. NDEF files are compatible with most computer and phone terminals, which can read and write them directly on the NFC memory. EviSwap NFC NDEF technology is especially used by Freemindtronic to exchange encrypted data from human to human from an NFC media, ensuring data security and privacy.

The performance and durability of EviSwap NFC NDEF technology for industrial chips

EviSwap NFC NDEF technology is also compatible with all NFC NDEF media, but it has the advantage of being optimized for Freemindtronic’s NFC HSM industrial chips. These chips can operate in a wide range of temperatures, from -40°C to +85°C. They can withstand harsh environments and resist shocks, vibrations, and water. They are ideal for applications that require reliability and robustness, such as logistics, manufacturing, or security. Moreover, EviSwap NFC NDEF technology is optimized to exchange the largest quantity of information stored in a large NFC memory. For example, it is possible to store NDEF messages of up to 7.9 kilobytes on an M24LR64E-R chip, which has a capacity of 8 kilobytes. In this case, one can add all types of vCard data as well as security keys, digital signature keys and other custom data.

Cardokey: the anonymous and reusable solution for creating NFC business cards

Cardokey is a secure and reusable solution. The Cardokey app works anonymously. It is not connected to a remote service. It does not store in the phone the data. It does not ask you for any information about the user. Finally, it works in real time in Air Gap Network Security . The EviSwap technology also includes an intelligent system to optimize the memory management of NFC media. The goal is to improve the user experience. The intelligent system informs the user in real time of the limits imposed by the maximum size of the NDEF memory available in the media. This allows you to easily store data according to the memory size.

Cardokey, an eco-friendly application

Cardokey isn’t just a universal app for people worldwide; it’s also eco-friendly, allowing you to recycle NFC media and reduce their environmental impact.

How Cardokey recycles NFC Media

NFC media, such as tags, cards or bracelets, are made of several elements and materials, such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate), aluminum or copper for the antenna, a silicon NFC chip, gold or other metals, and an adhesive. These materials are not all easily recyclable, and can cause pollution or waste problems. For example, PET is a common plastic, that is used in many consumer products, like water bottles or packaging. Although PET is recyclable, when it is used in large quantities and in the form of an NFC tag, it is hard to separate PET from other components for recycling, and it tends to clog the treatment filters. Moreover, the metal of an NFC antenna is difficult to recover and recycle. Finally, the NFC chip itself contains precious metals, that are often lost during the recycling process.

To avoid these problems, Cardokey offers an innovative and ecological solution: it allows you to recycle NFC media by reusing them to create new NFC business cards. Instead of throwing away your old NFC tags, cards or bracelets, you can transform them into NFC business cards with Cardokey, and give them a new life. You can also use existing NFC media, such as transport tickets, or access badges, and convert them into NFC business cards with Cardokey. You can thus enjoy all the benefits of NFC technology, without generating additional waste.

How Cardokey works with different types of NFC chips

Cardokey recycles all types of NFC chips (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5), regardless of ISO standards (14443, 15693, 18092). It detects chip types and adjusts accordingly for maximum compatibility. For example, Cardokey can read and write to NFC chips that have enough memory to store information, such as NTAG, MIFARE or ICODE chips. However, Cardokey will not be able to format, erase or modify NFC chips that are permanently locked.

How Cardokey helps you create personalized NFC business cards

By using Cardokey, you can recycle NFC media and turn them into personalized NFC business cards, that contain the information you want to share, such as your name, company, title, website, email, phone number, and more. You can also create URL links to documents or presentations that are useful for your business, such as quotes, contracts, portfolios, and more. You can also create pre-configured links to your favorite social networks, such as Deviantart, Discord, Facebook, Flickr, GitHub, ICQ, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mastodon, Medium, Pinterest, Reddit, Skype, Slack, Snapchat, SoundCloud, Spotify, Steam, Telegram, TikTok, Tumblr, Twitch, Twitter, VKontakte, WeChat, WhatsApp, YouTube, etc. Finally, you can manage your data and contacts in the NFC card, edit or delete them at any time, and view them on your phone or card.

How Cardokey contributes to the preservation of the planet

If we consider the 14 languages ​​available in the Cardokey application, this represents more than 3.7 billion potential users. These potential users can each recycle 10 NFC media each year. This represents 37 billion NFC supports annually. This reduces the environmental impact of NFC and helps preserve the planet.

How Cardokey is eco-friendly and compliant

Cardokey is an eco-designed solution that contributes to the UN Goal 12. This goal aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. It complies with ISO 14001, Basel and WEEE standards. It also follows international standards for eco-responsible practices, circular and solidarity economy, sustainable economy and carbon footprint reduction. In addition, Cardokey complies with various standards and regulations. These include ISO/IEC 7816-4, ISO/IEC 14443, NFC Forum Type 2, ISO/IEC 18092 and ISO/IEC 15693. It also follows international law rules on the protection of private and professional data. These include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and others.

Unlike other NFC business card solutions, which are often paid, limited, complex or not very environmentally friendly, Cardokey offers you a free, unlimited, simple and eco-designed solution.

Cardokey therefore offers you an innovative and ecological solution to create NFC business cards that look like you and that suit your needs. Thanks to its recycling feature, you can also reuse NFC media and turn them into personalized NFC business cards.

Cardokey: a universal app

Cardokey is designed to let you create and manage your NFC business cards in a simple and efficient way. But did you know that Cardokey is also a universal app, which can be used by people from all over the world, regardless of their language?
Indeed, Cardokey is available in 14 languages: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian. This represents more than 86.02% of the languages spoken in the world, and more than 3.7 billion people who can use the app in their native language or in a language they master.

Moreover, Cardokey automatically adapts to the language of the phone where it is installed. If the user changes the language of their phone, Cardokey will do the same. Thus, you can create and manage your NFC business cards in the language of your choice, and enjoy all the features of the app.

You can also choose to share your information in multiple languages, by creating different profiles for each language. For example, you can have a profile in French for your French-speaking contacts, a profile in English for your English-speaking contacts, and a profile in Chinese for your Chinese contacts.

Cardokey offers you great flexibility and creativity to create NFC business cards that suit you and your needs.

How NFC vCards work

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It is a technology that allows two media to communicate with each other when they are close to each other. NFC business cards with Cardokey use this technology to share your contact information in a simple and fast way.

An NFC tag is a media that contains a tiny electronic chip that can store and exchange data. It can have different shapes, such as stickers, keychains or physical cards. When you bring your smartphone near an NFC tag, the data associated with the tag appears automatically on your screen.

NFC vCard business cards with Cardokey are a great alternative to paper business cards, which are often thrown away, lost or outdated. They are eco-friendly, reusable and updated. They also save you time and money, as you don’t need to print or carry them. Moreover, they are more secure and anonymous, as you don’t need to share your personal data or connect to the Internet to use them.

What are the features of Cardokey NFC vCard business cards?

Cardokey offers many features that allow you to create and manage your NFC digital business cards. Here’s a table that summarizes Cardokey’s features:

Function Available
Create a vCard (contact) taking into account the available space ✔️
Create an NDEF NFC Vcard (Manually) ✔️
Create a vCard from an existing contact in the phone ✔️
Modify any existing NFC vCard created by other paid or free apps to make it easier to recycle and update them ✔️
Delete data stored in the NDEF of an NFC media ✔️
Format all types of NFC media to add NDEF compatibility ✔️
Create and store in the NDEF memory of any existing NFC media: your pre-configured links for social networks, the url of your choice, a vCard contact ✔️
Data management in the NFC Media: Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) ✔️
Explanation of each pcictogram and its feature in the application ✔️
Show contact on phone and NFC Media ✔️
Automatic management of the memory size of the NFC card ✔️
Translation into 14 languages: CA, FR, EN, UK, ES, DE, IT, PT, RO, RU, AR, HI, ZH,JP ✔️
Information de contact de Freemindtronic ✔️
Information about the publisher of the Freemindtronic software ✔️
Direct link on the play store to buy the Cardokey Pro version and NFC Medial ✔️
Cardokey is a recycling solution for all types of disposable or non-disposable NFC Media ✔️

 

With these features, you can create a custom NFC business card, which contains the information you want to share, such as your name, company, title, website, email, phone number, and more. You can also create URL links to documents or presentations that are useful for your business, such as quotes, contracts, portfolios, and more. You can also create pre-configured links to your favorite social networks, such as Deviantart, Discord, Facebook, Flickr, GitHub, ICQ, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mastodon, Medium, Pinterest, Reddit, Skype, Slack, Snapchat, SoundCloud, Spotify, Steam, Telegram, TikTok, Tumblr, Twitch, Twitter, VKontakte, WeChat, WhatsApp, YouTube, etc. Finally, you can manage your data and contacts in the NFC card, edit or delete them at any time, and view them on your phone or card. These features give you a lot of freedom and creativity to create NFC business cards that look and match you.

What are the use cases for NFC business cards with Cardokey?

There are many of them, whether for business or personal needs. Here are some examples of use cases:

Andorra: keep in memory a special event

During the winter, a family visits Andorra’s Granvalira for their child’s first ski lesson and to experience their first snowflake, star, etc. The family keeps the NFC ski ticket formatted in NDEF format. Then, they save a URL that links to a page with all the photos and videos of this event. The ski ticket has become a souvenir object that will be kept for several years. In this case, Cardokey allows you to create an NFC business card with a URL that links to a page where there are all the photos, videos of this event.

Exhibitor: a connected poster with NFC tags

At a booth event, Marius uses self-adhesive NFC tags that they stick behind a poster holder advertising their products with a URL link that directs the visitor to their product information on the poster. The exhibitor can change the poster of his support with Cardokey. He can put a new poster and change the URL link of his new poster. This way, the exhibitor makes a simple poster a connected poster. In this case, Cardokey allows you to create an NFC business card with a URL link that directs the visitor to your product information on the poster.

Goodies: Offer NFC business cards

During a trade show, Mary offers her visitors NFC business cards with her brand as goodies. This allows her to make herself known and retain the loyalty of his potential clients, who will be able to scan her NFC business card with their smartphone to access her website, her LinkedIn profile, her portfolio, etc. Mary can purchase her NFC media from any NFC media e-commerce site or order from Cardokey NFC Cards with an extremely long lifespan of up to 1 million writes and 40 years of vCard retention NFC or URL or network link. In this case, Cardokey allows you to create an NFC vCard with all of Mary’s contact details to offer to her visitors.

Tourist: NFC business cards in different languages

While traveling abroad, Tao uses Cardokey to create his NFC business card with his contact details in his native language. This allows him to easily introduce himself to the people he meets. In fact, they will be able to scan his vcard with their smartphone to see the information translated into their language. He can also use Cardokey to save URL links to websites or applications useful for his trip, such as tourist guides, maps, booking services, etc. In this case, Cardokey allows you to create an NFC business card with your contact details in your native language.

