In reports that have personally made me laugh out loud to the point of tears, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is very upset about Apple caring about their users’ security and privacy when it comes to their iPhones. For years it has been well known that Apple has made encryption enabled by default on all of their devices, and the FBI has simultaneously been waging a war on encryption, complaining that companies, including Apple, have made it so hard to break into phones even when they have a warrant.
On January 10, at the International Conference on Cyber Security in Manhattan, FBI forensic expert Stephen Flatley erupted in a rather toddler-like rage calling Apple “jerks” and “evil geniuses” for making the FBI’s work harder. Just as an example he offered, he said that they have slowed down the password guessing time as they have changed the hash iterations from 10,000 to 10,000,000 as he explained when it came to brute forcing, “Password attempts speed went from 45 passwords a second to one every 18 seconds.” He later added, “At what point is it just trying to one up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement?” He went on, “Apple is pretty good at evil genius stuff.”
He did praise the Israeli company Cellebrite which had sold devices and tech to law enforcement agencies. These comments coming a mere day after the FBI director, Christopher Wray, relaunched his predecessor’s “urgent public safety issue” war against encryption.
While we can understand the FBI’s frustration in being able to access the contents of devices for those it does legitimately have the legal backing to access with the possession of a warrant, the reason encryption is an ever increasing concern, is because it helps protect everyday users from both security breaches and authoritarian surveillance.
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