Pew Research Center Poll: 51% Say Apple Should Unlock iPhone →

February 23, 2016 · 01:45

Pew Research Center:

As the standoff between the Department of Justice and Apple Inc. continues over an iPhone used by one of the suspects in the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, 51% say Apple should unlock the iPhone to assist the ongoing FBI investigation. Fewer Americans (38%) say Apple should not unlock the phone to ensure the security of its other users’ information; 11% do not offer an opinion on the question.

I strongly believe that many of these people would change their mind if they knew more about the subject, and the potential consequences.

Among those who personally own an iPhone, views are about evenly divided: 47% say Apple should comply with the FBI demand to unlock the phone, while 43% say they should not do this out of concern it could compromise the security of other users’ information.

Among those who own a model of smartphone other than the iPhone, 53% say Apple should unlock the phone, compared with 38% who say they should not.

That second part is not surprising to me.

Pair-Lock Your Device With Apple’s Configurator to Effectively
Disable Every Logical Forensics Tool on the Market →

February 23, 2016 · 01:05

Jonathan Zdziarski:

This article is a brief how-to on using Apple’s Configurator utility to lock your device down so that no other devices can pair with it, even if you leave your device unlocked, or are compelled into unlocking it yourself with a passcode or a fingerprint. By pair-locking your device, you’re effectively disabling every logical forensics tool on the market by preventing it from talking to your iOS device, at least without first being able to undo this lock with pairing records from your desktop machine. This is a great technique for protecting your device from nosy coworkers, or cops in some states that have started grabbing your call history at traffic stops.

How the FBI Fumbled the Ball →

February 20, 2016 · 23:52

John Paczkowski:

The Apple ID password linked to the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists was changed less than 24 hours after the government took possession of the device, senior Apple executives said Friday. If that hadn’t happened, Apple said, a backup of the information the government was seeking may have been accessible.

The FBI has claimed that the password was changed by someone at the San Bernardino Health Department. Friday night, however, things took a further turn when the San Bernardino County’s official Twitter account stated, “The County was working cooperatively with the FBI when it reset the iCloud password at the FBI’s request.”

This is either ridiculous or planned. I’m thinking they should know what they’re doing, so the latter seems a better fit. Especially since the iPhone in question has probably little to no relevant information.

A $4 iPhone Smartphone Just Launched in India →

February 20, 2016 · 21:23

Pranav Dixit for the Hindustan Times:

Most built-in app icons on the Freedom 251 are a direct copy of icons on Apple’s iPhone. Take a look at the screenshot below for a side-by-side comparison of the icons on the Freedom 251 and the iPhone. Even the web browser app is a rip-off of Apple’s Safari browser that only exists on iPhones, iPads, and the Mac.

Oh, sorry! It’s not an iPhone after all — those icons had me completely fooled.

The FBI Is Going All in →

February 20, 2016 · 03:26

Katie Benner and Nicole Perlroth:

Apple had asked the F.B.I. to issue its application for the tool under seal. But the government made it public, prompting Mr. Cook to go into bunker mode to draft a response, according to people privy to the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The result was the letter that Mr. Cook signed on Tuesday, where he argued that it set a “dangerous precedent” for a company to be forced to build tools for the government that weaken security.

Like I said a few days ago, the FBI most probably doesn’t care about Farook’s phone. They’re all in for getting access to all iPhones.

Shine Partnering With Three to Block Ads for Mobile Web →

February 20, 2016 · 03:13

Maureen Morrison:

Israeli ad blocking company Shine is partnering with European carrier Three Group to offer blocking of display ads on the mobile web and in apps. Shine’s technology works by blocking ads at the network level.

The effort will begin with Three’s service in Italy and the U.K., then be rolled out across all of Three Group in Europe, which includes Austria, Denmark and Sweden. In total, Shine said that 30 million subscribers will be able to use the technology to block ads.

As a user I think this is great. As a publisher, not so much. I do however realise that news sites need readers more than readers need news sites. Some online publications are already blocking users using ad-blockers, and while I understand their point of view, I use an ad-blocker myself, but for security reasons. And if I hit a message denying me access to that particular site, I’ll go elsewhere.

