Apple brings back security expert Jon Callas following FBI dispute

JonCallas_CTO_SilentCircle

Apple this month brought back software engineer and top expert in practical cryptography Jon Callas, reports Reuters. The move follows Apple’s high-profile battle with the FBI, and amidst a growing war between governments and tech firms over encryption.

Callas worked at Apple in the ’90s, and again between 2009 and 2011, when he designed encryption to protect data stored on Mac computers. He rejoined the company in May, to help add more powerful security features to its wide range of consumer products…. Read the rest of this post here



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FBI director says debate over encryption is far from over, expects more litigation to come

Even though the FBI’s battle with Apple over the San Bernardino iPhone is essentially over, FBI director James Comey today explained that the case is just the beginning of litigation over accessing smartphones and other devices. As reported by Reuters, Comey explained that there will be more litigation between the FBI and manufacturers over accessing locked devices, noting that encryption is “essential tradecraft” of terrorist groups.

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Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, FBI, James Comey
Source: 9to5 Mac

Report: While no new data was found on the San Bernardino iPhone, it still helped the FBI

CNN today reports that while the FBI did not find anything new on the San Bernardino iPhone 5c that it unlocked without Apple’s help, it has “produced data the FBI didn’t have before.” Essentially, not finding anything new on the device is what the FBI needed to know in order to answer some of its remaining questions regarding the case.

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Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Encryption, FBI, iPhone, iPhone 5C, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac

Apple says it refused Chinese demand for iOS source code

Resized PasscodeTime

Apple declined to provide Chinese officials with access to iOS source code, General counsel Bruce Sewell said on Tuesday at a subcommittee hearing on encryption. “We have been asked by the Chinese government. We refused.”

Sewell said the request had come in the last two years, and noted several times that Apple has not cooperated with China on that level. Some lawmakers have questioned whether or not Apple has given the country special treatment…. Read the rest of this post here



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WaPo report claims Cellebrite not behind SB iPhone hack, FBI director says Apple ‘not a demon’

 

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Unnamed sources cited by the Washington Post contradict the widely-held belief that it was Israel-based mobile forensics company Cellebrite which helped the FBI hack into the locked San Bernardino iPhone. The report say that the agency was instead approached by a group of freelance hackers who revealed an iPhone passcode vulnerability to the FBI in return for a one-time fee.

The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter […]

The researchers, who typically keep a low profile, specialize in hunting for vulnerabilities in software and then in some cases selling them to the U.S. government. They were paid a one-time flat fee for the solution … 

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Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Cellebrite, FBI, iPhone, iPhone hack, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac

FBI confirms a tool it bought to unlock terrorist’s iPhone 5c does not work on iPhone 5s and newer

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James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of iPhones—that is, Investigation—confirmed in an interview with CNN yesterday that a tool that the agency had purchased from a third-party to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c cannot be used to bypass security protections on newer models, from the iPhone 5s onward.

This implies the tool relies on the fact that the iPhone 5c and earlier models lack hardware features like the Secure Enclave embedded in Apple’s mobile processors (from the iPhone 5s’s A7 chip and onward) which keeps encrypted sensitive information and stuff like the number of passcode attempts isolated from the rest of the system…. Read the rest of this post here



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FBI officially confirms hack it used does not work with the iPhone 5s or later iPhones

It has been widely speculated that the method used by the FBI to access the San Bernardino iPhone might not work with phones that have the Secure Enclave, and this has now been effectively confirmed. FBI director James Comey told CNN that the method doesn’t work with the latest iPhones.

The FBI director also said the purchased tool worked only on a “narrow slice of phones” that does not include the newest Apple models, or the 5S.

This fact also lends support to the main theory about how the hack was performed …

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Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: Apple vs FBI, Encryption, FBI, Security
Source: 9to5 Mac

White House withholds support from legislation that would compel Apple & others to crack encryption

The White House will not be supporting draft legislation that would allow courts to force tech companies like Apple to help law enforcement hack into encrypted devices, reports Reuters.

The Senate Intelligence Committee in February announced plans to impose criminal penalties on companies that fail to comply with court orders like the one challenged by Apple and finally withdrawn by the FBI. Remarks by President Obama last month appeared to suggest he would support the proposed legislation, but it now appears this isn’t the case …

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Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Encryption, FBI, Obama, President Obama, privacy, San Bernardino, White House
Source: 9to5 Mac

ACLU accuses FBI of gambling with cybersecurity as it fails to disclose iPhone hack details to Apple

The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the FBI of gambling with cybersecurity by failing to disclose to Apple the method used to access the San Bernardino iPhone, reports the WSJ.

Chris Soghoian, principal technologist at the ACLU, said the FBI is facing “a million-dollar question, and really what it comes down to is, does the FBI prioritize its own surveillance needs, or does it prioritize cybersecurity.’’

The longer the FBI keeps the security flaw to itself, he said, “the more they are gambling that no other entity will discover this flaw.’’ 

A former FBI official said that the agency’s decision on whether or not to reveal the method would likely depend on how many iPhone models it is able to unlock …

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Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: ACLU, Cellebrite, FBI, iPhone, iPhone hack, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac

FBI agrees to help Arkansas prosecutor unlock iPhone, iPod involved in homicide case

Days after the FBI announced that it had successfully unlocked the iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino gunmen last December without Apple’s help, the Associated Press now reports that the FBI has agreed to help unlock another iPhone and an iPod relating to a homicide case in Arkansas.

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Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, FBI, iPhone, iPod
Source: 9to5 Mac