Family: An NFC business card collecting memories

During a family reunion, a family member uses Cardokey to store links to photos and memories on NFC media. Before leaving each other, everyone takes their NFC media. Later, they will be able to relive their life moments with their loved ones, who will simply scan the NFC vcards with their smartphone to view their images, videos, messages, etc. They will also be able to use Cardokey to create URL links to websites or applications that are important to them, such as associations, causes, passions, etc. In this case, Cardokey allows you to create an NFC business card with your photos and memories.

How to download and install Cardokey?

To use Cardokey, you need an NFC-enabled smartphone, i.e. one that has an NFC chip and can read and write NFC data. Most recent smartphones are NFC-enabled, but you can check your smartphone’s compatibility on the Cardokey website.

Cardokey is available in 14 languages (Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, German, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian). You can download it in any country that accepts the Google play store or app store platform.

To download and install Cardokey on your smartphone, all you need to do is follow these steps:

  • Go to the Google Play Store or App Store and search for “Cardokey”.
  • Select the app and click “Install”.
  • Open the app and agree to the terms of use.
  • Start creating your NFC business cards!

If you are interested in Cardokey, feel free to download it now by clicking on the following link:

In short

Cardokey is a free, user-friendly, eco-conscious app compliant with global privacy and data protection laws. It allows you to create NFC vCard business cards for all Android and iPhone NFC phones. It also lets you reuse and customize NFC media.

Cardokey is the NFC business card that connects you without revealing you. It lets you exchange your contact details without contact and without paper. It offers you a free, unlimited, simple and eco-designed solution.

Definition of technical terms:

  • NFC (Near Field Communication): a technology that allows two devices to communicate with each other when they are close to each other.
  • NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format): a standard format for storing and exchanging data on NFC media.
  • vCard: a digital format for storing and sharing contact information, such as name, phone number, email address, etc.
  • Air Gap

Pegasus: The cost of spying with one of the most powerful spyware in the world

Pegasus The Cost of Spying with the Most Powerful Spyware
Pegasus by Jacques Gascuel: This article will be updated with any new information on the topic.

Pegasus: The Cost of Spying

Pegasus is a powerful spyware that has been used by several countries to spy on political figures, journalists, human rights activists or opponents. How does it work, who has been spied on, what are the consequences, and how much does it cost? Find out in this article.

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security

Russian Cyberattack Microsoft: An Unprecedented Threat

2024 Digital Security

Europol Data Breach: A Detailed Analysis

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security News Training

Andorra National Cyberattack Simulation: A Global First in Cyber Defense

2024 Digital Security

Apple M chip vulnerability: A Breach in Data Security

2024 Digital Security

Cybersecurity Breach at IMF: A Detailed Investigation

Pegasus: The Cost of Spying with the Most Powerful Spyware in the World

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group. It allows to remotely monitor the activities of a mobile phone. According to an investigation conducted by a consortium of international media, several countries have used this software to spy on political figures, journalists, human rights activists or opponents.

The scandal of Pegasus has provoked a global outcry. It has raised many questions about the legality, the ethics and the consequences of this cyber-surveillance. How does Pegasus work? Who has been spied on by Pegasus? Who is responsible for the spying? What are the consequences of the spying? And most importantly, how much does Pegasus cost?

In this article, we will try to answer these questions in detail. We will use reliable and verified sources of information. We will also present some statistics and comparisons to give you an idea of the scale and the impact of Pegasus.

What is Pegasus?

Pegasus is a spyware, also called spy software. It allows to remotely monitor the activities of a mobile phone. It can access the messages, the calls, the contacts, the photos, the videos, the location, the microphone or the camera of the target phone. It can also activate or deactivate certain functions of the phone, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Pegasus: a spyware that raises many questions

Pegasus is a powerful spyware that the NSO group designed. It can monitor and steal data and activities from mobile phones secretly. The NSO group is an Israeli company founded in 2010 by former members of Unit 8200; the Israeli military intelligence service. The company claims that its software aims to fight terrorism and organized crime; such as pedophiles or cartel leaders. It also claims that it only sells it to governments or authorized security agencies; with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The countries that acquire these systems must respect their commitments stipulated in the license.

However, a consortium of international media outlets revealed that many countries have used Pegasus for other purposes. They have monitored various people, including politicians, journalists, human rights activists and political opponents. This raises many questions about the protection of privacy and human rights in the digital age. It also exposes the vulnerabilities and challenges of cybersecurity in a world where surveillance technologies are becoming more powerful and discreet.

Pegasus works by exploiting security flaws in the operating systems of phones, such as iOS or Android. It can infect a phone in two ways: either by sending a malicious link to the target phone, which must click on it to be infected; or by using a technique called “zero-click”, which allows to infect a phone without any interaction from the user.

Pegasus is a very sophisticated and discreet software. It can self-destruct or camouflage itself to avoid being detected. It can also adapt to security updates of operating systems to continue working. According to NSO Group, Pegasus is able to target more than 50,000 phone numbers in the world.

Unveiling Pegasus Attack Vectors: Stealth and Subterfuge in Cyber Espionage

In the Shadows of Cyber Espionage: Pegasus Strikes Unseen

In the realm of cyber espionage, Pegasus has mastered the art of covert infiltration, employing a spectrum of attack vectors designed to leave its targets unaware and defenseless. As a specialized journalist in the field of espionage, we delve into the clandestine world of Pegasus, shedding light on the methods it employs to breach digital fortresses.

Email: The Trojan Horse

Pegasus’s espionage campaign often commences with a seemingly innocuous email. The target receives a carefully crafted message, concealing a malicious payload. This deception operates with remarkable subtlety, bypassing traditional safeguards. Victims unknowingly execute the payload, granting Pegasus a foothold into their digital lives.

SMS Intrigue: Texts That Betray

SMS messages can become instruments of betrayal when wielded by Pegasus. Crafted to exploit vulnerabilities in messaging apps, these seemingly harmless texts harbor malicious intent. Clicking on a compromised message can be all it takes for Pegasus to silently infiltrate a device.

Web of Deceit: Navigating Vulnerabilities

Pegasus’s reach extends into the very fabric of the internet. Web browsers, portals to information and connectivity, can become gateways for intrusion. By exploiting unpatched browser vulnerabilities, Pegasus sidesteps user interaction, infiltrating systems silently.

WhatsApp’s Vulnerable Connection

Even encrypted platforms like WhatsApp are not impervious to Pegasus’s advances. The spyware capitalizes on vulnerabilities in this widely used messaging app. A simple call on WhatsApp can translate into a gateway for Pegasus’s covert surveillance.

Zero-Click: A Stealthy Intrusion

The pinnacle of Pegasus’s subterfuge is the “Zero-Click” attack vector. Unlike other methods, “Zero-Click” requires no user interaction whatsoever. It preys upon deep-seated operating system vulnerabilities. Pegasus slips in unnoticed, operating in the shadows, and evading all user alerts.

The Stealth Within Pegasus: An Unseen Hand

Pegasus’s ability to infiltrate devices without leaving a trace raises profound concerns regarding detection and defense. Victims may remain oblivious to their compromised status, and traditional security measures struggle to counteract this stealthy foe.

Pegasus Continues to Threaten iPhone User Privacy and Security

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital security, the Pegasus spyware remains a significant threat to iPhone users’ privacy and security. Despite Apple’s rigorous efforts to enhance iOS safeguards, the sophisticated surveillance tool developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group has continually adapted, finding new ways to infiltrate the defenses of one of the world’s most popular smartphones.

Apple’s Proactive Measures Against Pegasus

Apple has been at the forefront of the battle against cyber threats, releasing timely security updates and patches aimed at thwarting Pegasus’s advanced techniques. The company’s commitment to user privacy has led to the development of new security features designed to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. However, the dynamic nature of cyber threats, exemplified by Pegasus, poses an ongoing challenge to even the most secure platforms.

The Impact on iPhone Users

For iPhone users, the threat of Pegasus spyware is more than just a privacy concern; it’s a direct attack on their freedom of expression and the security of their personal data. The ability of Pegasus to covertly monitor conversations, access encrypted messages, and even activate cameras and microphones without consent has raised alarms worldwide. This level of surveillance capability not only endangers individual users but also threatens the integrity of global communications networks.

Recent Revelations in Jordan Amplify Global Pegasus Concerns

In 2024, shocking reports emerged, spotlighting Jordan’s use of Pegasus against journalists and activists. This development underscores the pervasive reach of NSO Group’s spyware. Allegedly, the Jordanian authorities targeted individuals crucial to civil society. These actions have stoked fears about privacy invasions and press freedom suppression. Amidst Israel-Jordan tensions, this move signals a worrying trend of using cyberweapons to stifle dissent. Consequently, global watchdogs are calling for stringent controls on spyware sales and usage. This incident not only highlights the urgent need for robust digital rights protections but also raises significant ethical questions about surveillance technologies’ global impact.

India’s Pegasus Scandal: A Deep Dive into Surveillance and Democracy

The year 2023 brought to light India’s alleged surveillance of journalists and opposition figures using Pegasus. This revelation has sparked a nationwide debate on privacy, press freedom, and democratic values. High-profile journalists and political dissenters reportedly fell victim to this covert tool, leading to widespread condemnation. Despite government denials and a lack of cooperation with Supreme Court probes, the issue remains unresolved. Such use of Pegasus not only threatens individual freedoms but also undermines the very fabric of democratic societies. As countries grapple with the dual use of surveillance technologies, the call for transparent, regulated, and ethical practices has never been louder. This situation serves as a crucial reminder of the delicate balance between national security and personal liberties.

How Pegasus spied on the Catalan independence movement and the Spanish government

Pegasus, a powerful spyware designed by the NSO Group, has the capability to clandestinely monitor and steal data and activities from mobile phones. A consortium of international media outlets exposed the fact that numerous countries have employed Pegasus to conduct surveillance on various individuals, including political figures, journalists, human rights activists, and political opponents.

In Spain, the Pegasus scandal unfolded, implicating over 60 individuals associated with the Catalan independence movement. According to a report from Citizen Lab, Pegasus was utilized to target these individuals between 2017 and 2020. In an alarming twist, the Spanish government itself accused Pegasus of spying on its own officials in 2021.

The Catalan independence movement under surveillance

The Catalan independence movement represents a political and social endeavor that aims to secure Catalonia’s independence from Spain. This movement gained significant momentum in 2017 when the Catalan government conducted an unauthorized referendum on self-determination. In response, the Spanish government took action by suspending Catalonia’s autonomy and apprehending several of its leaders.

