Items tagged with Encryption

A prosecutor in Arkansas will get an assist from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a murder trial where key pieces of evidence may be contained in a pair of Apple devices. Having just recently thwarted the security on an iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, the FBI has agreed to help prosecuting attorney Cody Hiland with breaking into an iPhone and iPod that belonged to the two alleged teenagers assailants.The case involves the killing of Robert and Patricia Cogdell, both murdered at their home in Conway, a town that sits half an hour north of Little Rock. Authorities believe 18-year-old Hunter Drexler and 15-year-old Justin Staton, the latter of which the Cogdell... Read more...
The FBI dropped its case against Apple yesterday claiming it had extracted the contents of the now infamous iPhone 5c model that belonged to Syed Farook, the terrorist involved in the San Bernardino shooting, with the assistance of a third-party. It's as much a win for Apple as it is for the FBI, though instead of celebrating, Apple released a statement saying the matter should never have went to court to begin with. "From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought,"... Read more...
For the time being, Apple no longer has to defend its position in court refusing to assist the FBI with breaking into the iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino shooting. That's because the Justice Department asked that the case be dropped today, saying it was able to break into the iPhone and retrieve the data it was after without Apple's assistance. The filing derails what would have been an historic ruling over whether or not the U.S. government can force companies like Apple to defeat their own security measures in certain situations. Apple chose to fight an initial court order to assist the FBI do exactly that, arguing that building what it considers... Read more...
A much anticipated court hearing to decide whether or not Apple should be forced to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation with unlocking an iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters will have to wait for another day. That's because the FBI said it may have found a way to break into the deceased terrorist's iPhone without Apple's assistance, so the hearing was delayed. The FBI didn't disclose any details, other than saying it was receiving help from a third-party, though speculation on the web is that it involves copying the contents of the iPhone's NAND flash memory.A forensic scientist named Jonathan Zdziarski, or "NerveGas" as he's known among hackers, described... Read more...
Tired of reading about the FBI and Apple trading blows over an encrypted iPhone yet?  Well relief may be in sight.  This evening, the FBI filed a request to delay Tuesday's court hearing on the matter, and now that request has been accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym. Why has the FBI suddenly changed course?  According to the brief, the FBI has not stopped working on trying to access the data on Syed Farook's government issued iPhone 5C.  They state that an "outside party" demonstrated a possible method for unlocking the phone on Sunday, March 20th, sparking this about face.  The FBI has previously stated that they have exhausted all other known options. This... Read more...
Encryption is a hot topic right now, especially as it pertains to the differences of opinion between Apple and the FBI. In short, the FBI wants the courts to force Apple to assist it with thwarting security measures in place on an iPhone 5c model that belonged that one of the San Bernardino shooters, while Apple is so far refusing to help on the basis that doing so would compromise the security of hundreds of millions of iPhones. Ironically enough, that might already be the case, as researchers at Johns Hopkins University have uncovered a troubling bug in Apple's encryption. The bug in question is limited to Apple's iMessage platform and doesn't really have any bearing on the FBI's case. However,... Read more...
It's been a little over a month since a federal judge ordered Apple to break the encryption on a San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone, and to call those ~30 days "action-packed" would be an understatement. Just earlier, we learned that the FBI isn't even concerned about contradicting itself: it argues for improved vehicle security at the same time it wants to cripple the iPhone's security. Now, we learn of another interesting development: if the FBI is successful in forcing Apple to sculpt an OS around its rules, or introduce a backdoor at all into iOS, engineers are going to walk. The New York Times reports that "more than" half a dozen engineers would leave their high-paying jobs at Apple to avoid... Read more...
Alanis Morissette famously sang about there being rain on your wedding day and ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. She also belted out many other examples of irony, though if she's in need of a new verse, she may want to consider the FBI's public service announcement about the need to beef up security in today's Internet connected cars while simultaneously taking Apple to court in an attempt to weaken iPhone security. Okay, maybe that's not being entirely fair, but it's hard not to see the irony here. On one hand, the FBI wants the courts to force Apple to assist with bypassing the security measures that are in place on an iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters,... Read more...
