The Switchboard: Yes, Heartbleed can be used to get encryption keys.


File: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee on Capitol Hill September 21, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Google, once disdainful of lobbying, now a master of Washington influence. "The rise of Google as a top-tier Washington player fully captures the arc of change in the influence business," report Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold for the Post. "Nine years ago, the company opened a one-man lobbying shop, disdainful of the capital’s pay-to-play culture. Since then, Google has soared to near the top of the city’s lobbying ranks, placing second only to General Electric in corporate lobbying expenditures in 2012 and fifth place in 2013."

Obama lets N.S.A. exploit some Internet flaws, officials say. "President Obama has decided that when the National Security Agency discovers major flaws in Internet security, it should — in most circumstances — reveal them to assure that they will be fixed, rather than keep mum so that the flaws can be used in espionage or cyberattacks, senior administration officials said Saturday," reports David Sanger at the New York Times. "But Mr. Obama carved a broad exception for 'a clear national security or law enforcement need,' the officials said, a loophole that is likely to allow the N.S.A. to continue to exploit security flaws both to crack encryption on the Internet and to design cyberweapons."

Private crypto keys are accessible to Heartbleed hackers, new data show. "Contrary to previous suspicions, it is possible for hackers exploiting the catastrophic vulnerability dubbed Heartbleed to extract private encryption keys from vulnerable websites, Web services firm Cloudflare reported Saturday," Megan Geuss at Ars Technica reports. Cloudflare had previous published preliminary findings suggesting that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for hackers to use Heartbleed to get the private keys that provide basic privacy to many Web users. But within hours of creating a challenge to test out that theory, multiple researchers were able to recover the private keys.

Citizen Apple: A spotty record of giving back to techDespite its growing size, wealth and prominence in the last 15 years, Apple has steered clear of involvement with or direct financial support of many open source software foundations and influential industry consortiums," reports Paul F. Roberts at IT World. "That, even as competitors such as Google, Microsoft and Samsung have stepped up their support of those groups during the same period."

Out in the open: Inside the operating system Edward Snowden used to evade the NSA.  Klint Finley at Wired reports on the operating system Edward Snowden used to evade detection: "Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box. You install it on a DVD or USB drive, boot up the computer from the drive and, voila, you’re pretty close to anonymous on the internet. At its heart, Tails is a version of the Linux operating system optimized for anonymity."

Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Ars Technica as Ars Technical. We regret the error.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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