Items tagged with Encryption

Later this afternoon Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell will stand before the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee and present his argument for Apple's unwillingness to help the FBI break into the now infamous iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. What he's going to say isn't a mystery. This will be Apple's first appearance before Congress since it was ordered to provide technical assistance to the FBI in thwarting its own security measures. Sewell will likely face a lot of scrutiny for Apple's decision, as he'll be joined by a number of ranking officials who have sided with the FBI in this ongoing dispute. One of them is the FBI director himself, James... Read more...
Apple has the U.S. Government breathing down its neck with regards to unlocking an iPhone 5S tied to a San Bernardino terrorist. In that particular case, the FBI is playing off themes of national security and threats of terrorism to win the support of the American public in its fight against Apple. However, Apple today scored an early victory against the FBI in a lower-profile New York case that similarly revolves around forcing the company to crack into an iPhone that is passcode-locked. U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein ruled that the FBI’s use of the 1789 All Writs Act (AWA) was a vast overreach by the government, and one that is likely unconstitutional. In the 50-page ruling, Orenstein... Read more...
A number of companies quickly came to Apple’s defense when the FBI sent its attack dogs to force the company to provide access to a passcode-locked iPhone 5c. Those tech giants included Google, Facebook and Twitter, but conspicuously missing was Microsoft. Sure, we heard from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, but his commentary was far from a ringing endorsement for Apple’s actions. Today, however, we’re getting a more full-throated response from Microsoft, and the Redmond, Washington-based company is “wholeheartedly” throwing its full support behind Apple. “We at Microsoft support Apple and will be filing an amicus brief next week,” said Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.... Read more...
Apple is under immense pressure to cave in and give into the requests of the FBI when it comes to unlocking one iPhone 5c that is tied to a ruthless terrorist. The FBI’s initial demands of Apple fell on deaf ears, so a court order was issued for Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to aid in unlocking the device. Apple countered that doing so would only put more of its customers at risk and set a dangerous precedent for future cases. So what is a company like Apple to do when it’s tasked with going toe-to-toe with all the legal might of the U.S. Government in a case that shows Apple on the wrong side of public opinion? If you’re Tim Cook, you double down on iPhone security. A new... Read more...
Apple finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place while the world watches to see how it wriggles out. Not that Apple is in any way hiding from the public—in a recent television interview with ABC News, Tim Cook offered some expanded thoughts on why he's not willing to comply with a court order to assist the FBI with breaking into an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. The overarching fear is that creating a backdoor into a secured iPhone would set a dangerous precedent, one that could later be abused. Cook is adamant that such a thing would put hundreds of millions of iPhone users at risk, both abroad and here in the U.S. He even went so far as to say that the necessary... Read more...
There’s a new voice speaking up in the battle between FBI and Apple over unlocking an iPhone that belonged to one of two San Bernardino terrorists that killed over a dozen people back in December. While tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google quickly came to Apple’s defense, a tech pioneer is striking a different tone in the increasingly thorny discussion. In a report posted yesterday entitled “Bill Gates Backs FBI iPhone Hack Request,” Gates is on camera expressing his opinion on the matter, which doesn’t exactly mesh with the thoughts and wishes of Apple CEO Tim Cook. Gates says that this case doesn’t involve anything close to what could be considered a backdoor, adding, “This is... Read more...
Apple is currently fighting a court order to provide the FBI with technical assistance in thwarting the security and encryption schemes of an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. The company's fear is that building a so-called backdoor into the iPhone would compromise the security of all iOS devices, though the FBI contends this would be a one-off thing. Turns out it wouldn't be. Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal says the U.S. Justice Department is in the process of obtaining court orders that would force Apple to pluck data from about a dozen different iPhone devices around the country. Just as with the San Bernardino iPhone, the Justice Department... Read more...
It seems like everyone and their uncle has an opinion or proposed solution on the iPhone encryption debate that has Apple at odds with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Apple's stance is that complying with the court order to essentially push out a security-breaking update to the iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters would set a dangerous legal precedent that puts the security and privacy of all iPhone owners at risk. As you might imagine, the FBI feels a bit differently, and now its director is appealing to the public's emotional side.In an op-ed piece posted to Lawfare, a blog devoted to "that nebulous zone in which actions taken or contemplated to protect the... Read more...
Apple is coming under fire for its refusal to comply with an FBI request to unlock an iPhone 5c used by one of two terrorists in December’s San Bernardino mass shooting. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ruled earlier this week that Apple must provide “reasonable technical assistance” in helping the FBI bypass security measures to unlock the iPhone, but Apple isn’t budging. “[They have] asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in an open letter to customers. “They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone [which would circumvent] several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during... Read more...
It's not often that people feel compelled to side with Google on the topic of privacy, but the company's newest CEO, Sundar Pinchai, gives us a great reason to. As Brandon covered in great detail yesterday, Apple has been ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym to provide the FBI access to an iPhone 5c that was used by the terrorists in December's San Bernardino shootings - but, there are a couple of problems with that. Apple insists that the backdoor the U.S. government wants doesn't exist, and CEO Tim Cook rages against the idea that his company should build one for any of its products. If you want to know why he feels this way, he sums it up perfectly with the following statement: People... Read more...
It seems as though everyone has an opinion on Apple’s decision not to comply with the FBI’s request to unlock the iPhone 5c used by terrorists in December’s San Bernardino mass shooting. The noise surrounding the topic became louder when U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple to offer “reasonable technical assistance” to the FBI in unlocking device. The noise became deafening when Apple CEO Tim Cook fired back this morning, charging that the U.S. Government was overreaching. Never one to miss an opportunity to make his opinion known for all to hear, Donald Trump has spoken up on Apple’s decision to put up a blockade against the U.S. Government. In an interview this morning for Fox News’... Read more...