Citizen Lab’s report revealed that Pegasus had specifically targeted more than 60 individuals associated with the Catalan independence movement from 2017 to 2020. This list includes notable figures such as three presidents of the Generalitat of Catalonia: Artur Mas, Quim Torra, and Pere Aragonès. These individuals have taken legal action, filing a complaint against Paz Esteban and the NSO Group. Paz Esteban serves as the director of CNI, Spain’s intelligence service.

Additional alleged victims encompass Members of the European Parliament, lawyers, journalists, and activists. For example, Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia who sought refuge in Belgium following the referendum, was also subjected to Pegasus surveillance. The list further includes Roger Torrent, the former speaker of the Catalan parliament, and Jordi Cañas, a pro-union Member of the European Parliament.

The Spanish government under attack

The situation escalated in significance when the Spanish government disclosed that Pegasus had also surveilled its own officials in 2021. The government attributed this to an “external attack” but refrained from identifying the perpetrators. Various media outlets hinted at the possibility of Moroccan involvement, occurring against the backdrop of a diplomatic standoff between the two nations.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles were among the primary targets. In February 2021, while on an official visit to Morocco, their mobile phones fell victim to Pegasus infections8. This compromise allowed the spyware access to their messages, calls, contacts, photos, videos, location, microphone, and camera.

Additionally, Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya and Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska faced Pegasus surveillance in May 2021. This intrusion occurred during their management of a migration crisis in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa that witnessed a mass influx of Moroccan migrants.

The outcry of the victims

Those who have potentially or definitively fallen victim to Pegasus expressed their outrage and concerns surrounding this spying scandal. They vehemently decried it as a grave infringement upon their fundamental rights and vociferously demanded both explanations and accountability. Furthermore, they sought access to the findings of the judicial investigation and the data collected by the spyware.

For example, Quim Torra expressed feeling “violated” and “humiliated” by the intrusive spying. He squarely pointed fingers at the Spanish state and demanded an apology from Prime Minister Sánchez. Torra also declared his intent to pursue legal action against NSO Group and CNI.

Likewise, Pedro Sánchez conveyed his profound worry and anger regarding the spying. He committed to seeking clarifications from Morocco and Israel while simultaneously reinforcing his government’s cybersecurity measures.

What are the consequences of the spying?

Spying by Pegasus inflicted severe consequences on the victims, as well as society and democracy. It violated the victims’ right to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of information, and presumption of innocence. Additionally, it jeopardized the security, reputation, and well-being of the victims.

Pegasus’ spying activities also eroded trust and cooperation among various actors and institutions. It fostered an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility between Spain and Morocco, neighboring countries with historical and economic ties. Furthermore, it deepened divisions between Madrid and Barcelona, two regions with political and cultural distinctions. The spying undermined the credibility and legitimacy of the Spanish government and its intelligence service.

Moreover, Pegasus’ spying efforts raised awareness and concerns regarding the dangers and abuses of cyber-surveillance. It revealed the lack of control and accountability over the use of spyware by governments and private companies. The spying underscored the necessity for enhanced protection and regulation for human rights defenders, journalists, activists, and other vulnerable groups.

The cost of Pegasus by country: an estimation based on the available sources

NSO Group, an Israeli company specialized in cyber-surveillance, developed Pegasus, a spyware capable of infecting smartphones and accessing their data, including messages, photos, contacts, and location. Pegasus can also activate the microphone and camera of the phone, effectively turning it into a spying tool. But how much does it cost to use Pegasus? And which countries can afford it? This section will attempt to answer these questions based on the available information.

Firstly, the cost of using Pegasus depends on several factors, such as the number of phones targeted, the duration of surveillance, and the type of contract signed with NSO Group. According to The Guardian’s estimate, which relies on internal documents from NSO Group dating back to 2016, a license to monitor 50 smartphones cost 20.7 million euros per year at that time. Similarly, a license for monitoring 100 smartphones cost 41.4 million euros per year. It remains uncertain whether these prices have changed since 2016 or if NSO Group has offered discounts or rebates to certain clients.

Subsequently, the estimated cost of Pegasus by country derives from the number of phones targeted and the operation’s duration, using the average cost provided by The Guardian. These data are approximations and may vary depending on the sources. For instance, Saudi Arabia targeted approximately 15,000 numbers with Pegasus, according to Le Monde, but The Washington Post suggests a figure of 10,000. Likewise, Le Monde indicates that Morocco commenced using Pegasus in 2017, whereas Citizen Lab asserts it was in 2016.

Here is a summary table of the estimates of the cost of Pegasus by country:

Country Number of Phones Targeted Duration of Operation (years) Estimated Cost (in millions of euros)
Spain 60 6 248.4
Saudi Arabia 10 000 5 2070
Azerbaijan 5 000 4 828
Bahrain 3 000 3 372.6
Kazakhstan 1 500 2 124.2
Mexico 15 000 2 1242
Morocco 10 000 5 2070
Rwanda 3 500 4 579.6
Hungary 300 4 49.8
India 1 000 3 124.2
United Arab Emirates 10 000 5 2070

Finally, the total estimated cost of Pegasus for these ten countries would be about 10.5 billion euros over a period of five years.

The cost of Pegasus compared to other indicators

In addition to these estimates, we can also compare the cost of Pegasus with other indicators or expenditures, such as the average income or the budget of a country. This can help us to gain insight into the scale and impact of Pegasus.

For instance, according to Statista, Spain’s average annual income per capita in 2020 was $30,722. El País reported the budget of the Spanish Intelligence Agency (CNI) to be $331 million in 2020, while El Mundo stated that Catalonia’s budget was $40 billion in the same year.

Here is a summary table of the data:

Source Estimated Cost of Pegasus
Le Monde $7 to $20 million per year for 50 to 100 smartphones
TEHTRIS $9 million for 10 targets, $650,000 for a single target
Alain Jourdan $500 million for Spain (Source credibility unclear)
Average Income in Spain (2020) $30,722 per year
Budget of CNI (Spanish Intelligence Agency, 2020) $331 million
Budget of Catalonia (2020) $40 billion

The table demonstrates that Pegasus costs are very high compared to other indicators or expenditures. For instance, according to our previous estimation in the preceding section, Spain would have expended about 248.4 million euros over six years to monitor 60 phones with Pegasus. This amount equals approximately 8 times the budget of the Spanish Intelligence Agency (CNI) in 2020 or about 6% of Catalonia’s budget in the same year. Furthermore, this sum is equivalent to about 8,000 times the average annual income per capita in Spain in 2020.

In conclusion comparison

This comparison highlights that Pegasus represents a significant expense for its users, funds that could have been allocated to other purposes or needs. Moreover, it emphasizes the disproportionate nature of Pegasus costs concerning its victims, often ordinary citizens or government employees.

Assessing the cost of Pegasus with certainty is challenging because it depends on several factors, such as the number of phones targeted, the duration of surveillance, and the type of contract NSO Group signed. To obtain a clearer and more comprehensive view of the cost and scope of Pegasus use, access to NSO Group’s and its clients’ internal data would be necessary.

Statistics on Pegasus: a glimpse into the scale and diversity of Pegasus espionage

NSO Group, an Israeli company specialized in cyber-surveillance, developed Pegasus, a spyware. Pegasus can infect smartphones and access their data, such as messages, photos, contacts, and location. Pegasus can also activate the microphone and camera of the phone, turning it into a spying tool.

But who are the victims of Pegasus? And how many are they? In this section, we will present some statistics based on the available data.

It is important to note that these statistics are not comprehensive, as a sample of 50,000 phone numbers selected by NSO Group’s clients as potential targets forms the basis for them. Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International obtained this sample and shared it with a consortium of media outlets that conducted an investigation. The actual number of Pegasus targets may be much higher, as NSO Group claims to have more than 60 clients in 40 countries.

According to The Guardian’s analysis of the sample:

  • More than 1,000 individuals in 50 different countries have been confirmed as successfully infected with Pegasus.
  • Over 600 politicians and government officials, including heads of state, prime ministers, and cabinet ministers, were identified as potential targets.
  • More than 180 journalists working for prominent media outlets like CNN, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, or Le Monde were selected as potential targets.
  • Over 85 human rights activists, including members of organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, were identified as potential targets.

According to Le Monde’s analysis of the same sample:

  • Morocco selected more than 15,000 individuals as potential targets between 2017 and 2019.
  • Mexico selected over 10,000 potential targets between 2016 and 2017.
  • Saudi Arabia selected more than 1,400 potential targets between 2016 and 2019.
  • India selected over 800 potential targets between 2017 and 2019.

Here is a summary table of the key findings from both sources:

Data Source Key Findings
The Guardian (Sample of 50,000 Numbers) Over:

  • 1,000 infections in 50 countries
  • 600 politicians and government officials targeted
  • 180 journalists selected as potential targets
  • 85 human rights activists identified as potential targets
Le Monde (Sample of 50,000 Numbers) Over:

  • 15,000 potential targets in Morocco (2017-2019)
  • 10,000 potential targets in Mexico (2016-2017)
  • 1,400 potential targets in Saudi Arabia (2016-2019)
  • 800 potential targets in India (2017-2019)

These statistics reveal Pegasus surveillance’s extensive reach and diversity, affecting a wide range of individuals and countries with varying motivations and interests. Moreover, they show that Pegasus surveillance has been ongoing for several years without anyone detecting or stopping it.

In conclusion, these statistics provide a glimpse into the scale and diversity of Pegasus espionage. However, they are not exhaustive and may not fully reflect the true extent of Pegasus surveillance. To have a clearer and more complete picture of the victims and the consequences of Pegasus, access to the internal data of NSO Group and its clients would be necessary.

Pegasus Datasheet: a summary of the features and capabilities of Pegasus spyware

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, designed for remote monitoring of mobile phone activities. Pegasus can infect smartphones and access their data, such as messages, calls, contacts, photos, videos, location, microphone, and camera. Pegasus can also control some functions of the phone, such as enabling or disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more. Pegasus can infect phones through different methods, such as malicious link delivery or the insidious “zero-click” technique, which does not require any user interaction. The duration and frequency of Pegasus surveillance depend on the contract signed with NSO Group, which can vary from client to client.

