#450 March 7, 2016 – Apple vs. the FBI Week 3

This week’s headline story: Apple vs. the FBI – Week 3

U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch
U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch

The government’s battle with Apple over encryption dominated one of the world’s largest cybersecurity conferences last week as top Obama administration officials and Silicon Valley executives argued about how to balance privacy and security. “Do we let one company, no matter how great the company, no matter how beautiful their devices, decide this issue for all of us?” U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch asked. But tech company officials said giving the FBI tools to create a so-called backdoor to encryption would weaken security on millions of smartphones and other devices. “Despite the best intentions, the path to hell starts at the backdoor,” said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft. “We need to make sure that encryption technology remains strong.”

The United Nations has added its voice to the chorus of organizations calling for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to back down from its efforts to force Apple to unlock the iPhone of a terror suspect. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, said that the FBI’s actions could open up a “Pandora’s box” of unintended consequences, including endangering the lives and well-being of millions of people.

United Nations Condemns FBI’s iPhone Hack Order [NewsFactor]

Other Headline News…

  • Facebook Executive Released from Jail in Brazil [NewsFactor]
    Meanwhile in Brazil, a similar drama played out, where a Facebook executive was detained for refusing to give law enforcement information about users of the WhatsApp message service. WhatApp, which is owned by Facebook, is an encrypted messaging app in which only the sender and recipient can access the content of messages. Facebook’s most senior representative in Latin America, Diego Dzodan was jailed after a Brazilian judge issued an arrest warrant accusing him of repeatedly failing to comply with a judicial order to cooperate with an investigation into drug trafficking and organized crime. The company has incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, while it insists it doesn’t have the information requested.
  • Amazon Drops Device Encryption on Fire OS 5 [NewsFactor]
    While most of the big tech companies have joined to fight the FBI in support of encryption, Amazon decided to drop encryption from its mobile devices running Fire OS 5. Amazon’s decision is being widely criticized, but the company has noted in the past that the feature can cause slower performance on devices. With all the backlash, Amazon realized its encryption decision wasn’t a good one. Late Friday, an Amazon spokesperson stated that encryption will be added back to Fire OS 5 as an option soon.

in Information Security News…

  • First Mac-targeting ransomware hits Transmission users, researchers say [ArsTechnica]
    A security research firm has announced its discovery of what is believed to be the world’s first ransomware that specifically goes after OS X machines. Ransomware has become the most popular criminal business model, but has so far been directed only at Windows machines. This new ransomware named, The KeRanger, imposes a 72-hour lockout window on Mac users unless they pay 1 bitcoin equal to $410 as of this writing. KeyRanger is deployed via a rogue version of the popular BitTorrent client, Transmission, and is a threat only to users of that software.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Cake AR platform puts virtual makeup on your face in real time [Engadget]
    A new augmented reality app allows online shoppers to virtually try on makeup. You don’t have to upload a photo, or download a plugin. It uses your webcam, HTML5 and Javascript to let you try on virtual makeup in real time right on your browser. Cargo Cosmetics has already activated the feature on its lipstick and eyeshadow pages, which you can play with right now.
  • Email inventor Ray Tomlinson dies [Engadget]
    It’s a sad day for the Internet: Ray Tomlinson, widely credited with inventing email as we know it, has died from a suspected heart attack at 74. In some ways, Tomlinson also changed language itself. His choice of the @ symbol for email addresses popularized the character, making it synonymous with all things internet.

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