Proposed California State Assembly Bill could work against smartphone encryption

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 11th, 2016, 07:22
Category: Android, Google, iPhone, News, security, Software

iphoneunlock

For California smartphone users, this hits pretty close to home.

Assembly Bill 1681, a California State Assembly bill, would ban default encryption on all smartphones. The bill, introduced in January by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, would require any smartphone sold in California “to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” This could be even more drastic than what’s going on with Apple’s legal showdown in the San Bernadino iPhone unlocking case.

Both Apple and Google currently encrypt smartphones running their iOS and Android operating systems by default. A.B. 1681 would undo this default, penalizing manufacturers and providers of operating systems $2,500 per device that cannot be decrypted at the time of sale.

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Hardware hack for San Bernadino iPhone 5c possible but risky

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 10th, 2016, 07:49
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, security

lockediphone5c

The data onboard the iPhone 5c at the heart of the decryption/unlocking scandal could be accessible via a hardware technique.

This hardware technique, apparently, isn’t for the faint of heart.

In recent days, the American Civil Liberties Union’s technology fellow and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have suggested a method that would let investigators repeatedly guess the iPhone’s password.

Federal investigators fear San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook may have configured his work phone to use an Apple security feature that erases a key for decrypting data after 10 incorrect guesses of the phone’s password.

The forensic technique to get at the data, known as “chip off,” involves removing a NAND flash memory chip and copying its data. If successful, this would yield a decryption key that can be restored if it is erased after incorrect guesses.

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Google Photos updated, now features Live Photos, improved backup support

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016, 15:53
Category: Google, iOS, iPhone, News, Software

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This is sort of nifty.

The Google Photos app for iOS has been updated and now allows users to back up and view Live Photos taken with the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. The latest version of the iOS app has finally received support for the format, nearly six months after Apple introduced Live Photos in the latest iPhone.

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Judge clears Apple from having to hack iPhone in New York case, could set precedent in San Bernadino controversy

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 1st, 2016, 08:10
Category: iOS, iPhone, Legal, News, security, Software

lockediphone5c

This is interesting.

Although it’s not tied to the headline-grabbing San Bernadino case, a federal judge has denied a government motion to force Apple to unlock an iPhone. The ruling could have implications for Apple’s current battle with the FBI over San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c.

In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Magistrate Judge James Orenstein ruled on Monday that the All Writs Act is being applied overly broadly by the government.

The case concerns an iPhone 5s used by a meth dealer who later pled guilty. Although the iPhone wasn’t running iOS 7 or later and wasn’t encrypted by default, it was felt that Apple could extract the data without needing to break the phone’s passcode.

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Apple releases Smart Keyboard software update, seeks to resolve connectivity issues

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016, 07:13
Category: Accessory, iOS, iPad Pro, News, Software

applesmartkeyboard

Following complaints from a number of users that the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard loses connectivity on occasion, Apple has released a software update to address the issue.

The description goes as follows:

If your iPad Pro wakes up from time to time when it’s connected to a Smart Keyboard, here’s what to do. To solve this issue, disconnect the Smart Keyboard from your iPad Pro, and then connect it again. When iOS asks if you want to update the Smart Keyboard, tap Update.

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Justice Department looking to have Apple help extract data from 12 additional iPhones

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016, 07:12
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, security

lockediphone5c

The plot thickens.

In the midst of the controversy between Apple and the Department of Justice regarding the unlocking of the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone, the U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing additional court orders that would force Apple to help federal investigators extract data from twelve other encrypted iPhones that may contain crime-related evidence.

The revelation comes nearly one week after a U.S. federal judge ordered Apple to assist the FBI with unlocking an iPhone belonging to suspected San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. Apple strongly opposed the court order last week in an open letter to customers.

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Apple iOS encryption battle could escalate to the Supreme Court

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 19th, 2016, 07:48
Category: iOS, iPhone, Legal, News, security

lockediphone5c

Apple’s cryptography fight could go all the way to the tippy top.

Following tim Cook’s reply to the court order instructing the company to assist the FBI in breaking into an iPhone left any room for doubt about Apple’s determination to fight the matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, that doubt appears to be removed by further background emerging today.

It’s been reported that Apple plans to press ahead with plans to increase its use of strong encryption.

Cook has since told colleagues that he plans to stand by Apple’s current encryption policies.

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Apple releases updated iOS 9.2.1 variant to make amends for handsets affected by Error 53

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 18th, 2016, 13:00
Category: Hardware, iOS, iPhone, News, security

error53

A bit of an apology from Apple following the “Error 53” controversy.

Apple on Thursday released an updated version of iOS 9.2.1, bypassing what the company has admitted to be a factory test of the Home button during start up.

Apple released an updated version of iOS 9.2.1 to restore newer iPhones that were disabled by Error 53. This iOS update will prevent future iPhones from experiencing Error 53 if they have their Home buttons repaired by a third-party repair shop. This update can only be installed by connecting the iPhone to iTunes on a Mac or PC, not over the air.

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Why I stopped wearing my Apple Watch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 12th, 2016, 05:16
Category: Android, Android Wear, Apple Watch, iOS, Opinion

I’ve been a Mac user since 1984 and iOS user since 2007. In 2016 I’m switching from iPhone and Apple Watch to Android and Android Wear as an experiment. This blog post is one in a series from a lifelong Apple/iOS user  switching to Android.

The Huawei Watch is a sharp-looking timepiece.

Like many of you I ordered an Apple Watch at midnight on April 10, 2015 and received it on April 24, 2015. To say that anticipation was high might be the understatement of the year.

Before the arrival of the smart watch, I wore a Breitling watch daily (and a Tag Heuer before that). I don’t consider myself a horologist or even a watch snob, I just have thing for nice watches. A watch is one of the few accessories that men can wear and I have a fondness for fine Swiss movements.

I dutifully wore my Apple Watch from April 24 until December 25, 2015 when I received an Android Wear watch as a gift – more on that later. As a daily Apple Watch wearer for eight months, switching to Android was disruptive and sometimes unsettling but, pardon the pun, the time had come.

I’m quite happy with Android Wear in my first six weeks of wearing it full time. There are four killer features in Wear that trump watchOS…

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Proposed bipartisan bill would prevent individual states from mandating backdoor access to encryption protocols

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2016, 09:42
Category: iOS, iPhone, Legal, News, security, Software

encryption

The plot may yet become even more intricate when it comes to states require backdoors into encryption.

A bipartisan bill introduced to the U.S. House of Represenatives on Wednesday would bar individual states and localities from requiring backdoors in encryption, something often demanded by law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies.

The ENCRYPT Act, sponsored Democrat Ted Lieu and Republican Blake Farenthold, was crafted in direct response to proposed rules in New York and California that would require companies to be able to decrypt smartphones.

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“It is completely technologically unworkable for individual states to mandate different encryption standards in consumer products,” said Lieu. “Apple can’t make a different smartphone for California and New York and the rest of the country.”

Support for the bill has been said to have originated from FBI Director James Comey, who has regularly stated that encryption could interfere with investigations and police observation. On Tuesday, Comey appeared in front of a Senate panel, where he said that investigators were still unable to access the contents of a phone belonging to one of the shooters responsible for the Dec. 2 massacre in San Bernardino, Calif.

Companies like Apple have put their own pressure on U.S. politicians, arguing that leaving holes in encryption would simply make intrusion easier for malicious hackers and/or government surveillance.

The encryption in iOS 8 and iOS 9 is so stringent that even when served with a warrant, Apple claims it can’t crack a passcode-protected device. Later versions of Google’s Android OS support similar levels of encryption, though it may sometimes have to be enabled manually.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and Reuters