Below is a datasheet detailing Pegasus, including price estimates and periodicity:

CHARACTERISTIC VALUE ATTACK VECTOR
Name Pegasus  
Developer NSO Group  
Type Spyware  
Function Remote monitoring of mobile phone activities  
Infection Method Malicious link delivery or the insidious “zero-click” technique Email, SMS, Web Browsing, WhatsApp, Zero-Click
Data Access Messages, calls, contacts, photos, videos, location, microphone, camera  
Function Access Capable of enabling/disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more  
Periodicity Varied, dependent on contract duration and frequency of updates  
Price Estimate $7 to $20 million per year for 50 to 100 smartphones

Assessing the Pegasus Threat Level After Security Updates and Utilizing Anti-Pegasus Tools

Pegasus is a spyware that exploits security flaws in the operating systems of phones, such as iOS or Android. To reduce the level of threat of Pegasus, one of the ways is to update and patch these operating systems regularly, to fix the vulnerabilities that Pegasus can use.

How security updates can protect the devices from Pegasus

In September 2021, Apple released iOS 14.8 and macOS 11.6 as security updates to protect its devices from the zero-click exploit used by Pegasus. Citizen Lab discovered this exploit, called FORCEDENTRY, in August 2021. FORCEDENTRY allowed Pegasus to infect iPhones without any user interaction. Apple urged its users to install the updates as soon as possible to protect themselves from Pegasus.

Google also released security updates for Android devices in August 2021, according to Linternaute. These updates fixed several vulnerabilities that Pegasus or other spyware could exploit. Google did not specify if these vulnerabilities were related to Pegasus, but it advised its users to update their devices regularly to ensure their security.

However, updating and patching the operating systems may not be enough to prevent or detect Pegasus infections. Pegasus can adapt to security updates and use new exploits that security experts have not yet discovered or fixed.

Advanced Detection and Protection Against Pegasus Spyware

In the ongoing effort to combat the sophisticated Pegasus spyware, cybersecurity experts have developed advanced tools and methods to detect and neutralize such threats. Kaspersky, a leader in global cybersecurity, has recently unveiled a groundbreaking approach that enhances our capability to identify and mitigate the impact of iOS spyware including Pegasus, as well as newer threats like Reign and Predator.

Kaspersky’s Innovative Detection Method

Leveraging the untapped potential of forensic artifacts, Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) has introduced a lightweight yet powerful method to detect signs of sophisticated spyware infections. By analyzing the Shutdown.log found within the iOS sysdiagnose archive, researchers can now identify anomalies indicative of a Pegasus infection, such as unusual “sticky” processes. This method provides a minimally intrusive, resource-efficient way to pinpoint potential spyware compromises.

Empowering Users with Self-Check Capabilities

To democratize the fight against spyware, Kaspersky has developed a self-check tool available to the public. This utility, based on Python3 scripts, allows users to independently extract, analyze, and interpret data from the Shutdown.log file. Compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux, this tool offers a practical solution for users to assess their devices’ integrity.

Comprehensive User Protection Strategies

Beyond detection, protecting devices from sophisticated spyware demands a multifaceted approach. Kaspersky recommends several proactive measures to enhance device security:

  • Reboot Daily: Regular reboots can disrupt the persistence mechanisms of spyware like Pegasus, which often relies on zero-click vulnerabilities for infection.
  • Enable Lockdown Mode: Apple’s Lockdown Mode has shown effectiveness in thwarting malware infections by minimizing the attack surface available to potential exploiters.
  • Disable iMessage and Facetime: Given their popularity as vectors for exploitation, disabling these services can significantly reduce the risk of infection.
  • Stay Updated: Promptly installing the latest iOS updates ensures that known vulnerabilities are patched, closing off avenues for spyware exploitation.
  • Exercise Caution with Links: Avoid clicking on unsolicited links, a common method for delivering spyware through social engineering tactics.
  • Regular Checks: Utilizing tools like MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit) and Kaspersky’s utilities to analyze backups and sysdiagnose archives can aid in early detection of malware.

By integrating these practices, users can significantly bolster their defenses against the most advanced spyware, reducing the likelihood of successful infiltration and ensuring greater digital security and privacy.

Technological Innovations in Spyware Defense: The Case of DataShielder NFC HSM

As nations grapple with policy measures to regulate the use of commercial spyware, technological innovators like Freemindtronic are stepping up to offer robust defenses for individuals against invasive tools like Pegasus. The DataShielder NFC HSM Defense, equipped with EviCore NFC HSM technology, represents a leap forward in personal cybersecurity, offering a suite of features designed to safeguard data and communications from sophisticated spyware threats.

DataShielder NFC HSM: A Closer Look

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense utilizes contactless encryption and segmented key authentication, securely stored within an NFC HSM, to protect users’ digital lives. This groundbreaking approach ensures that secret keys, the cornerstone of digital security, remain out of reach from spyware, thus maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information across various communication protocols.

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense: a solution against spyware

Another technology can help users protect themselves from Pegasus and other spyware. This is DataShielder NFC HSM Defense with EviCore NFC HSM, a solution that effectively fights against applications and spyware such as Pegasus. It is an alternative that secures contactless encryption and segmented key authentication system stored encrypted in NFC HSM. Thus, the secret keys are physically externalized and not accessible to the spyware. DataShielder NFC HSM Defense with EviCypher NFC HSM encrypts all types of sensitive data without ever logging the data unencrypted. The user can encrypt all types of data from his contactless phone in volatile memory, including Email, SMS, MMS, RCS, Chat, all messaging in general, all types of messaging, including satellite, without ever saving his texts unencrypted. DataShielder NFC HSM also works in air gap as well as on all types of NFC, Wifi, Bluetooth, Lan, Wan, Camera communication protocols that it encrypts end-to-end from NFC HSM

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense: additional features

In the Defense version of DataShielder NFC HSM, it integrates EviCall NFC HSM technology, which allows users to physically outsource phone contacts and make calls by automatically erasing the call histories of the phone, including encrypted and unencrypted SMS linked to that call number.

DataShielder NFC HSM also includes Evipass NFC HSM contactless password manager technology. It is therefore compatible with EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension technology. In particular, it carries out all types of autofill and autologin operations. Thus, DataShielder NFC HSM not only allows you to connect by autofilling the traditional login and password identification fields on the phone, whether through applications or online accounts. But also also and on the types of online accounts (lan and wan), applications, software. DataShielder NFC HSM Defense also includes EviKeyboard BLE technology which also extends the use of keys greater than 256 bit. This virtual Bluetooth keyboard allows you to authenticate on the command line, on all types of home automation, electronic, motherboard bios, TMP2.0 key, which accepts the connection of a keyboard on a USB port. All these operations are end-to-end encrypted from NFC HSM up to more than 50 meters away via Bluetooth encrypted in AES-128.

To encrypt sensitive data from their phone, the user will do it from their secret keys only stored in their NFC HSM. They can also do it from their computer using the NFC HSM. This is possible thanks to the interoperability and backward compatibility of the DataShielder NFC HSM Defense ecosystem, which works independently but is interoperable on all Android computer and telephone systems with NFC technology. For example, users can encrypt files, photos, videos, and audio on their phones without ever exposing them to security breaches on the phone or computer.

This is the EviCypher NFC HSM technology dedicated to the encryption and management of AES 256 and RSA 4096 encryption keys.

Similarly, DataShielder also includes EviOTP NFC HSM technology, also in DataShielder NFC HSM Defense, which secures and manages OTP (TOTP and HOTP) secret keys.

Here are all the links : EviPass NFC HSMEviOTP NFC HSMEviCypher NFC HSMEviCall NFC HSM, EviKeyboard BLE

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense vs Pegasus: a comparison table

Data Pegasus DataShielder NFC HSM Defense
Messages, chats Can read and record them unencrypted Encrypts them end-to-end with keys physically externalized in the NFC HSM
Phone contacts Can access and modify them Externalizes and encrypts them in the NFC HSM
Emails Can intercept and read them Encrypts them with the OpenPGP protocol and signs them with the NFC HSM
Photos Can access and copy them Encrypts them with the NFC HSM and stores them in a secure space
Videos Can watch and record them Encrypts them with the NFC HSM and stores them in a secure space
Encrypted messages scanned from the camera Can decrypt them if he has access to the encryption key Encrypts them with the NFC HSM and does not leave any trace of the encryption key
Conversation histories from contacts stored in the NFC HSM Can access and analyze them Erases them automatically after each call or message
Usernames and passwords Can steal and use them Externalizes and encrypts them in the NFC HSM with EviPass technology
Secret keys of OTP Can compromise and impersonate them Externalizes them physically in the NFC HSM with EviOTP technology

Bridging the Gap Between Technology and Privacy

In an era where spyware like Pegasus poses unprecedented threats to personal privacy and security, solutions like DataShielder NFC HSM Defense emerge as essential tools in the individual’s cybersecurity arsenal. By leveraging such technologies, users can significantly mitigate the risk of spyware infections, reinforcing the sanctity of digital privacy in the face of evolving surveillance tactics.

The level of threat of Pegasus in different cases

The level of threat of Pegasus depends on many factors, such as the type and version of the operating system, the frequency and quality of the updates and patches, the availability and effectiveness of the tools, and the behavior and awareness of the users. It is therefore difficult to measure it precisely or universally, as it may vary according to different scenarios and situations.

However, we can try to give some estimates or ranges of levels, based on assumptions or approximations. For example, we can use a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) to indicate how likely it is for a device to be infected by Pegasus in different cases:

Case Level of threat
A device with an outdated operating system that has not been updated for a long time 9/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently 5/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses antivirus software 3/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses antivirus software and VPN software 2/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses antivirus software, VPN software, and anti-spyware software 1/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses DataShielder NFC HSM 0/10

Latest affairs related to Pegasus

Since the revelations of Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International in July 2021, several new developments have occurred in relation to Pegasus spying. Here are some of them:

  • October 2023, The former head of the Spanish intelligence services has been charged with spying on the regional president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, using the Pegasus software, the Spanish justice announced on Monday. Paz Esteban, who was dismissed last year by the government of Pedro Sánchez after the scandal broke out, has been summoned by the Barcelona judge in charge of the case on December 131. The judge said that the facts reported by the moderate separatist leader have the “characteristics” of “possible criminal offenses such as illegal wiretapping and computer espionage
  • In October 2021, Paz Esteban López, the former head of CNI, was charged with crimes against privacy and misuse of public funds for allegedly ordering the spying on Catalan politicians with Pegasus. She is the first high-ranking official to face legal consequences for using Pegasus in Spain.
  • In September 2021, NSO Group announced that it was temporarily suspending its services to several government clients after being accused of facilitating human rights abuses with Pegasus. The company did not specify which clients were affected by this decision.
  • In August 2021, Apple released an urgent security update for its devices after discovering a zero-click exploit that allowed Pegasus to infect iPhones without any user interaction. The exploit, called FORCEDENTRY, was used by NSO Group to target activists, journalists and lawyers around the world. Apple urged its users to install the update as soon as possible to protect themselves from Pegasus.
  • In July 2021, the French government launched an investigation into the alleged spying on President Emmanuel Macron and other senior officials by Morocco using Pegasus. Morocco denied any involvement in the spying and sued Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories for defamation. France also summoned the Israeli ambassador to Paris to demand explanations about NSO Group’s activities.
  • In July 2021, the Israeli government formed a task force to review the allegations against NSO Group and its export licenses. The task force included representatives from the defense, justice and foreign ministries, as well as from the Mossad and the Shin Bet. The task force was expected to report its findings within a few weeks.

