Author Gary Hibberd
Do you own an iPhone? Oh dear! Have you heard? Those men in black, the FBI want Apple to put in a back door and steal everything from you!!!
Ok, that’s not strictly true… But if you read FaceBook today chances are that’s what you’ve heard. But what’s really going on here?
What do the FBI want?
At the start of February Apple were contacted by the FBI and requested to assist them in the ongoing investigation of the act of terrorism carried out in December 2015, during the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California where 14 people lost their lives.
Essentially the FBI can’t ‘unlock’ the phone used by one of the terrorists (Syed Rizwan Farook) who was killed in the shoot-out following the attack. The FBI therefore need some assistance from Apple.
According to Apple, the FBI want them to create a ‘back door’ into their operating system that could have ‘far reaching implications for security’. The back-door is essentially customised software that will prevent the data on the phone from being deleted after 10 attempts to input the passcode. They also need the software to allow agents to send electronic passcodes to the phone, rather than manually typing them in. This would generally be considered a ‘brute-force’ attack.
What’s the problem?
Depending upon your point of view (or political stance) you may not see this as a problem, or you may see this as further steps towards the ‘Datavalence’ society we’re increasingly living in. But personally I see the problem in the assertions by those in favour of helping the FBI that this is only to help in this single case.
Unfortunately it’s a simple fact of life that once this capability has been created, it will become almost impossible to keep under-wraps and before even the FBI could blink –it will be a vulnerability that has escaped into cyber-space and will be available to those with more nefarious and darker intentions. Am I being too skeptical? Consider ‘The Onion Router’ (‘Tor’) Network which was created for use by the US Navy to enable anonymous communications, which is now the browser of choice used by kids, hackers, scammers, criminals, terrorists and the general public.
Only time will tell. Apple have been ordered by a federal judge to assist the FBI so expect some interesting court cases taking place over the coming months. It will be interesting to see how many FaceBook timelines will be filled with news of the court cases in months to come. I suspect there won’t be many.
Those in ‘Silicon valley’ will be watching this story closely as it will draw a very clear line of where cyber security ends and national security begins. Time will tell, but I, like the FBI will be watching closely.
Agenci Information Security is responsible for protecting businesses from cyber threats, cyber-attack, internal threats and business outages. Agenci Information Security ensures clients systems are secure and provide peace of mind through a range of proven specialist information security solutions.
Speak to a member of the team now on
03455 760 999
We would love to help you, ask for Gary: