#454 April 3, 2016 – FBI Hacks iPhones

This week’s headline story: FBI Hacks iPhones

fbiThe FBI has dropped its charges against Apple for its noncompliance in hacking into the data on the iPhone of the San Bernadino terrorist. Apparently, the FBI was successful in hacking the iPhone without Apple’s help. The news is a mixed blessing for Apple in that it lets the company off the hook in its battle with the FBI, but presents a public setback. Now consumers know that they can’t keep the government out of even an encrypted device that Apple claimed was impossible to crack. Apple, meanwhile, remains in the dark about how to restore the security of its flagship product.

The FBI is broadcasting its victory across the media. It has assured law enforcement across the United States that it will help unlock mobile devices such as iPhones involved in investigations when it is allowed by law and policy. It has already started taking cases. The FBI recently agreed to help prosecutors gain access to an iPhone 6 and an iPod that might hold evidence in an Arkansas murder trial.

In other news:

  • Drone Delivers Package to Residential Area [NewsFactor]
    A drone has successfully delivered a package to a residential location in a small Nevada town in what its maker and the governor of the state claim is the first fully autonomous urban drone delivery in the U.S. The six-rotor drone flew about a half-mile along a pre-programmed delivery route and lowered the package carrying bottled water, food and a first-aid kit, outside a vacant residence in an uninhabited area of Hawthorne, southeast of Reno. The route was established using GPS, and while pilot and visual observers were on standby during the flight, their assistance wasn’t needed.

in Information Security News…

  • Ransomware Crisis Worsens, FBI Solicits Help from All Sides [NewsFactor]
    The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is enlisting the help of businesses and software security experts in the fight against ransomware, the virus used by hackers to extort money from electronic device owners by holding their data hostage. A confidential advisory from the FBI focused on the ransomware known as MSIL/Samas that is meant to encrypt data on entire networks, an approach that is much more dangerous than typical ransomware directed at individual users.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Affordable Model 3 Is Tesla’s Biggest Test Yet [NewsFactor]
    Tesla’s Cheaper Model 3 Could Strain Charging Infrastructure [MIT Technology Review]
    Tesla seriously underestimated Model 3 demand [Engadget]
    Tesla unveiled its Model 3 electric car Thursday night at its Los Angeles design studio. At a starting price of $35,000 — before federal and state government incentives — the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla’s previous models. The car is expected to have a range of at least 200 miles when fully charged, about double what drivers get from competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3. The company hopes to sell a lot of them; the Model 3 is crucial to Tesla’s projection that it will sell 500,000 vehicles in 2020, almost 10 times the number it sold in 2015. But the company wasn’t prepared for the demand for the new model! Elon Musk revealed that his company expected “1/4 to 1/2” of the pre-orders it has received. While he’d expected lineups at Tesla stores, he figured that there would be “maybe 20-30 people” in queue at a given shop — not the hundreds that showed up at some places.


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