These developments show that Pegasus spying has triggered legal, diplomatic and political reactions in different countries. They also show that Pegasus spying has exposed the vulnerabilities and the challenges of cybersecurity in the digital age.

International Policy Measures Against Spyware Misuse

In a landmark move reflecting growing global concern over the misuse of commercial spyware, the United States announced in February 2024 its decision to impose visa restrictions on individuals involved in the abuse of such technologies. This policy, aimed at curbing the proliferation of weapons-grade commercial spyware like Pegasus, marks a significant stride in international efforts to safeguard against digital espionage threats to national security, privacy, and human rights.

The US Stance on Spyware Regulation

The Biden administration’s policy will potentially impact major US allies, including Israel, India, Jordan, and Hungary, underscoring the administration’s commitment to countering the misuse of spyware. This comes on the heels of earlier measures, such as placing Israel’s NSO Group on a commerce department blacklist and prohibiting the US government’s use of commercial spyware, signaling a robust stance against the unregulated spread of spyware technologies.

Global Implications and Diplomatic Efforts

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement linking the misuse of spyware to severe human rights violations highlights the gravity with which the US views the global spyware issue. The policy introduces a mechanism for enforcing visa restrictions on those believed to be involved in or benefiting from the misuse of spyware, sending a strong message about the US’s intolerance for such practices.

A Step Towards Greater Accountability

By targeting individuals involved in the surveillance, harassment, and intimidation of journalists, activists, and dissenters, the US aims to foster a more accountable and ethical global spyware industry. This visa ban, applicable even to individuals from visa waiver countries, represents an “important signal” about the risks associated with the spyware sector, emphasizing the need for international cooperation in addressing these challenges.

Spyware with multiple detrimental impacts

Pegasus is not only a spyware with a high financial cost for its users, but it also entails, whether it is used legitimately or not, a human, social, political and environmental cost for its victims and society as a whole. It is difficult to precisely quantify the cost of the damages caused by the use of Pegasus due to numerous factors and variables that can vary across countries, sectors and periods. However, we can provide some rough estimates and examples to illustrate the scope and diversity of the impacts of the use of Pegasus.

Financial Cost

The financial cost of the damages inflicted by Pegasus can be measured on several fronts:

  • Cost to Victims: Individuals spied on by Pegasus may suffer direct or indirect financial losses, stemming from breaches of their privacy, disclosure of personal or professional information, manipulation, or theft of their financial or tax-related data. For example, a journalist might lose their job or credibility due to information revealed by Pegasus; a lawyer could lose a lawsuit or a client due to a disclosed strategy, and an activist might lose funding or security due to an exposed campaign.
  • Cost to Businesses: Companies targeted by Pegasus may face direct or indirect financial losses related to intellectual property violation, unfair competition, industrial espionage, corruption, and more. For instance, a business could lose a contract or market share because of exposed bids; its reputation and trustworthiness could suffer due to a Pegasus-related scandal, and its competitiveness and profitability could diminish from a compromised trade secret.
  • Cost to States: Nations subject to Pegasus espionage may experience direct or indirect financial losses tied to sovereignty violations, threats to national security, interference in domestic and foreign affairs, among others. An example includes a country’s stability or legitimacy being jeopardized due to a Pegasus-facilitated coup; a nation losing influence or alliances because of negotiations undermined by Pegasus; or a state’s development or environment suffering from a Pegasus-sabotaged project.

Geopolitical Cost

The geopolitical cost of Pegasus-induced damages can be measured on various fronts:

  • Cost to International Relations: The use of Pegasus by some states to spy on others can lead to diplomatic tensions, armed conflicts, economic sanctions, and cooperation ruptures. For example, the espionage of French President Emmanuel Macron by Morocco triggered a crisis between the two nations; spying on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by China escalated their border dispute, and Israeli espionage of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani compromised the nuclear agreement between the two countries.
  • Cost to International Organizations: Pegasus’ deployment by certain states to spy on international organizations can result in violations of international law, human rights abuses, and hindrances to multilateralism. For instance, spying on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by the United States undermined the organization’s independence and impartiality. Similarly, espionage targeting the International Criminal Court by Israel threatened international justice and peace, while spying on the World Health Organization by China disrupted pandemic management.

Economic Cost

The economic cost of the damages caused by Pegasus can be assessed across different dimensions:

  • Cost to Economic Growth: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on other states or private actors can lead to market distortions, productivity losses, capital flight, and offshoring. For example, the espionage targeting the airline company Emirates by Qatar reduced its competitiveness and profitability. Similarly, spying on the oil company Petrobras by the United States triggered an economic and political crisis in Brazil. Additionally, spying on Mexico’s central bank by Venezuela facilitated money laundering and terrorism financing.
  • Cost to Innovation: The utilization of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on other states or private actors can result in patent theft, counterfeiting, hacking, and cyberattacks. For instance, spying on pharmaceutical company Pfizer by China allowed the latter to replicate its COVID-19 vaccine. Simultaneously, espionage against technology giant Apple by North Korea enabled the creation of its smartphone. Furthermore, spying on space company SpaceX by Russia allowed the latter to sabotage its launches.

Human, Social, and Environmental Cost

The human, social, and environmental cost of Pegasus-induced damages can be measured across several aspects:

  • Cost to Human Rights: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on vulnerable individuals or groups can result in violations of the right to life, freedom, security, dignity, and more. For example, the spying on journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia led to his assassination. Similarly, espionage targeting activist Edward Snowden by the United States led to his exile. Additionally, the espionage of dissident Alexei Navalny by Russia resulted in his poisoning.
  • Cost to Democracy: The deployment of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on political or social actors can lead to infringements on pluralism, transparency, participation, representativeness, and more. For instance, spying on French President Emmanuel Macron by Russia attempted to influence the 2017 French presidential election. Similarly, spying on the Yellow Vest movement by Morocco aimed to weaken the French social movement in 2018. Additionally, espionage against President Joe Biden by Iran sought to infiltrate his transition team in 2020.
  • Cost to the Environment: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on organizations or individuals committed to environmental protection can result in damage to biodiversity, climate, natural resources, and more. For example, spying on Greenpeace by Japan hindered its efforts against whale hunting. Similarly, espionage against the WWF by Brazil facilitated deforestation in the Amazon. Additionally, the spying on climate activist Greta Thunberg by Russia aimed to discredit her climate movement.
  • Cost to Intangibles: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on individuals or groups with symbolic, cultural, moral, or spiritual value can result in losses of meaning, trust, hope, or faith. For instance, espionage against Pope Francis by Turkey undermined his moral and religious authority. Similarly, spying on the Dalai Lama by China compromised his spiritual and political status. Additionally, the espionage of Nelson Mandela by South Africa tarnished his historical and humanitarian legacy.

The Risk of Diplomatic Conflict Arising from Pegasus

The utilization of Pegasus by some states to spy on others can give rise to the risk of diplomatic conflict, which can have severe consequences for international peace and security. The likelihood of diplomatic conflict depends on several factors, including:

  • Intensity and Duration of Espionage: The more extensive and prolonged the espionage, the more likely it is to provoke a strong and lasting reaction from the spied-upon state.
  • Nature and Status of Targets: More important and sensitive targets are more likely to trigger a strong and immediate reaction from the spied-upon state. For instance, spying on a head of state or a minister is more serious than spying on a bureaucrat or diplomat.
  • Relationship and Context Between States: States with tense or conflictual relationships are more likely to provoke a strong and hostile reaction from the spied-upon state. For instance, espionage between rival or enemy states is more serious than espionage between allied or neutral states.

The risk of diplomatic conflict can manifest at various levels:

  • Bilateral Level: This is the most direct and frequent level, where two states clash due to espionage. Possible reactions include official protests, summoning or expelling an ambassador, breaking or freezing diplomatic relations, etc.
  • Regional Level: This level involves a state seeking support from its neighbors or regional partners to bolster its position or condemn the espionage. Possible reactions include joint declarations, collective resolutions, economic or political sanctions, etc.
  • International Level: At this level, a state calls upon international organizations or global actors to support its position or condemn the espionage. Possible reactions include referring the matter to an international court, resolutions by the UN Security Council, humanitarian or military sanctions, etc.

The risk of diplomatic conflict can have various consequences:

  • Political Consequences: It can lead to a deterioration or rupture of relations between the involved states, a loss of credibility or legitimacy on the international stage, internal political instability or crisis, etc.
  • Economic Consequences: It can result in reduced or suspended trade between the involved states, a loss of competitiveness or growth, capital flight or frozen investments, etc.
  • Social Consequences: It can lead to increased or exacerbated tensions or violence among the populations of the involved states, a loss of trust or solidarity, a rise or reinforcement of nationalism or extremism, etc.

Conclusion: Navigating the Pegasus Quagmire with Innovative Defenses

The saga of Pegasus spyware unveils a complex tableau of financial, human, social, political, and environmental ramifications. Pinpointing the exact toll it takes presents a formidable challenge, given the myriad of factors at play. Throughout this article, we’ve endeavored to shed light on the extensive impacts, offering insights and quantifications to bring clarity to this global concern.

Moreover, Pegasus not only incurs a direct cost but also sows the seeds of potential diplomatic strife, pitting states against each other in an invisible battlefield. The severity of these confrontations hinges on the espionage’s scope, the targets’ sensitivity, and the intricate web of international relations. Such conflicts, manifesting across various levels, can significantly strain political ties, disrupt economies, and fracture societies.

In this digital quagmire, the innovative counter-espionage technologies developed by Freemindtronic emerge as a beacon of hope. They offer a testament to the power of leveraging cutting-edge solutions to fortify our digital defenses against the invasive reach of spyware like Pegasus. By integrating such advanced protective measures, individuals and organizations can significantly enhance their cybersecurity posture, safeguarding their most sensitive data and communications in an increasingly surveilled world.