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak never seems afraid to speak his mind. What he has to say isn't always in favor of the company he helped create, either. We got to see a little bit of that in his recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on reddit in which the Woz covered a variety of topics, as well as his concern for Apple. When asked what Apple CEO Tim Cook is doing right and wrong in his opinion, Wozniak responded with plenty of praise by saying Cook is carrying on the strong tradition that Steve Jobs was known for, which entailed "making good products that help people do things they want to do in their life" rather than advertising crummy products. However, he's not as sold on the Apple Watch strategy.... Read more...
It's been an incredible month for Apple, the FBI, and all of us. We've been sitting back, watching the battle of these two giants, as a conclusion about whether or not the FBI should have a right to access encrypted data on someone's smartphone is reached. It seems like not a day can go by without an update to this interesting saga, and we've been keeping you informed throughout it all. Late last week, we saw an interesting twist: the FBI came out and said that if Apple doesn't want to help it out, or invest its own time to help the FBI accomplish its goal, then the company could simply hand over its source code. It's hugely unlikely that this would ever happen, and even if it did, there's no... Read more...
In the spirit of consumer privacy and security, Google is going to great effort to make surfing the web and using online services as safe and secure as possible. Encryption is key to that mission, and in its latest transparency report, Google revealed that over three-quarters (77 percent) of requests to its servers used encrypted connections. That's up from 52 percent at the end of 2013 and 65 percent around the same date a year ago, though that still leaves nearly a quarter (23 percent) of its traffic unencrypted. As Google is quick to point out, web encryption schemes like SSL or TLS help "protect against eavesdroppers, man-in-the-middle attacks, and hijackers who attempt to spoof a trusted... Read more...
There are no shortages of opinion on the dispute between Apple and the FBI and whether or not the former should be forced to assist the latter with bypassing the security measures of an iPhone 5c model that belonged to Syed Farook, one of the terrorists involved in the deadly San Bernardino shooting. Unfortunately, our founding fathers are no longer around to provide some insight of their own, but that's okay because Apple's taken the liberty of speaking for them. As far as Apple and its legal team is concerned, George Washington and the rest of the gang who worked on the committed to draft the Declaration of Independence "would be appalled" at the powers the U.S. government wields today. Furthermore,... Read more...
The very public (and heated) battle between the FBI and Apple over encryption has spilled out into the public and factions are beginning to take sides. The battle lines are clearly drawn with public opinion largely split and tech giants lining up to support Apple’s decision to not “hand over the [encryption] keys” the FBI. Given this very public spotlight on encryption, a new report claims that Google and Facebook are making efforts to further increase their encryption levels to protect user data and keep it out of the hands of nefarious parties and even law enforcement agencies. For its part, Google is reportedly showing a renewed interest in its End to End encrypted email platform. First announced... Read more...
The battle between Apple and the FBI over unlocking the iPhone 5c belonging to one of the San Bernardino mass shooters is getting nasty — really nasty. Although Apple and the U.S. Government are set to see each other in court on March 22nd, the two have been playing up their respective sides of the story to the public for weeks. But the FBI has upped the stakes in a 43-page brief penned by Eileen M. Decker, U.S. Attorney; Patricia A. Donahue, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief of the National Security Division; and Tracy L. Wilkison, Chief, Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. The brief levels numerous accusations against Apple in what the government sees as an effort by Apple to cloud... Read more...
Rather than work things out in private, the FBI has chosen to drag Apple through court and force its hand in providing technical assistance in cracking the security of an iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. There's been a lot of posturing on both sides, and with regards to the FBI, former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden says the agency is fully capable of unlocking the phone without Apple's help. Snowden is the latest high profile individual to offer up commentary in the feud between the FBI and Apple. He's also uniquely qualified to discuss what the FBI is and isn't capable of doing, as he was the one who leaked thousands of documents and data... Read more...