We can’t say that we didn’t see this one coming — an encryption showdown between Apple and the federal government. Apple has been adamant about batting down court orders to decrypt data on iPhones in order to assist criminal investigations, in an effort to generally protect user privacy. In turn, the FBI and other agencies have repeatedly criticized Apple for its stonewalling. Last week, FBI Director James Comey lamented the fact that his elite team of hackers still hadn’t been able to access the data on the smartphone belonging to the San Bernardino gunman that killed 14 people in early December. "It's been over two months now. We are still working on it,” said Comey last week before the Senate... Read more...
It's easier than ever to protect data online and elsewhere. Encryption is ubiquitous and while it's impossible to insure that your data well-secured from the likes of the government, there's no excuse for not taking important steps to increase your own personal protection as much as possible. That latter is especially true when you consider the fact that the FBI has a seemingly unlimited amount of resources to "counter the threat" of encryption. Humorously, many people who use encryption aim to "counter the threat" of the FBI or other government agencies. And according to the agency's 2017 budget request, the FBI is seeking another $38.3 million (on top of $31 million already appropriated) to... Read more...
If you thought that United States intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the country were incredibly adamant about spying on its citizens (going to extreme lengths to do so), you haven’t seen anything yet. Across the pond, the Campaigners Privacy International filed a formal complaint against the UK’s GCHQ, levying claims that the agency’s efforts to hack the devices of ordinary citizens was unlawful. However, not only did the GCHQ acknowledge that it was involved in a widespread hacking campaign (reversing previous denials on the matter), but the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) actually condoned the actions, which it calls Computer Network Exploitation (CNE), and deemed them lawful.... Read more...
The U.S. Government isn’t too happy about efforts by Silicon Valley to enable device encryption, which keeps user data protected and out of the reach of law enforcement agencies. FBI Director James Comey abhors smartphone encryption, and has come out against it on numerous occasions. “The notion that people have devices, again, that with court orders, based on a showing of probable cause in a case involving kidnapping or child exploitation or terrorism, we could never open that phone? My sense is that we've gone too far when we've gone there,” said Comey in 2014. “As a country, I don't know why we would want to put people beyond the law.” If you ask AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson about the issue,... Read more...
A little over a week ago, officials from the Obama administration met with some of the biggest names in tech, including senior executives from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo. Administration officials in attendance included Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Although the meeting was primarily focused on “[Cyber] efforts to counter radicalization” and to “Make it harder for terrorists to use the Internet” to coordinate attacks, the controversial topic of device encryption was also on the docket, which was mandated by Comey (otherwise, he wasn’t going to be in... Read more...
Legislatures in New York have drafted a bill that, if passed, would require Apple and other smartphone makers to provide backdoors to encrypted handsets for law enforcement officials or otherwise eliminate encryption altogether. Failure to do so would result in a $2,500 fine per device, a sum that would quickly add up. Apple and Google have been at the forefront of the encryption debate in favor of user privacy. New iPhone and most new Android devices come encrypted without any easy means of decrypting data without a key. Even if summoned by law enforcement to unlock a device, Apple and Google claim they have no way of doing so since encryption keys are stored locally and not on their servers,... Read more...
Apple is fighting hard to have shoot down a proposed UK law that would require tech firms to work hand-in-hand with government agencies to break encryption and provide easy access to customer data under court order. “We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat,” said Apple in a complaint filed against the Investigatory Powers Bill. For all its efforts to stop efforts in the UK to break down encryption walls and bend over for law enforcement, a new Chinese law looks to simply steamroll tech companies. Under the guise of counter-terrorism, the Chinese government has passed a law... Read more...
The debate over smartphone encryption is a contentious on these days in tech circles. On one side, you have companies like Apple and Google which employ full device encryption to secure user data and keep it out of prying eyes — even if those eyes belong to law enforcement. On the other side, you have politicians in Washington along with various city, state, and federal level enforcement agencies clamoring to get their hands on secret backdoors to defeat encryption (and criminals, and terrorists… so they say). Apple has been one of the strongest proponents of device encryption and has fought against subpoenas that would force its hand in divulging customer data. Apple CEO Tim Cook doubled down... Read more...
The tensions between device makers like Apple and Google against law enforcement shows no signs of slowing down. As you may recall, the U.S. government is hell-bent on forcing Apple to unlock encrypted iPhone that are involved in criminal cases. Apple contends that the encryption that it provides on iPhones via the iOS operating system is meant to safeguard user data first and foremost, and that giving law enforcement the ability to snoop through private data sets a dangerous precedent. Comments made by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein this week bolster Apple’s position, and throw cold water on the U.S. government’s wishes to steamroll tech companies. Judge Orenstein took the somewhat unorthodox... Read more...
It looks as though tech firms have gotten a reprieve on forcefully decrypting data at the behest of law enforcement officials; at least for now. FBI Director James Comey, who has been an outspoken voice against tech companies that have implemented system wide encryption for their mobile operating systems, delivered the welcome news while testifying at a Senate hearing before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “The administration has decided not to seek a legislative remedy now, but it makes sense to continue the conversations with [the] industry.” Those comments were echoed by, National Security Council spokesman Mark Stroh, who stated, “As part of those efforts, we are... Read more...
Mere days after it was revealed that crowdfunding website Patreon had been breached, the entire collection of stolen digital goods has been posted online. Making this leak even more severe than typical ones is that not only is user account information included, but so too is some site source code (or potentially all of it), as well as private messages. If the encrypted information can be cracked, that could result in the revealing of social security numbers and tax IDs. Patreon is a website where "patrons" are able to support their favorite content creators with a monthly subscription. Based on what was leaked in this dump, there were at least 2.3 million accounts, and if... Read more...
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