Items tagged with FBI

Security firm Cellebrite made headlines earlier this year when its services were employed by the FBI to help break into the phone of the San Bernardino shooter. Cellebrite recently invited a bunch of UK press to an event to show off what it's capable of.Equipped with an outdated smartphone, BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones went off for a half an hour, password-protected the device, and took pictures -- basically using the phone normally. You can see where this is going. Despite the password, Cellebrite plugged the phone into a bulky tablet, and after a few taps, the phone's security was disabled.... Read more...
Earlier this year, the FBI and Apple were embroiled in a bitter battle of words with regards to unlocking an iPhone 5c that was used by Syed Farook, one of two San Bernardino shooters. After much bluster on the part of FBI, and complete stonewalling from Apple, the FBI eventually went to a third-party vendor to bypass the iPhone 5c’s security protocols and obtain the data it was searching for. With the Freedom of Information Act on their side, three news organizations — the Associated Press, USA Today, and Vice Media — reached out to the FBI to obtain details on how the hack was carried out on... Read more...
Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire whiz kid who created the most popular social networking site on the planet, puts tape on his system's webcams. While that might sound paranoid to some, it's a common privacy measure against hackers who might be trying to spy on you or your company. Zuckerberg is far from alone—James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), uses a piece of tape on his personal laptop's webcam and recommends that everyone else does as well. "There's some sensible things you should be doing, and that's one of them," Comey said during a recent conference at... Read more...
Google has just reported that there were over 40,000 request for user data from the government between June and December 2015. Requests for user data has steadily increased since 2009, however this was the highest number yet. Google admitted that this number was not comprehensive. For example, the same Gmail account may be specified in several different requests for user information. Google also might receive a request for a user for account that does not exist at all.   It believes that these discrepancies do balance out. The statistics do cover all government entities that request user data.... Read more...
The HFS and HFS+ file systems have served Apple well for years, but it’s time to make a clean break from the past. That break from tradition is coming in the form of the Apple File System (APFS), which uses unified encryption to bolster the security of nearly every device that Apple makes. APFS has been in development for far too long to cite the FBI as the reason for its arrival, but we’re sure that the agency is by no means happy about its existence. Apple explains the need for APFS by writing: HFS+ and its predecessor HFS are more than 30 years old. These file systems were developed in an era... Read more...
The FBI is determined to gain access to any and all electronic information from targeted devices whenever it wants, and by any means necessary (as we’ve seen in the drawn-out and very public battle with Apple over encryption). However, many feel that the FBI is really overstepping its authority with an expansion of the National Security Letter (NSL) statute. An amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which is sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), is set to go before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and would expand the FBI’s warrantless vacuuming of user data. Under the... Read more...
The FBI ultimately dropped its suit against Apple involving the now infamous iPhone that was connected to a terrorist in the San Bernardino shooting, but the quest to set a legal precedent marches on. FBI Director James Comey hinted as much when said this week there would be more legal battles over encryption and with regards to forcing tech companies to help law enforcement access data on electronic devices.It's not game over, in other words. Though the FBI ultimately didn't need Apple's help in extracting data from the iPhone 5c model it confiscated from a dead terrorist who had locked the handset... Read more...
The government’s ability to compel you to cough up the contents of your smartphone is growing with each day. Just last week, we reported that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted federal law enforcement agencies the ability to issue search warrants for computing devices in any jurisdiction in the United States; an act that U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said would allow the government to “search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime.” Now, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg has granted... Read more...
As we’ve seen in the San Bernardino iPhone case, the FBI is willing to go to extreme lengths to retrieve [potentially valuable] personal information for investigative purposes. When Apple wouldn’t comply with FBI requests to unlock the iPhone 5c in that case, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit. A day before the case was to go to trial, the lawsuit was unexpectedly pulled, as the FBI had found a way to break into the iPhone through the help of a third-party. In the future, the FBI might not have to go through so many hoops to crack large numbers of smartphones and PCs, as the U.S. Supreme... Read more...
For the second time in less than a month, the U.S. government has backed down from attempting to force Apple through a court order to help authorities access the contents of a locked iPhone. This time it was the Justice Department that sought Apple's assistance, willingly or not, with opening an iPhone 5s handset that was seized in 2014 as part of a drug investigation. "Yesterday evening, an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case,’’ prosecutors stated in a letter to the judge. "Late last night, the government used that passcode by hand and gained access to the iPhone.... Read more...
From the get-go, FBI Director James Comey insisted that his agency's attempt to force Apple to crack the security protecting the contents of the iPhone 5c handset that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters was not a ploy to set a precedent. Instead, it was about a debt to the victims, to which he said "we owe them a thorough and professional investigation under the law." Well, the FBI (and taxpayers) ultimately provided one, paying a third-party more than $1.3 million to hack the phone. It's the largest sum for hiring hackers the FBI has ever publicized, coming in over $300,000 above even... Read more...
The situation that played out between the FBI and Apple over a locked iPhone 5c model has been like a Soap Opera with plenty of drama and unexpected twists and turns. In case you thought it was coming to an end, think again—the latest plot twist is that Israeli security outfit Cellebrite supposedly wasn't the one that helped the FBI crack the iPhone in question.Up to this point, there have been several reports saying that Cellebrite helped the FBI extract the contents from the iPhone 5c handset that once belonged to Syed Farook, one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino shooting. There was even... Read more...
The legal battle between Apple and the FBI has been an ongoing saga that has not only caught the attention of the tech press, but also the general public. Today we’ve learned that Apple won’t fight the FBI to gain insight into the tool used to unlock the iPhone 5c at the center of brouhaha. For starters, the tool only works on a “narrow sliver” of devices according to Comey; it’s limited to just the iPhone 5c. In addition, while speaking to reporters today on a briefing call, Apple lawyers indicated that any tool the the FBI has access to would have a “short shelf life.” Apple engineers will undoubtedly... Read more...
Whatever method the Federal Bureau of Investigation used to extract data from the iPhone 5c model that was once in possession of Syed Farook, one of the terrorists involved in the deadly San Bernardino shooting, it appears it will not work for any other generation iPhone. That's if taking FBI director James Comey's comments at face value.Comey was on hand at Kenyon College in Ohio to give a speech on encryption and surveillance. During the talk and subsequent question and answer session, Comey said the U.S. government bought a tool that made it possible to access the iPhone 5c handset in its possession,... Read more...
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