Information Security News
by Sean Gallagher
Another former national security official has spoken out forcefully against the FBI's quest to get Apple to write code to unlock the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Farook. Richard Clarke served as the National Security Council's chief counter-terrorism advisor to three presidents (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush) before becoming George W. Bush's special advisor on cybersecurity. He told National Public Radio's David Greene today that "encryption and privacy are larger issues than fighting terrorism," taking issue with the FBI's attempts to compel Apple's assistance.
Clarke added that if he was still at the White House, he would have told FBI Director James Comey to "call Ft. Meade, and the NSA would have solved this problem…Every expert I know believes that NSA can crack this phone." But the FBI wasn't seeking that help, he said, because "they just want the precedent."
Clarke explained that the FBI was trying to get the courts to essentially compel speech from Apple with the All Writs Act. "This is a case where the federal government using a 1789 law trying to compel speech. What the FBI is trying to do is make code-writers at Apple, to make them write code that they do not want to write that will make their systems less secure," he said. "Compelling them to write code. And the courts have ruled in the past that computer code is speech."
The FBI's legal showdown with Apple over iPhone security has spilled into just about every facet of popular culture, from endless news coverage to Congressional hearings and even to comments from President Obama. On Sunday, it got treatment from comedian John Oliver, whose weekly HBO series Last Week Tonight does a better job than most news shows covering the important news stories of the day.
In an 18-minute segment, Oliver brought the stakes of the fight front and center and explained in some of the most concrete terms yet why—contrary to the repeated claims of the Obama administration—the outcome concerns the security of mobile data everywhere. Not only that, but Oliver kept the whole thing highly entertaining while steering clear of lionizing Apple.
Putting to rest the FBI's highly flawed analysis that the debate is about the security of a single iPhone belonging to slain San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, Oliver reminded his audience that law enforcement officers have a whole battery of other seized iPhones they also want unlocked. Compelling Apple engineers to develop a special version of iOS that bypasses safety features built in to Farook's phone, then, is only the beginning. Or as Oliver put it:
If we analyze the relations between the honeypots, sources and destinations, we see that some destinations (blue) were targeted bymore than one attacker (green) connected on differenthoneypots">About the web traffic, thetop destinations ">Xavier Mertens
ISC Handler - Freelance Security Consultant