Nobody Apart From the FBI Has Ever Asked This of Apple →

February 20, 2016 · 03:03

Matthew Panzarino:

The Apple executive also noted that no other government in the world — including China — has ever asked it to perform the kind of iPhone cracking that the FBI is asking it to do. But, if it were to comply, those requests would surely not be far behind.

This is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. I am starting to wonder if the US will not actually make ‘unbreakable’ encryption illegal, to solve all their headaches.

Compromising Apple →

February 20, 2016 · 02:56

Jonathan Zdziarski:

Not only is Apple being ordered to compromise their own devices; they’re being ordered to give that golden key to the government, in a very roundabout sneaky way. What FBI has requested will inevitably force Apple’s methods out into the open, where they can be ingested by government agencies looking to do the same thing. They will also be exposed to private forensics companies, who are notorious for reverse engineering and stealing other people’s intellectual property. Should Apple comply in providing a tool, it will inevitably end up abused and in the wrong hands.

Johny Srouji — One of Apple’s Most Important Executives →

February 19, 2016 · 02:10

Brad Stone, Adam Satariano, and Gwen Ackerman for Bloomberg:

He also stepped into the kind of spotlight he’s avoided since joining Apple in 2008. Srouji runs what is probably the most important and least understood division inside the world’s most profitable company. Since 2010, when his team produced the A4 chip for the original iPad, Apple has immersed itself in the costly and complex science of silicon. It develops specialized microprocessors as a way to distinguish its products from the competition. The Apple-designed circuits allow the company to customize products to perfectly match the features of its software, while tightly controlling the critical trade-off between speed and battery consumption. Among the components on its chip (technically called a “system on a chip,” or SOC) are an image signal processor and a storage controller, which let Apple tailor useful functions for taking and storing photos, such as the rapid-fire “burst mode” introduced with the iPhone 5s. Engineers and designers can work on features like that years in advance without prematurely notifying vendors—especially Samsung, which manufactures many of Apple’s chips.

At the center of all this is Srouji, 51, an Israeli who joined Apple after jobs at Intel and IBM. He’s compact, he’s intense, and he speaks Arabic, Hebrew, and French. His English is lightly accented and, when the subject has anything to do with Apple, nonspecific bordering on koanlike. “Hard is good. Easy is a waste of time,” he says when asked about increasingly thin iPhone designs. “The chip architects at Apple are artists, the engineers are wizards,” he answers another question. He’ll elaborate a bit when the topic is general. “When designers say, ‘This is hard,’ ” he says, “my rule of thumb is if it’s not gated by physics, that means it’s hard but doable.”

The A-series chips are probably Apple’s most important components (or products, depending on how you look at them), without which the iPhone and iPad wouldn’t be what they are today.

‘Go Away’ →

February 18, 2016 · 02:20

Matthew Panzarino:

If I had to bet, Apple is probably working double time to lock it down even tighter. Its reply to the next order of this type is likely to be two words long. You pick the two.

Despite my being delicate in the title, I assume that Panzer had two entirely different words in mind.

Speculation on Whether the Secure Enclave Is Secure →

February 18, 2016 · 02:17

Dan Guido :

I initially speculated that the private data stored within the SE was erased on update but I now believe this is not true. After all, Apple has updated the SE with increased delays between passcode attempts and no phones were wiped. In all honestly, only Apple knows the exact details.

A lot of ideas have been thrown out there over the past few hours. I wonder what the next few will bring — this is all extremely interesting.

FBI and/or Government Vehicles Reported at Apple HQ →

February 17, 2016 · 23:29

Berkeleynerd on Hacker News:

A friend of mine at Apple reported multiple Black Vehicles (Lincoln Town Cars and Escalades) with at least one having MD License Plates at the Apple Executive Briefing Center this morning between 11AM and Noon. Occupants had ear pieces and sun glasses and were accompanied by a CHP (California Highway Patrol) cruiser and three motorcycle escorts.

Tim Cook’s Letter to Apple’s Customers on the Subject of the FBI →

February 17, 2016 · 22:25

Tim Cook:

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. 

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

The FBI has been working on Apple to give them access to iPhones for a long time now, and now it appears that they’re using the tragic death of the victims of the San Bernardino attack as a way to force Apple’s hand. Public opinion is a strong weapon, especially if they can get the people behind them.

I’m happy to see Tim and Apple fighting this.