This piece aims to illuminate the shadowy dynamics of Pegasus spyware, drawing back the curtain on its profound implications. For those keen to explore further, we invite you to consult the sources listed below. They serve as gateways to a deeper understanding of Pegasus’s pervasive influence, the ongoing efforts to counteract its invasive reach, and the pivotal role of technologies like those from Freemindtronic in these endeavors.

In a world where digital surveillance perpetually evolves, staying informed, vigilant, and equipped with the latest in counter-espionage technology is paramount. As we navigate these challenges, let us engage in ongoing dialogue, advocate for stringent regulatory measures, and champion the development of robust cybersecurity defenses. Together, we can confront the challenges posed by Pegasus and similar technologies, safeguarding our collective privacy, security, and democratic values in the digital age.

Sources

In crafting this article, we have drawn upon a selection of reputable and verified web sources. Our sources are chosen for their commitment to presenting facts objectively and respecting the presumption of innocence.

This article has been meticulously crafted, drawing upon a diverse array of reputable and verified web sources. These sources have been selected for their unwavering commitment to factual accuracy, objective presentation, and respect for the presumption of innocence. Our investigation delves deep into the complex web of surveillance technology, focusing on the notorious Pegasus spyware developed by NSO Group and the global efforts to detect, regulate, and mitigate its invasive reach. The article sheds light on groundbreaking detection methods, international policy measures against spyware misuse, and the pressing need for enhanced cybersecurity practices.

We analyzed many sources including:

In summary

Additional references from a range of international publications provide further insights into the deployment, implications, and countermeasures associated with Pegasus spyware across various countries, including Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Hungary, India, and the United Arab Emirates. These articles collectively highlight the global challenge posed by Pegasus, the evolving landscape of digital espionage, and the concerted efforts required to safeguard privacy and security in the digital age.

Estimating the Global Reach and Financial Implications of Pegasus Spyware

The deployment of Pegasus spyware across various nations reveals not only the extensive reach of NSO Group’s surveillance tool but also underscores the significant financial and ethical costs associated with its use. The following insights, derived from reputable news sources, offer a glimpse into the scale of Pegasus’s deployment worldwide and its impact on targeted countries:

  1. According to the French Le Monde, Saudi Arabia targeted about 15,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The cost of one license can be as high as Rs 70 lakh. With one license, multiple smartphones can be tracked. As per past estimates of 2016, for spying on just 10 people using Pegasus, NSO Group charges a minimum of around Rs 9 crore.
  2. The American The Washington Post reported that Saudi Arabia started using Pegasus in 2018. The FBI also confirmed that it obtained NSO Group’s powerful Pegasus spyware in 2019, suggesting that it bought access to the Israeli surveillance tool to “stay abreast of emerging technologies and tradecraft”.
  3. The British The Guardian stated that Azerbaijan aimed at about 5,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is among the 10 governments that have been the most aggressive in deploying the spyware against their own citizens and those of other countries.
  4. As per the American The Washington Post, Azerbaijan began using Pegasus in 2019. The country has been accused of using the spyware to target journalists, activists, and opposition figures, as well as foreign diplomats and politicians.
  5. In the case reported by the French Le Monde, Bahrain focused on about 3,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country has been using the spyware since 2020 to target dissidents, human rights defenders, and members of the royal family.
  6. Mentioned in the American The Washington Post, Bahrain initiated Pegasus use in 2020. The country is one of the NSO Group’s oldest customers, having signed a contract with the company in 2016.
  7. As disclosed by the British The Guardian, Kazakhstan directed attention towards approximately 1,500 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country has been using the spyware since 2021 to target journalists, activists, and opposition figures, as well as foreign diplomats and politicians.
  8. According to the American The Washington Post, Kazakhstan commenced Pegasus usage in 2021. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2020.
  9. According to claims made by the Mexican Aristegui Noticias, Mexico targeted about 15,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is the largest known client of NSO Group, having spent at least $61m on the spyware between 2011 and 2017.
  10. As reported by the American The Washington Post, Mexico began Pegasus use in 2020. The country has been using the spyware to target journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as the relatives of the 43 students who disappeared in 2014.
  11. As detailed in the French Le Monde, Morocco focused on about 10,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is one of the most prolific users of the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as foreign heads of state and government.
  12. Confirmed by the Canadian organization Citizen Lab, Morocco initiated Pegasus usage in 2016. The country is one of the oldest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2014.
  13. According to findings reported by the British The Guardian, Rwanda honed in on around 3,500 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country has been using the spyware to target dissidents, journalists, and human rights defenders, as well as foreign critics and rivals.
  14. As indicated by the American The Washington Post, Rwanda started Pegasus usage in 2019. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2018.
  15. In the report from the French Le Monde, Hungary aimed at about 300 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is the only EU member state known to have used the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and opposition figures.
  16. As conveyed by the Hungarian Direkt36, Hungary initiated Pegasus use in 2018. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2017.
  17. As outlined in the Indian The Wire, India directed attention towards approximately 1,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is one of the largest users of the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as the leader of the main opposition party.
  18. According to the British The Guardian, India began Pegasus use in 2019. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2018.
  19. According to the information provided by the French Le Monde, the United Arab Emirates honed in on around 10,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is one of the most aggressive users of the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as foreign heads of state and government.
  20. Confirmed by the Canadian organization Citizen Lab, the United Arab Emirates started Pegasus usage in 2016. The country is one of the oldest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2013.
  21. According to the European Parliament recommendation of 15 June 2023, the EU and its Member States have been affected by the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware, which constitutes a serious threat to the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The recommendation calls for a global moratorium on the sale and use of such technologies until robust safeguards are established.
  22. According to the article by Malwarebytes, Pegasus spyware and how it exploited a WebP vulnerability, the spyware exploited a vulnerability in the WebP image format, which allows for lossless compression and restoration of pixels. The article explains how the attackers created specially crafted image files that caused a buffer overflow in the libwebp library, used by several programs and browsers to support the WebP format.
  23. According to the article by ZDNet, ‘Lawful intercept’ Pegasus spyware found deployed in 45 countries, the spyware has been used by government agencies across the world to conduct cross-border surveillance, violating international law and human rights. The article cites a report by Citizen Lab, which identified 45 countries where Pegasus operators may be conducting surveillance operations.
  24. According to the article by The Guardian, Experts warn of new spyware threat targeting journalists and political opponents, a new spyware with hacking capabilities comparable to Pegasus has emerged, developed by an Israeli company called Candiru. The article cites a report by Citizen Lab, which found evidence that the spyware has been used to target journalists, political opposition figures and an employee of an NGO.

DataShielder HSM Fortress Award 2023 from FullSecure: the Andorran serverless and databaseless encryption solution

DataShielder HSM, FullSecure's Andorran solution featuring Freemindtronic technologies, wins the 2023 Fortress Award

DataShielder HSM, FullSecure’s Andorran solution featuring Freemindtronic technologies, wins the 2023 Fortress Award

We are proud to announce that our Andorran DataShielder HSM solution from FullSecure, developed by Freemindtronic, has won the Fortress 2023 Cyber Security Award in encryption in the product and service category. This award, awarded by the Business Intelligence Group, recognizes the excellence and innovation of companies around the world, products and people in the field of cybersecurity. DataShielder HSM from FullSecure is a serverless encryption solution that uses EviCore HSM OpenPGP technology from Freemindtronic. This technology enables to create HSM (Hardware Security Module) on any type of device (computer, phone, cloud, HD, SSD, SD, USB media) to encrypt and sign any data.

DataShielder HSM is an innovative solution that allows managing and generating many types of tokens (identifiers, passwords, certificates, encryption keys, etc.) on any available medium, whether connected or not. It offers a high level of security and performance, by encrypting, signing and authenticating data with keys stored in self-created secure hardware modules. Thus, DataShielder HSM is designed to transform any device into a HSM (Hardware Security Module), without server, without database, totally anonymous, untraceable and undetectable. The DataShielder HSM range is a complete ecosystem that meets many needs in terms of safety, cybersecurity, especially in mobility.

DataShielder HSM also incorporates the EviSign technology developed by Freemindtronic, which allows electronically signing documents with a legally recognized value. EviSign uses the OpenPGP protocol to ensure the integrity, authenticity and non-repudiation of signatures. EviSign is compatible with all document formats (PDF, Word, Excel, etc.) and can be used with any NFC reader or smartphone.

The Fortress 2023 Cyber Security Award acknowledges the work and expertise of Freemindtronic, who offers innovative and adapted solutions to the current and future challenges of cybersecurity. Freemindtronic is proud of this distinction and thank the jury of the contest as well as their customers and partners for their trust and support.

DataShielder HSM was presented in a Dual-Use version in June 2022 at Coges Eurosatory (https://www.eurosatory.com), the international defense and security exhibition. This version allows DataShielder HSM to be used for both civil and military applications, offering a level of protection adapted to each context. The Dual-Use version of DataShielder HSM will soon be available in a civilian version by the end of October 2023, to meet the growing demand from individuals and professionals keen to protect their sensitive data.

We are very proud that DataShielder HSM from FullSecure has been awarded the Fortress Cyber Security Award 2023”, said Christine Bernard, director of FullSecure. “Our solution provides an innovative and adapted response to the current and future challenges of cybersecurity. We thank the Business Intelligence Group for this distinction, as well as our customers and partners for their trust and support.

“We are also very happy to be the first Andorran company to have applied for the Fortress Cyber ​​​​Security Award created in 2018 by the Business Intelligence Group. The Business Intelligence Group is an organization that recognizes true talent and superior performance in the business world. Its Fortress Cyber ​​Security Award aims to identify and recognize the world’s leading companies and products working to protect our data and electronic assets against a growing threat from hackers.”

Fortress Cyber security Award 2023 logo
Dylan DA COSTA FERNANDES gerent programador de DataShielder HSM a Freemindtronic premi Fortress Cybersecurity award 2023
Eric Casanova programador de DataShielder HSM a Freemindtronic premi Fortress Cybersecurity award 2023
Hugo Goncalves Oliveira co-gerent programador de DataShielder HSM a Freemindtronic premi Fortress Cybersecurity award 2023
Alex Garcia Sanchez programador de DataShielder HSM a Freemindtronic premi Fortress Cybersecurity award 2023
Adrian Serrano Gómez programador de DataShielder HSM a Freemindtronic premi Fortress Cybersecurity award 2023
Victor Gil Feliu programador de DataShielder HSM a Freemindtronic premi Fortress Cybersecurity award 2023
Jacques Gascuel Inventor de datashielder HSM CEO de Freemindtronic Andorra el Premi Fortress 2023 cat

DataShielder HSM OpenPGP: Una solució de xifratge 100% andorrana

En resum, DataShielder HSM OpenPGP és una solució innovadora que permet crear mòduls de seguretat hardware (HSM) en qualsevol tipus de suport (ordinador, telèfon, núvol, HD, SSD, SD, clau USB) per xifrar i signar qualsevol tipus de dada. Aquesta solució utilitza la tecnologia EviCore HSM OpenPGP desenvolupada per Freemindtronic, una empresa andorrana titular de patents internacionals i líder en les tecnologies NFC HSM. Aquesta tecnologia ofereix un alt nivell de seguretat i rendiment.

