FBI forensic expert blasts Apple ‘jerks’ for encrypting iPhones

“Ever since Apple made encryption default on the iPhone, the FBI has been waging a war against encryption, complaining that cryptography so strong the company itself can’t break it makes it harder to catch criminals and terrorists,” Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai reports for Motherboard.

“On Wednesday, at the the International Conference on Cyber Security in Manhattan, FBI forensic expert Stephen Flatley lashed out at Apple, calling the company “jerks,” and “evil geniuses” for making his and his colleagues’ investigative work harder,” Franceschi-Bicchierai reports. “For example, Flatley complained that Apple recently made password guesses slower, changing the hash iterations from 10,000 to 10,000,000. That means, he explained, that ‘password attempts speed went from 45 passwords a second to one every 18 seconds.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Bwahahahahaha!

“‘At what point is it just trying to one up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement?’ he added. ‘Apple is pretty good at evil genius stuff,'” Franceschi-Bicchierai reports. “On the other hand, Flatley repeatedly praised the israeli company Cellebrite, which sells hacking devices and technologies to law enforcement agencies around the world. Flatley said that they are the ones who can counter Apple’s security technology.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: How soon until the government spooks play the Think of the Children™ card in their misguided quest to shred the Constitution?

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Only an entity as broken as the U.S. FBI would consider Apple to be any sort of geniuses, given Cupertino’s recent track record of shameful software security failures.

SEE ALSO:
FBI Director Wray calls inability to access electronic devices an ‘urgent public safety issue’ – January 9, 2018
Yet another macOS High Sierra bug: Unlock App Store system preferences with any password; another one Apple should have caught – January 10, 2018
Why are there so many macOS and iOS bugs? – December 5, 2017
Updating to latest macOS 10.13.1 disables Apple’s ‘root’ bug patch; you’ll need to reinstall Apple’s root security fix – December 2, 2017
Apple’s macOS High Sierra bug fix arrives with a new bug – here’s the fix – November 30, 2017
Apple on Mac flaw: ‘We apologize to all Mac users. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes.’ – November 29, 2017
Apple releases fix for macOS High Sierra administrator authentication bypass flaw – November 29, 2017
Tim Cook’s sloppy, unfocused Apple rushes to fix a major Mac security bug – November 29, 2017
What to do about Apple’s shameful Mac security flaw in macOS High Sierra – November 29, 2017

31 Comments

  1. That is what personal security and encryption is about, keeping personal and private information private. Yes there will be a certain percentage of people that could use those features for nefarious goals but for the majority security and encryption are safety features that safeguard the user.

    Obviously this is a threat to anyone who desired to circumvent of hack into that encryption, hence the FBI crying and whining like babies and leading on with the attacks on Apple instead of dealing with the issue straight on: encryption and personal security are getting really really good on devices, and it’s a good thing over all so deal with it.

    1. The FBI never had a decent codebreaking unit of its own. In its heyday, J. Edgar Hoover’s G-men were able to nab smugglers and Prohibition rum-runners, and thwart Nazi conspiracies to infiltrate South American governments, the better to invade the United States from the south — in both cases through the use of coded radio intercepts. But although they tried, they could not read those messages. For that they relied on the Treasury Department and later the Coast Guard, both times through the person of Elisabeth Friedman, who ran their codebreaking units. Until her story was recently told, using declassified documents and FOIA requests, Hoover and the FBI had taken all the credit for themselves.

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      1. Thank you for that lovely post about code breakers, I was not aware of those details though I have heard that the native indians were used as code talkers especially useful during the second world war.

        It’s interesting that you mention the coast guard, they are no running floating guatanamos in international waters where they pick up and detain suspected drug smugglers.

        They are not formally placed under arrest, rather detained, no Miranda rights, no lawyers, not allowed to contact their consulate or their families. Another example of your nation putting itself above the law, and away from any ethics or morality.

        Pirates and tortures on the high seas, totally inhumane and another betrayal for humanity from Benedict Arnold land. You can read more here.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/magazine/the-coast-guards-floating-guantanamos.html

      2. I agree absolutely with your point.

        During WW2, the Germans were using very sophisticated Enigma machines. With the interchangeable rotors, settings and plugboard, it offered 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 variations ( over 158 quintillion ). The Germans believed that it was impossible to defeat – and it seemed like a pretty reasonable assumption at the time.

