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Apple praised by Google, damned by Lee Rigby family for FBI refusal

18th February 2016

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.

Apple praised by Google, damned by Lee Rigby family for FBI refusal (techweekeurope.co.uk).

Burning Apple
“This week Apple was ordered by a US court to provide ‘reasonable technical assistance’ to authorities to allow the FBI to access [the terrorist who murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California, Syed] Farook’s iPhone. But Apple refused the ‘chilling’ court order in a open letter to its customers written by CEO Tim Cook. He warned that the court order sets a ‘dangerous precedent’. That refusal to co-operate drew condemnation from the family of Fusilier Lee Rigby, the soldier who was brutally murdered by extremists in 2013 outside his London barracks.”

“Chilling” as in “chilling effect” (Wikipedia), as in discouraging exercise of legitimate right to free, un snooped speech, regardless of whether he was chatting about piecing kafirs or receiving a lingerie selfie from his wife.

For sure, I feel we’d all like them to access those records, but by placing a backdoor in technological communication devices supposedly to be used just the once when Snowden is still dancing PRISM cossack-style in exile with the Ruskis, Theresa May and GCHQ still trying to gain unlimited access to watch jihadis pulling one off on Facetime and and when the shooters may turn out to be those “lone wolves”—with gun purchased quite legally in the States— with no particular contacts so often called to rise up by Daesh really in anyone’s interest? It may make you wonder what keywords might place you on their watch list, especially if you are known to describe your waiting “supergun” and exploading blue bomb balls in your communications when they don’t appear to have too good an eye on when protecting their own: Cops arrest teen for hack and leak of DHS, FBI data (foxnews.com). Apple’s Tim cook said:

“‘The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers—including tens of millions of American citizens—from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals,’ said Cook. ‘The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.’

“‘We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack,’ said Cook. ‘For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data.’”

Updates/Follow Ups

20th February 2016

Cybersecurity legend John McAfee offers to thwart Apple’s refusal to help FBI hack San Bernadino iPhone (inquisitr.com).

John McAfee offers to crack iPhone for FBI

That be cybersecurity legend John “I’ve never even used anti-virus software, especially that with my name on that is usually the trial one with detection rates normally at the bottom of the pile most remove from a new laptop/desktop when purchased” McAfee that be, burying himself in presumably not Belizean beach sand with a cardboard box covering his head while evading authoritative powers that be taking a peek at it—or the headline grabbing oppotunity at least—right now.

“Self-proclaimed cybersecurity legend John McAfee has offered to help the FBI run an end-around on Apple in the case of an iPhone that was used by the San Bernardino shooters last December. … ‘No matter how you slice this pie, if the government succeeds in getting this back door, it will eventually get a back door into all encryption, and our world, as we know it, is over,’ McAfee wrote in the op-ed. … In his Business Insider op-ed, cybersecurity expert McAfee suggests that cyberscience is a talent, not a learned skill, and that a ‘room full of Stanford computer science graduates cannot compete with a true hacker without even a high-school education.’ With the assistance of a team of these ‘true hackers,’ McAfee promises that he will, free of charge, crack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone in less than a month.”

Presumably offering to help Apple develop better protection that is seemingly neglected in the security software that bares his name to defeat those “true hackers” too.

2nd March 2016

John McAfee blasts FBI for “illiterate” order to create Apple iPhone backdoor (rt.com).

“‘There is no question that what the FBI has asked Apple to do is create a backdoor,’ McAfee said to RT America’s Ed Schultz. He disputed the bureau’s argument that only one phone used by one of the San Bernardino mass shooters would be affected. … The FBI is ‘asking every owner of an iPhone to make their phone susceptible to bad hackers and more importantly foreign enemies of the United States like China,’ McAfee said.”

But it might be worth remembering MacGyver McAfee has a ticket himself to cash, being a contender for the Libertarian Party’s 2016 presidential nomination:

McAfee for President

“American government is dysfunctional:” John McAfee explains vision for tech-savvy leadership to RT (rt.com).

“In a presidential race that has Washington outsiders at the forefront, computer programmer and entrepreneur John McAfee may be the most outside of all. He thinks that American leadership is ill-equipped to deal with the cyber threats facing the country. ‘What’s needed more than anything else is competent leadership in the area of technology. Our Congressmen and Senators and President can barely spell the word cyberscience,’ McAfee told RT. McAfee is definitely not a politician. He is a computer scientist and businessman who started the company that produced the first commercial antivirus software back in the 1980s. This may be more of a boon than anything in a presidential field that has businesspeople, a neurosurgeon, and a self-described socialist topping the polls.”

Not so much “feeling the Bern” as the “definitely not a politician, computer scientist and businessman” perhaps putting it in an infinite loop.

Updated 14th March 2016

Obama: We can’t take an “absolutist” view on encryption (cnet.com).