Es tracta del primer producte dedicat a la gestió de claus de xifratge i de xifratge per HSM 100% andorrà. En efecte, l’equip de desenvolupament de DataShielder HSM OpenPGP és 100% d’una formació de la Universitat d’Andorra, l’única universitat pública del país. La Universitat d’Andorra és reconeguda per la seva excel·lència acadèmica i la seva recerca innovadora en els àmbits de les ciències, l’enginyeria i les tecnologies de la informació. L’equip de desenvolupament de DataShielder HSM OpenPGP va ser coordinat per un enginyer de programari de la Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) i professor de la Universitat d’Andorra. Això fa de DataShielder HSM OpenPGP el primer sistema de xifratge d’origen andorrà a haver rebut un premi internacional, el “Fortress Cybersecurity Award”.

Aquesta solució testimonia el saber fer i el potencial d’Andorra en el camp de la ciberseguretat i el xifratge de les dades. DataShielder HSM OpenPGP és una solució que respon a les necessitats actuals i futures de les empreses i els particulars que volen protegir les seves dades sensibles al núvol o als sistemes informàtics, oferint una nova solució en el camp de la sobirania de les dades.

You will soon be able to learn more about the DataShielder HSM product line at FullSecure. Without waiting you can already learn more about the Freemindtronic technologies embedded in DataShielder HSM, by clicking on the following links:

To learn more about the Fortress 2023 Cyber Security Award and other winners, you can visit the following sites:

Premsa Nacional d’Andorra:

DataShielder HSM de la revista de tecnologia Freemindtronic Fullsecure i incrustada Bondia 29 de setembre de 2023
Diari Andorra dijous 5 octubre del 2023: Fullsecure Guanya el Premi Fortress Andorra national press

News provided by Fortress® Cybersecurity Award 2023 from Business Intelligence Group

The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry award programs, these programs are judged by business executives having experience and knowledge. The organization’s proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.

May 31, 2023 Related Link: https://www.bintelligence.com/posts/105-people-companies-and-products-named-in-2023-fortress-cyber-security-awards

2023 Articles Communications Cybersecurity Digital Security News Technical News

5Ghoul: 5G NR Attacks on Mobile Devices

Articles Cybersecurity Digital Security Spying

Predator Files: The Spyware Scandal That Shook the World

Articles Cryptocurrency Cybersecurity Digital Security Phishing

BITB Attacks: How to Avoid Phishing by iFrame

2022 Awards Cybersecurity EviCypher Technology

Gold Globee Winner 2022 Cyber Computer NFC

Awards CES Awards Distinction Excellence

Keepser Group Award CES 2022

2022 Events EviCypher NFC HSM Exhibitions Licences Freemindtronic NFC Contactless

Secure Card CES 2022

2021 Cybersecurity Distinction Excellence EviCypher Technology finalists

E&T Innovation Awards Cybersecurity

2021 Awards Communications Distinction Excellence EviCypher Technology finalists IT

E&T Innovation Awards Communications & IT

2021 Distinction Excellence finalists

Finalists The National Cyber Awards 2021

Awards Cyberculture EviCypher Technology International Inventions Geneva NFC HSM technology

Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions 2021

Awards Global Infosec Awards News Press

List of Winners Global Infosec Awards 2021

2021 Awards International Inventions Geneva

EviCypher Gold Medal 2021 of the Geneva International Inventions

2017 Awards Embedded System Awards IoT

Award 2017 MtoM & Embedded System & IoT

2017 Cybersecurity finalists

Award FIC 2017 10th Most innovative international startup

2015 finalists NFC Contactless

Finalist Contactless Services Challenge

2015 Awards Distinction Excellence EviKey & EviDisk

FIC 2015 Distinction Excellence 19th Most innovative international startup

To improve in English: If you want to download images, Freemindtronic logo, you can access the Freemindtronic media kit, which contains various files and information related to the company and its products or awards. You will find the link to the media kit at the end of this article. In addition, if you prefer to read this article in another language, or download the press release, you can choose from the following options:

  • Download the press release in English by clicking here
  • Llegeix aquest article en català clica aquí

We hope you enjoyed this article and that you learned something interesting about Freemindtronic and its innovative technology.

[Kit de mitjans de Freemindtronic]

How to secure your SSH key with NFC HSM USB Drive EviKey

NFC HSM USB drive SSH Contactless keys manager EviKey NFC & EviCore NFC HSM Compatible Technologies patented from Freemindtronic Andorra Made in France - JPG

How to Create and Store Your SSH Key Securely with EviKey NFC HSM USB Drive

NFC HSM USB Drive EviKey revolutionizes SSH key storage in our digital era. In a world teeming with cyber threats, safeguarding SSH keys remains paramount. Yet, striking a balance between top-notch security and effortless access often poses challenges. The answer? EviKey’s groundbreaking NFC HSM USB technology. Throughout this guide, we’ll uncover how EviKey stands out, ensuring robust security without forsaking user convenience. So, whether you’re a seasoned tech expert or just beginning your cybersecurity journey, dive in. You’re about to discover the next big thing in digital key storage.

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security

Russian Cyberattack Microsoft: An Unprecedented Threat

2024 Digital Security

Europol Data Breach: A Detailed Analysis

2024 Cyberculture Digital Security News Training

Andorra National Cyberattack Simulation: A Global First in Cyber Defense

2024 Digital Security

Apple M chip vulnerability: A Breach in Data Security

2024 Digital Security

Cybersecurity Breach at IMF: A Detailed Investigation

How to create and protect your SSH key with NFC HSM USB drive

The NFC HSM USB drive is a device that allows you to create and store your SSH key securely with EviKey technology. EviKey is a patented technology that encrypts your SSH key with a secret code that only you know and that is stored in a NFC tag embedded in the device. You will need to scan the NFC tag with your smartphone or another NFC reader to unlock your SSH key and use it for SSH sessions. You will also learn how to customize the security settings of your device and how to backup and restore your SSH key.

SSH: A secure protocol for remote communication

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a cryptographic protocol that allows you to establish a secure communication between a client and a server. SSH is often used to remotely administer servers, execute commands or transfer files. To connect to a server via SSH, there are two authentication methods: password or public key.

Password authentication: simple but insecure

Password authentication is the simplest method, but also the least secure. Passwords can be easily guessed, stolen or intercepted by attackers. Moreover, you have to remember your password and enter it every time you connect.

Public key authentication: advanced and secure

Setting up public key authentication for SSH

Public key authentication is a more secure and convenient way to access remote servers than using passwords. To set it up, you will need to generate a pair of keys, one public and one private, and copy the public key to the server you want to connect to. The private key will stay on your local machine and will be used to authenticate yourself when you initiate an SSH session. You will also learn how to use a passphrase to protect your private key from unauthorized access.

Advantages and constraints of public key authentication

Public key authentication: benefits and challenges

Using public key authentication for SSH has many benefits and challenges. Some of the benefits are: increased security, reduced risk of brute force attacks, and a streamlined login process. Some of the challenges are: managing multiple keys, ensuring the integrity of the public key, and recovering from lost or stolen private key. You’ll also learn some best practices for overcoming these challenges and protecting your SSH keys.

Public key authentication has several advantages:

  • Compared to password authentication, public key authentication offers a higher level of security. It also avoids typing your password every time you connect. In addition, it allows you to automate processes that require an SSH connection; such as scripts or orchestration tools.

However, public key authentication also involves certain constraints:

  • You have to deal with some constraints when you use public key authentication. For each client and each server, you have to generate a pair of keys; copy the public key on the server in a special file called ~/.ssh/authorized_keys; and protect the private key against any loss or compromise.

EviKey NFC HSM USB drive: A solution to store your SSH key securely

To overcome these constraints, there is a solution: using an EviKey NFC HSM technology to store your private SSH key physically externalized. EviKey NFC HSM USB drive is a hardware device that allows you to store sensitive data in a secure flash memory, which can only be unlocked with a contactless authentication via a smartphone compatible with NFC (Near Field Communication). It offers several advantages:

  • The EviKey NFC HSM USB drive allows you to keep your private SSH key outside of the hard disk of the client. This reduces the risks of theft or unauthorized access. You can also unlock your private SSH key without typing a password or a passphrase; you just have to approach your smartphone to the NFC HSM USB drive. Moreover, the device offers an industrial level of security equivalent to SL4 according to the standard IEC 62443-3-3.

EviKey NFC HSM: A technology developed by Freemindtronic SL

There are several models and brands of NFC HSM USB drives on the market, but in this tutorial, we will focus on the EviKey NFC HSM technology, developed by Freemindtronic SL, an Andorran company specialized in cybersecurity. EviKey NFC HSM is compatible with all operating systems (Linux, Windows, macOS, Android) and can be used with three free Android applications: Evikey & EviDisk, Fullkey Plus and Freemindtronic (FMT). These applications allow you to manag the NFC HSM USB drives, to create and restore backups, to encrypt and decrypt files, and to authenticate via SSH.

How to create an SSH key and use it with a NFC HSM USB drive

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create an SSH key under different operating systems, how to use a NFC HSM USB drive to store your private SSH key physically externalized, and how to use the public SSH key to authenticate locally, on a computer or on a server.

Prerequisites

The following are required to follow this tutorial:

  • A computer or a smartphone with an operating system among Linux, Windows, macOS or Android.
  • An internet connection.
  • A NFC HSM USB drive.
  • One of the three Android applications mentioned above installed on your smartphone.
  • A remote server that you want to connect to via SSH.

Creating an SSH key

The first step to use public key authentication is to generate a pair of SSH keys (private and public) on your computer or smartphone. To do this, you can use a special utility called ssh-keygen, which is included with the standard OpenSSH suite. By default, this utility will create a pair of RSA keys of 3072 bits.