One thing you can count on when Apple is in the midst of a controversy is an opinion from Steve Wozniak, the outspoken tech guru who doesn't always side with the company he co-founded. Heck, if Apple toots in the wind, it's a good bet the Woz will have something to say about it. Surprisingly, he's been quiet about Apple's beef with the FBI over iPhone encryption, though he made his feelings known in an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show. Straight to the point, Wozniak is decidedly on Apple's side on this one. As one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group that seeks to protect civil liberties in the digital world, it's not surprising that... Read more...
It’s been an interesting few days for Amazon. The company came under fire late this week when it was revealed that Fire OS 5 removed device encryption from Fire tablets. Given the brouhaha surrounding encryption these days, Amazon’s decision was rather curious. The company confirmed the move in a statement yesterday, writing, “We removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren’t using.” Given the overwhelmingly negative reaction to disabling device encryption on its Fire tablets, it should come as no surprise that Amazon has quickly changed its tune. Without going into further detail, the company simply issues the following statement: We will return the option for full disk encryption... Read more...
Well, isn’t this an interesting turn of events? Just when Apple is fighting tooth and nail to protect encryption on the iPhone and prevent the FBI from using software tricks to bypass passcode protection, Amazon is giving up on encryption altogether on its Fire tablets. Before you dive in here, check out our recent Fire HD 10 review, though the device will unfortunately not have encryption support moving forward. So what exactly is Amazon’s reasoning for removing support for device encryption at a time when more and more companies are employing it to protect customer data? “In the fall when we released Fire OS 5, we removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren’t using,” said... Read more...
In the wake of Apple's fight with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over certain iPhone security features, French parliament officials voted to penalize smartphone makers that refuse to hand over encrypted data in cases involving terrorism. The legislation is being introduced as an amendment to a penal reform bill. This is not something that is favored by the government. Instead, it was drafted by rightwing opposition. Though it ultimately passed a vote in France's lower parliament, it must also pass subsequent votes in the National Assembly and Senate before it becomes law. That's going to be tough to do, considering the bill's harsh penalties. As currently drafted, a private company... Read more...
Apple has found itself in a bind dealing with the U.S. Government over its reluctance to unlock an iPhone involved in an FBI investigation. Luckily, it appears that Apple has made more friends than enemies over the years, as a group of high-profile tech companies have filed an amicus brief [PDF] in support of Apple. Some of Apple’s most fierce competitors have thrown in their support, with Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook leading the list of top tech companies who are listed in the brief. Other companies include Box, Cisco, Evernote, Mozilla, Nest Labs, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Yahoo. “At stake are fundamental questions about privacy, safety, and the rule of law,” writes... Read more...
The high profile dispute between the FBI and Apple is one that didn't have to play out in the public eye. Had the FBI gone to Apple right away with the iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, Apple could instructed the agency on the proper steps to obtaining the data kept inside, but the FBI made a mistake. FBI director James Comey admitted as much during a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday."There was a mistake made in the first 24 hours, where the county, at the FBI's request, made it hard to make the phone back up by [changing he password of] the iCloud account," Comey testified. His statement was an about-face from comments made prior to the hearing in which... Read more...
Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith is no fan of the FBI’s efforts to bypass encryption protocols in order to unlock smartphones. Smith’s thoughts on the matter were made even more clear today while speaking at the annual RSA Conference which is held in San Francisco, California. In fact, Smith offered his most blunt criticism of the FBI’s use the courts to get what it wants. “When it comes to security, there is no technology as important as encryption,” said Smith. “Despite the best of intentions, one thing is clear: The path to hell starts at the backdoor. We need to make sure encryption technology remains strong.” That is some pretty strong language, and further solidifies Microsoft’s... Read more...
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