        Obviously the Allies didn’t have the option of requiring Hitler to include a back door, so they had to find a way to beat it. A team of British and Polish mathematicians assembled at Bletchley Park and set about finding ways of decoding those messages. As messages had to be decoded quickly if they were to have any military value, they had to find ways of decoding them quickly and as part of that process, in 1943 they built Colossus, the world’s first programmable computer. It’s interesting to read more about Tommy Flowers, who invented it. Colossus initially started off as a skunkworks project at his employers, the British Post Office and partly financed it himself, because high ranking officers at Bletchley Park couldn’t see any point in his project and felt that he was “squandering good valves” ( vacuum tubes ) – the first one used 1,500 of them, subsequent ones used well over two thousand each. After the war, he approached the Bank of England in order to raise finance for commercial computers, but was turned down because they believed that such a device would never work. Because he was sworn to secrecy with regards to his work during the war, he was unable to tell them that it really did work, that he had already built a dozen of them, had been using them 24/7 for a couple of years and they had a massive effect on the outcome of the war.

        The point I’m making is that it was vital to overcome this incredibly sophisticated encryption and enormous resources were deployed to make it possible at a time when all resources were under extreme pressure. If the FBI want to defeat encryption in modern devices, then they need to devote massive resources to find a way to counter these forms of encryption. The problem with legislating for a back door is that once somebody leaks that golden key, the entire system falls apart. A solution requiring a massive operation which is only affordable by a large government cannot easily be replicated by unauthorised individuals.

        1. It’s a lovely way to start the day reading something intelligent and well put together thank you.

          I share similar sentiments though I think with the advances of forensic science and the incredible surveillance capacities provide viable alternative when dealing with criminal cases. Having the ability to decrypt an iPhone does have certain advantages but I feel that those advantages are not worth the risk of abuse.

          Plus it’s the stuff of science fiction, a device that for all intent and purpose cannot be decrypted by anyone but the user. The future looks exciting.

          Thanks again for your post, I enjoyed reading about Colossus.

          1. Bletchley Park is now open as a code breaking museum and they have many machines and artefacts from that era with some very impressive working demonstrations. In the adjacent building is a rebuilt and working version of Colossus. It’s a fabulous place to visit and highly recommended.

            I was fascinated when I started reading more about Tommy Flowers. He was very much in the Steve Jobs mould, but was Wozniac as well. He was something of a rebel, with a very clear vision and the imagination and drive to push technology to the limits. The reason why he was so certain that valves would be able to form the basis of a computer was because before the war he had been working on using valves as the basis of an electronic telephone exchange. Unfortunately he didn’t receive much reward for his war effort, either financial or fame because out was done in wartime and the work remained classified for decades afterwards.

            I used to live near a woman who was one of the ‘Bletchley girls’. She was sworn to secrecy by an officer who dramatically placed a revolver on his desk when explaining just how highly secret her work was going to be – she was absolutely terrified and wondered whatever she had got herself into. She married soon after the war, but It wasn’t until the mid 1980’s before she felt that she should tell her husband what she had done during the war and she only told him then because people were starting to write books about Bletchley and she felt that it was now in the public domain. Many Bletchley girls went to their graves without ever telling their husbands or closest family what they did and it was only after they died that family members discovered their names in on-line articles or in books.

            1. A wonderful follow up, and I know the trials of secrecy that people had to go under. My late father, a WWII vet went to work after the war on the NORAD installations.

              He told me a lot of war stories but was mum on what exactly he was doing in the Arctic. It was only years after his death that I found out exactly what he was doing.

              Certainly have to give credit to those who gave so much, including their silence.

              On another note, your comment about Colossus reminded me of a movie that scared me as a kid, Colossus the Forbin Project. I guess the modern day version would be something like the terminator series.

              Again thank you, it’s people like you that make this site really worthwhile.

    1. …and every single democrat too. Don’t forget those losers.

      It’s a two party system with crooks on both sides. Don’t forget that little fact.

  2. I remember the time when the US government had the best of the best working for them. If you wanted to say something was the most advance technology you said “NASA have it”, if you wanted to say a killer was very dangerous you used to say “Not even the FBI could find it”.
    Now the best of the best are in the prive industries, NASA out sources everything and the FBI is a joke focus on political persecutions only. #MAGA

  3. The gov’t encrypts their messages so others can’t read, or get into, them, for “security reasons”, but blasts Apple for allowing private individuals have the same security. Do they have a back door on their programs?

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