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NSA Could Hack the iPhone without Apple; and FBI Stance Will Backfire to make Even Tighter Security


Editor in Chief
Jul 27, 2011
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The latest drama surrounding the FBI vs Apple case regarding the San Bernardino iPhone is heating up with two different developments. The first news comes from Richard Clarke, who was the National Security Council’s chief counter-terrorism advisor to three presidents, including George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Clarke has made the claim that the National Security Agency (NSA) could hack into the San Bernardino iPhone if the FBI would ask them to.

Clarke asserts that the only reason the FBI is pursuing this case is to set a legal precedent which would give them broader authority to require hacking information during investigations in the future. Here's a quote from Clarke with more of the details, "What the FBI and the Justice Department are trying to do is to make code writers at Apple – to make them write code that they do not want to write that will make their systems less secure."

Clarke also shared that a large list of intelligence officials agree with Apple on the issue. This includes the secretary of defense, "the National Security Agency director and three past National Security Agency directors, a former CIA director, [and] a former Homeland Security secretary."

Furthermore, Clarke added that every expert he knows “believes that NSA could crack this phone.” He claims that he “would have simply told the FBI to call Fort Meade, the headquarters of the National Security Agency, and NSA would have solved this problem for them.”

Clarke's final claim is that the FBI and DOJ have no interest in actually solving the problem. He believes their main goal is to set a "legal precedent,” so the government can “compel a computer device manufacturer to allow the government in.”

The second part of this news has been floating around the web for a while now, since the brouhaha began. Apple has indicated that they will now get to work on a version of iOS that is even more secure than the last one. Their intention is to create an "unhackable" iPhone.

That's not all though. Several major tech companies which have supported Apple's position will be working on greater security for their products and services as well. This includes companies like Google, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp and several other companies, who have all made it clear that they are now working on making their apps more secure, and this action is a direct result of the FBI’s actions against Apple.

Basically, by taking this draconian approach to the situation, the FBI and the Department of Justice have created their own worst nightmare in which they have alienated most of the world's major tech companies. These companies are now doubling down on technology security which will make the FBI's job even harder in the future.

Source: NPR
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Staff member
Sep 24, 2012
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Regina, Canada
The FBI has to learn that this is not Hogwarts and there are no magic wands to wave around.


Active Member
Jan 1, 2013
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I've got to really wonder if the NSA can break AES-256 algo? Snowden has spoken many times about this case, and at no point did he mention NSA could break the iPhone crypto which is AES-256.

It's been proven there are a few weakness in AES-256 algo, but not serious to make the algo useless.

The government really fell behind in crypto after the failed Clipper Chip, not seeing how or who would be using it in the future and the strength would only increase. It's like they thought everyone would continue to use crackable encryption like DES-56. With around $5,000 in computer equipment, you too could crack DES-56, but there are not enough computers world wide (and electricity) to crack a 256 bit algo like AES-256.

Some of the crypto technology we have in iOS 8/9 comes from the 70's! MIT made one of the greatest discoveries that was supposed to be impossible in asymmetrical crypto - public keys, private keys, seed keys, shadow keys....

Encryption is so fun!

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