Security Link Rodeo: Silk Road, the Patriot Act, Alan Turing, and Your Passwords

The man behind the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, received a life sentence after being convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking. It’s estimated that he made around $18 million on the website, which ran as a hidden service in the Tor network. Some of the operators for the Silk Road argue that it was a haven for libertarian philosophy, but does that really excuse the amount of damage they enabled? The Economist notes that since the Silk Road fell, illegal drug sales on the Internet have doubled.

Security Intelligence discusses the effectiveness of password security questions, pointing out that they are particularly weak points in a system. Two-factor authentication or some kind of physical key are definitely better. And when it comes to passwords, there’s a better way that produces easy-to-remember pass phrases!

Bitstamp, an online Bitcoin marketplace and wallet, now offers debit cards. I’ve used Bitstamp many times in the past and it’s always worked well for me.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act finally expired! Not willing to really stop bulk surveillance, Congress then pushed through the USA Freedom Act, which has nothing to do with freedom. Find out how long your mobile phone carrier will retain your call data in this handy chart. Demand Progress rightfully foamed at the mouth.

Phil Zimmerman is still not happy with the state of privacy in the United States. He’s right to be concerned.

Two more papers are available from Alan Turing, the father of modern computing and an important cryptologist.

Finally, the UK Government has documented security guidance for Ubuntu. Read the document. It has a lot of really good suggestions for securing your Linux machines.

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