The procedure to create an SSH key varies depending on the operating system that you use. Here is how to do it for each case:

  • Linux

    • Open a terminal and type the following command: ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "your_email@example.com"
    • This command will create a new pair of SSH keys using your email as a label.
    • You can choose the location and name of the file where to save your private key, as well as a passphrase to protect it.
    • By default, the files are named id_rsa and id_rsa.pub and are stored in the ~/.ssh directory.
  • Windows

    • Download and install the PuTTYgen software from the official website [2].
    • Launch PuTTYgen and click on the Generate button.
    • You will have to move the mouse over the blank area to create some entropy.
    • Once the key is generated, you can enter a comment (for example your email) and a passphrase to secure it.
    • Then, you will have to save your public key and your private key in separate files by clicking on the Save public key and Save private key buttons.
  • macOS

    • The procedure is similar to Linux.
    • Open a terminal and type the following command: ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "your_email@example.com"
    • SSH keygen will create a new pair of SSH keys using your email as a label.
    • You can choose the location and name of the file where to save your private key, as well as a passphrase to protect it.
    • By default, the files are named id_rsa and id_rsa.pub and are stored in the ~/.ssh directory.
  • Android

    • Download and install the ConnectBot application from the Play Store [5].
    • Open ConnectBot and press the Menu button.
    • Select Manage Pubkeys.
    • Press the Menu button again and select Generate.
    • Choose the type of key (RSA or DSA) and the size of the key (2048 bits or more).
    • Enter a nickname for your key and press Generate.

Using a NFC HSM USB drive

Once you have created your pair of SSH keys, you have to move the private SSH key into the flash memory of the NFC HSM USB drive. To do this, you have to plug the NFC HSM USB drive into the USB port of your computer or smartphone, and use the following command:

sudo mv ssh_private_key /usb_directory

This command will move the file containing your private SSH key (for example id_rsa or private.ppk) to the directory corresponding to the NFC HSM USB drive (for example /media/evikey or /storage/evikey). You have to replace ssh_private_key and /usb_directory with the appropriate names according to your case.

Once you have moved your private SSH key into the NFC HSM USB drive, you can lock it contactlessly with your smartphone. To do this, you have to use one of the three Android applications that embed the EviKey NFC HSM technology: Evikey & EviDisk, Fullkey Plus or Freemindtronic (FMT). Here is how to do it for each application:

With Evikey & EviDisk or Fullkey Plus or Freemindtronic (FMT) Android NFC app

  • Open the application on your smartphone.
  • Select the NFC HSM USB drive that you want to lock.
  • Press the Lock button.
  • Approach your smartphone to the NFC HSM USB drive to lock the access to the flash memory.

Authentication via SSH with a NFC HSM USB drive

You have prepared your NFC HSM USB drive and copied your public SSH key on the computer or remote server that you want to connect to via SSH. Now you can authenticate via SSH with the NFC HSM USB drive. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Plug the NFC HSM USB drive into the USB port of the smartphone
  • Open the Android application of your choice
  • Select the option “SSH Authentication”
  • Enter the information of the computer or remote server (IP address, port, username)
  • Select the private SSH key stored in the NFC HSM USB drive
  • Approach your smartphone to the NFC HSM USB drive to unlock the access to the flash memory
  • Validate the SSH connection
  • Access the terminal of the computer or remote server

The method allows you to authenticate locally, on a computer or on a server. Here are some examples of use cases:

Local authentication

You can use the NFC HSM USB drive to authenticate locally on your own computer or smartphone. That can be useful if you want to execute commands as another user, for example root or sudo. To do that, you have to enter the information of your computer or smartphone as IP address, port and username. For example:

ssh -p 22 root@127.0.0.1

It command will connect you via SSH to your local computer as root, using port 22 and IP address 127.0.0.1. It is a special address that always designates the local host. You will have to approach your smartphone to the NFC HSM USB cdrive to unlock your private SSH key and validate the connection.

Computer authentication

With the NFC HSM USB drive, you can authenticate on another computer that you have access to on the network. Such can be useful if you want to access files or programs that are stored on that computer, or if you want to perform maintenance or troubleshooting operations remotely. To do such, you have to enter the information of the computer that you want to connect to as IP address, port and username. For example:

ssh -p 22 alice@192.168.1.10

Local SSH will connect you via SSH to the computer whose IP address is 192.168.1.10, using port 22 and username alice. You will have to approach your smartphone to the NFC HSM USB drive to unlock your private SSH key and validate the connection.

Server authentication

The EviKey NFC HSM USB drive lets you authenticate on a remote server that you have access to via the internet. This can be useful if you want to administer a website, a database, a cloud service or any other type of server. To do this, you have to enter the information of the server that you want to connect to as IP address, port and username. For example:

ssh -p 22 bob@54.123.456.78

That command will connect you via SSH to the server whose IP address is 54.123.456.78, using port 22 and username bob. You will have to approach your smartphone to the NFC HSM USB drive to unlock your private SSH key and validate the connection.

Comparison of Secure Storage Solutions for SSH Keys

EviKey NFC HSM USB Drive: Redefining the Paradigm

The search for dependable, efficient, and secure storage for SSH private keys has evolved from a mere task to a pivotal mission. In a digital landscape riddled with threats, the EviKey NFC HSM USB drive emerges, not merely as a product but as a groundbreaking shift towards cybersecurity, regulatory compliance, and user-friendliness.

Cybersecurity and Safety: A Synergy

Combining cybersecurity (safeguarding digital assets) and safety (protecting the device itself) is a hallmark of the EviKey NFC HSM USB drive. The drive’s construction inherently merges these two dimensions. With electrical and thermal safeguards, ESD protection, and an integrated self-diagnostic system, it’s evident that the EviKey drive is designed not just to store but to fortify.

Simplicity Meets Security: Seamless SSH Key Storage

EviKey has revolutionized the SSH key storage process, doing away with complicated software or intricate steps. Upon unlocking the USB NFC HSM through a contactless mechanism, it presents itself as a standard medium on various operating systems. Users can then smoothly transfer SSH keys to this space. In its locked state, the drive becomes virtually undetectable to both computing and mobile platforms, ensuring unparalleled security. Furthermore, the option to fortify security with an additional password layer is available to users.

Normative Compliance: Setting the Gold Standard

EviKey’s technological prowess is evident in features such as NFC signal energy harvesting. This includes a state-of-the-art black box monitoring system. Additionally, there’s an assurance of data persistence for an astounding 40 years without needing an external power source.

Technological Advancements: Beyond the Ordinary

EviKey’s technological prowess is evident in features such as NFC signal energy harvesting, a state-of-the-art black box monitoring system, and an assurance of data persistence for an astounding 40 years without needing an external power source.

At a Glance: EviKey Versus the Rest


Criteria EviKey NFC HSM Nitrokey Yubikey SoloKeys OnlyKey Trezor
Storage Capacity 8GB-128GB 32KB 32KB 32KB 32KB Limited by key size
SSH Key Capacity Over 4 billion About 24 About 24 Up to 24 Up to 24 Several
Contactless Authentication Yes, via NFC No Yes, NFC or USB Yes, NFC or USB Yes, NFC or USB Yes, via USB
Physical Device Security Enhanced with attack detection & self-destruct Standard with PIN lock Standard with PIN lock Standard with PIN lock Standard with PIN lock Standard with PIN lock
OS Compatibility All OS All OS All OS All OS All OS All OS
SSH & OpenSSH Protocol Compatibility Yes, via OpenSSH Yes, via PKCS#11 Yes, via PKCS#11 Yes, via PKCS#11 Yes, via PKCS#11 Yes, via GPG
SSH & OpenSSH Authentication Modes Five-factor (MFA) Two-factor (2FA) Two-factor (2FA) Two-factor (2FA) Two-factor (2FA) One-factor (1FA)
Users for Contactless SSH & OpenSSH Unlocking Six different users None One user One user One user One user
Patents Three international patents None None None None None
Electrical Protection Integrated with intelligent regulator No No No No No
Thermal Safeguards Functional & thermal sensors with breaker No No No No No
ESD Protection 27kv on data channel No No No No No
Physical Robustness Military-grade resin; Waterproof & Tamperproof No No No No No
Security from Attacks Inclusive of invasive & non-invasive threats No No No No No
Limit on Auth. Attempts 13 (modifiable by admin) No No No No No
USB Port Protection Fully independent security system No No No No No
Contactless Security Energy Harvests energy from NFC signals No No No No No
Black Box Monitoring Comprehensive event tracking No No No No No
Fault Detection In-built self-diagnostics No No No No No
Memory Write Count Monitors flash memory health No No No No No
Data Persistence 40 years without external power No No No No No
Temperature Guard Ensures optimal performance No No No No No
Auto-lock Duration Admin-defined (seconds to minutes) No No No No No

Unveiling the NFC HSM USB Drive EviKey’s Innovations

Deep Dive: Why EviKey is the Leading Choice

With standout features like the swift auto-lock function, EviKey solidifies its position as a market leader. Its rapid automatic re-locking capability, combined with easy NFC unlocking, minimizes vulnerability windows, ensuring top-notch security. The EviKey NFC HSM USB drive signifies not just storage but an investment in unparalleled SSH key protection.

Physical Robustness: Beyond Conventional Protection

Designed with precision, the EviKey NFC HSM USB drive is adept at handling adverse conditions. Enclosed in a military-grade resin, its robustness parallels that of steel. Its unique construction ensures the EviKey drive’s resilience to damage, and its waterproof quality even allows it to operate underwater. Beyond the physical, the drive also provides countermeasures against invasive and non-invasive brute force intrusions.

Independence from Encryption Systems: Freedom of Choice

EviKey NFC HSM USB drive’s design is devoid of a pre-set encryption system, a strategic move to offer users flexibility and security. This choice ensures evasion from issues tied to outdated or flawed cryptographic elements, which may require user updates. This architecture offers users the autonomy to choose their preferred encryption method for data storage on the EviKey drive. Furthermore, the option for drive segmentation allows users to create specific encrypted sections, such as a BitLocker space, diversifying its applications.

Versatility: A Universal Key

EviKey NFC HSM’s adaptability is not limited to SSH key storage. Its versatile nature allows integration with various security ecosystems. The drive can serve as a decryption key for encrypted SSDs, HDs and SDs TPM2.0. Moreover, its compatibility extends to password management, functioning as a password manager or a token, harmonizing with other advanced technologies from Freemindtronic such as EviCode HSM OpenPGP and EviPass HSM OpenPGP.

Conclusion

You now know how to create an SSH key under different operating systems, how to use a NFC HSM USB drive to store your physically externalized private SSH key, and how to use the public SSH key to authenticate locally, on a computer or on a server. You can thus enjoy a secure and convenient authentication method, without needing a password or additional software, while benefiting from an industrial level of security equivalent to SL4 according to the standard IEC 62443-3-3.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact Freemindtronic SL, designer, developer, manufacturer and publisher of applications embedding the EviKey NFC HSM technology. You can also buy the products integrating this technology from Freemindtronic’s partners.