Eddy Cue, Apple's head of services, has warned that if the FBI wins its case and can force Apple to produce custom software to help break into locked phones, there's nothing in principle that would stop it from seeking similar orders for custom firmware to remotely spy on users through their phones' cameras and microphones.
Security services around the world have already bought and used commercial products to do just that, but those products were produced by third parties who leveraged defects in devices' programs to install spyware. If the All Writs Act can compel the production of custom, signed software, then law enforcement could ask courts to order any custom functionality -- covert camera operation, location spying, plundering of storage at a distance.
What's more, if they can order Apple to do this, why not other companies with software-based devices? Nest could be ordered to turn off a customer's thermostat, or crank it to 110'. Chrysler could be ordered to update its Jeeps to reinstate the bug that lets Internet-based attackers drive cars off the road. HP could get orders to update its printers to send copies of all your documents to law enforcement. When you have field-updatable smart devices literally up your wazoo, the sky(net)'s the limit.
Cue said to Univision: “Someday they will want [Apple] to turn on [a user’s] camera or microphone. We can’t do that now, but what if we’re forced to do that?
“Where will this stop? In a divorce case? In an immigration case? In a tax case? Some day, someone will be able to turn on a phone’s microphone. That should not happen in this country.”
FBI could force us to turn on iPhone cameras and microphones, says Apple
[Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian]
(Image: HAL9000, Cryteria, CC-BY)
Investigative tech journalist Joseph Menn's (previously) next book is a history of the Cult of the Dead Cow (previously) the legendary hacker/prankster group that is considered to be "America's oldest hacking group."
Using software-defined radios, researchers from Trend Micro were able to reverse-engineer the commands used to control massive industrial machines, including cranes, excavators and scrapers; most of these commands were unencrypted, but even the encrypted systems were vulnerable to "replay attacks" that allowed the researchers to bypass the encryption.
"Letterlocking" is a term coined by MIT Libraries conservator Jana Dambrogio after she discovered a trove of letters while spelunking in the conservation lab of the Vatican Secret Archives; the letters had been ingeniously folded and sealed so that they couldn't be opened and re-closed without revealing that they had been read. Some even contained […]
Big companies want automation on a big scale. Doing that means diving into the tricky world of machine learning and data science. And no matter what platform you’ll be implementing it on, you can learn how with the Machine Learning & Data Science Certification Training Bundle. In 48 hours and through eight courses, this bundle […]
Big systems need tight security – and the experts who can implement it. Cisco Networking Systems are the go-to providers for network infrastructure, but maintaining it takes a lot of up-to-date knowledge. If you want that knowledge right from the source, there’s an online course that can get you certified painlessly: The Foundational Cisco CCNA […]
Computer slowing down? There are a ton of reasons why that might be, especially if your unit has a few years on it. Junk files and programs can accumulate over time, some even left over from otherwise uninstalled software. This virtual debris can slow your PC down dramatically, but there’s a surprisingly quick fix. Lauded […]