Apple encrypts information on our iPhones in such a way that even the F.B.I. struggles to get into iPhones owned by terrorists, criminals, hackers, and anyone else suspected of doing a bad deed before getting caught and convicted. Use a good, long, alphanumeric password on your iPhone and the spooks, government or otherwise, are barred from entry.
That’s the way I want it. It’s my iPhone, my information, my data, and, perhaps, my incriminating evidence, but I don’t want anyone to go on a fishing expedition because they suspect a wrongdoing. Thank you, Apple because a device that can be opened by the F.B.I. can be opened by anyone.
Just remember that there is a war going on and multiple battles between authorities and bad guys, and authorities and good guys. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai explains part of the struggle:
On Wednesday, at the the International Conference on Cyber Security in Manhattan, FBI forensic expert Stephen Flatley lashed out at Apple, calling the company “jerks,” and “evil geniuses” for making his and his colleagues’ investigative work harder. For example, Flatley complained that Apple recently made password guesses slower, changing the hash iterations from 10,000 to 10,000,000.
Look, I understand the sentiment that authorities must have regarding all these encrypted devices owned by mere citizens of the land. Bad guys are out there and many use iPhones. But encryption is sufficiently prevalent these days that if Apple took it away entirely, those bad guys would find another way, the F.B.I. and other authorities would be just as frustrated as they are now, and you and I would own devices with insufficient security.
Flatley on Apple’s most recent encryption changes:
Your crack time just went from two days to two months… At what point is it just trying to one up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement? Apple is pretty good at evil genius stuff.
Hubris much, Mr. Flatley? It’s probably not a good idea to call those encryption geniuses evil. If there is someone you don’t want to piss off it’s the very people who make what you want to crack, amirite?
Flatley repeatedly praised the israeli company Cellebrite, which sells hacking devices and technologies to law enforcement agencies around the world. Flatley said that they are the ones who can counter Apple’s security technology.
Then what’s the problem?
If there are tools on the black market or on any market or available somewhere else where actual evil geniuses live, work, and play– and they can be used to crack Apple’s encryption; perhaps later than sooner– then what’s the problem?
The problem should be obvious but is not. The encryption cat is out of the bag. The encryption toothpaste is out of the tube. You cannot put it back. Even if encryption is considered munitions– it was in the not-too-distant past, and was considered illegal for mere citizens to own– there are far too many tools in the wild to create encryption for the bad guys to use wherever and whenever they choose– encryption not easily unencrypted by authorities or good guys (they’re not the same).
If it takes tens of millions of dollars and quantum computing for authorities to figure out how to crack into my iPhone, fine. They can afford it. The encryption I use keeps everyone out who can’t afford it and that’s the way God intended. Otherwise, encryption would still be munitions, right? It’s not and it’s freely available and will always be– for good or evil.
But the F.B.I. should know better than to insult geniuses, evil or otherwise. It’s bad form, bad karma, and the end result will be even better encryption.
Sometimes, silence is golden.