Obama, “I can’t comment on…”
“He said Americans have always made privacy trade-offs with the government when it comes to public safety…. ‘This notion that somehow our data is different, and can be walled off from those other trade-offs we make, I believe is incorrect,’ said Obama, speaking in front of about 2,000 people in Austin, Texas, during South by Southwest, the first time a sitting president has ever spoken at the 30-year-old tech, music and film festival. ‘You cannot take an absolutist view on this,’ he said. ‘The dangers are real.’”

“Real” they undoubtedly are, but his “can’t comment on this specific case” vagueness could continue to leave many wondering from what direction, home or abroad. Nevertheless, can’t comment or not it’s probably uncle “distracted” Dave’s fault too (thisisnocave.blogspot.co.uk, 11th Mar. 2016).

22nd March 2016

FBI may have found a way to unlock iPhone without Apple’s help (independent.co.uk).

“In a filing late Monday, federal prosecutors asked to delay a much-anticipated court hearing set for Tuesday over the FBI's demand for Apple to help unlock Syed Rizwan Farook’s encrypted phone. An ‘an outside party’ came forward over the weekend and showed the FBI a possible method for unlocking the phone, according to the filing. Authorities need time to determine ‘whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data" on the phone.”

Which, if true and not just bobbing for opportunity, may do little to prop up users fears of Apple encryption no longer protecting their data if authorities—or just anyone with the know how—wish to snoop.

Updated 6th April 2016

This outrageously cheap device can crack an iPhone in just six hours (mirror.co.uk).

“The FBI recently threatened Apple with legal action unless it agreed to open up a terrorists’ iPhone. But it turns out that a £120 device would done the job for them. The Mail on Sunday managed to crack an iPhone in just six hours using a gadget called an IP Box. It works by guessing the four digit password which protects Apple’s smartphone. ‘It is the same technology the FBI got access to crack the passcode on the San Bernardino device,’ said Mark Strachan, director of a firm called Fone Fun Shop, which sells the gizmo. ‘We already supply forensic tools to law enforcement within the UK and worldwide and decided to introduce it into our line of products. There are certain scenarios where this kind of technology is needed to help people for the right reasons, it’s not all bad.’”

“Not all bad” unless you’d hoped your device’s encryption was indeed keeping your secrets—or even just privacy—rather than letting any ’ol body—law enforcement or not—who picked up said gizmo at Fone Fun Shop for a ton and score and not even requiring one of John “MacGyver” McAfee’s mohawked real hacker misfits to operate. But of course:

“It remains to be seen why investigators caused so much fuss when the solution was so simple.”

Unless you subscribe to the theory that they would indeed like a backdoor to all encryption technology and are willing to use war on terror fears opportunely to get it.

Updated 15th April 2016

BlackBerry

For sure, FBI didn’t need Apple to bend over to core roger it’s devices encryption after all, being able to pick up a device that could do it for them at a FoneFun shop for a ton score, but have other devices encryption been compromised by surveillancing powers that be for some time longer?

Canadian police have had master key to BlackBerry’s encryption since 2010 (Latest Picks 15th April 2016).

Updated 4th October 2017

FBI doesn’t have to reveal iPhone hack details, judge rules (cnet.com).

iPhone

What? The details that it wasn’t done with something similar to that bought for ton score from Fone Fun Shop that The Mail on Sunday cracked an iPhone with?

“The FBI doesn’t have to identify the company it contracted with to hack an iPhone used by one of the terrorists involved in the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, a federal judge ruled Saturday. Three news organizations sued the FBI a year ago under the Freedom of Information Act to learn the name of the company it hired to hack into the iPhone 5C or how much it paid that vendor. But US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled Saturday that information is exempt from mandatory disclosure under the government transparency law.… Chutkan said the the vendor’s networks are not as sophisticated as the FBI’s and releasing its name could put the company at greater risk of being hacked itself.”

But that they currently have some marvellous deals on fully loaded Kodi boxes (makeuseof.com, Apr. 2017) no doubt.

Of course through, truthfully it was never going to be that simple with regards the iPhone would wipe after 10 failed attempts if that option was selected, making the “brute force” password cracking the remarkably simple part: Here’s how the FBI plans to crack terrorist’s iPhone (computerworld.com, Mar. 2016).
“An outside contractor with established ties to the FBI has most likely shown investigators how to circumvent the iPhone’s security measures by copying the contents of the device’s flash storage, a forensics expert said today. Called ‘NAND mirroring,’ the technique relies on using numerous copies of the iPhone storage to input possible passcodes until the correct one is found. ‘The other ideas, I’ve kind of ruled out,’ said Jonathan Zdziarski in an interview. Zdziarski is a noted iPhone forensics and security expert. ‘None of them seemed to fit.’”

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