Apple Denies Handing Over Source Code to China

During an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing earlier this week, entitled “Deciphering the Debate Over Encryption: Industry and Law Enforcement Perspectives,” which discussed the feud between Apple and the FBI over an iPhone tied to the San Bernardino shootings, Indiana State Police Captain Charles Cohen, Commander of the Office of Intelligence and Investigative Technologies, accused the Cupertino company of releasing its iOS source code and user data to China, while refusing to do the same thing for the US.

“I saw several news stories that said Apple provided the source code for the iOS [operating system for iPhone and iPads] to China,” Cohen said.

Following Cohen’s claims, for which he provided no evidence, Bruce Sewell, Apple’s General Counsel, confirmed that the company had “been asked by the Chinese government” for the source code, but that “we refused.”

Apple was also accused of possessing a key to access encrypted user messages and data – which would mean the company’s claims of end-to-end encryption were fraudulent – which it disposed of at the end of 2014.

“We have not provided source code to the Chinese government,” Sewell countered. “We did not have a key 19 months ago that we threw away. Those allegations are without merit.”

Image courtesy of Shelley Palmer.

San Bernardino iPhone Proves Useless Following Decryption

After a lengthy court battle, lasting months, that sought to compel Apple to compromise the security on an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook, the FBI finally achieved the feat on its own. The result? Absolutely nothing of use was gleaned from the device, according to an anonymous source within US law enforcement.

“A law enforcement source tells CBS News that so far nothing of real significance has been found on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone, which was unlocked by the FBI last month without the help of Apple,” CBS News reports. “It was stressed that the FBI continues to analyze the information on the cellphone seized in the investigation.”

It is still unclear who was responsible for bypassing the encryption of Farook’s iPhone 5c, nor the mean by which it was achieved. Multiple sources, however, suggest that the FBI enlisted the help of a private group of “grey hat” hackers to help crack the device.

“The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter,” according to the Washington Post. “[…] The people who helped the U.S. government come from the sometimes shadowy world of hackers and security researchers who profit from finding flaws in companies’ software or systems.”

“The company that helped the FBI unlock a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone to get data has sole legal ownership of the method, making it highly unlikely the technique will be disclosed by the government to Apple or any other entity, Obama administration sources said this week,” Reuters revealed. “[…]The sources said the technology used to get into the phone was supplied by a non-U.S. company that they declined to identify.”

Regardless, FBI Director James Comey has suggested that the FBI will likely keep the exploit it used to access the iPhone to themselves, lest Apple attempt to patch the vulnerability. “If we tell Apple, they’re going to fix it and we’re back where we started,” Comey said. “As silly as it may sound, we may end up there. We just haven’t decided yet.”

Apple Claims ‘Most Effective Security Organization in the World’

In a recent press conference with some of Apple’s engineers, the company stated that they had the ‘most effective security organization in the world’. It wasn’t just an idle statement either, with them revealing a number of the security features that are packed into their iPhone both on the hardware and software levels.

The conference itself was a highly technical affair, with the attending engineers going to great lengths to detail the security protocols they have in place. More than just being a podium for Apple to  grandstand, this conference was a show of clear defiance against the revived effort by the US government to unlock the iPhones of criminals with them restating the point that making the popular smartphone less secure for them would risk compromising the privacy and security of their customers.

Unlike Android and the numerous companies developing Android devices, Apple control all aspects of their phone’s development which allows them to bake security into every level of their device, from hardware to firmware to software. The features employed in order to make the device so secure include a number of both industry-standard and Apple-specific features, which, when employed together secure the device at all levels, making it impossible to even flash the device with a hacked version of iOS or similar super-low-level attacks. They also believe that the chance of a bug occurring at a low enough level to cause a major compromise is small.

Getting users to ensure their phones run the latest version of iOS is another important step to keep devices secure, as each new iteration of the mobile operating system includes new security improvements and bugfixes. Some of the ways that Apple have employed to increase the adoption rate of the newest versions of their software include shrinking the size of the operating system from 4.6GB in iOS 8 to just 1.3GB in iOS 9 and also offering “while you were sleeping” update options, both of which seem to be effectual, with iOS 9 having an adoption rate of 80% so far.

It is plain to see how important Apple believe that security and encryption are to our future by the effort they put into ensuring their devices are secure. Their struggle to convince governments that slackening of security and precedents to force companies to unlock devices would have long-term damage is likely far from over, but we can be assured that Apple (and many other tech firms) will continue to struggle against these demands and ensure a safer and more secure digital future.

Hackers Could Crash Your iPhone Over Wi-Fi

Remember when we told you that your iPhone could crash if you set it to a certain date? Well, even though you would have to perform the date changing manually in order to trigger this bug, it looks like hackers could still abuse it via Wi-Fi. Apple has issued a fix in the beta version of the iOS 9.3 operating system in order to address the glitch, but two researchers named Matt Harrigan and Patrick Kelley have exploited the tendency of iOS devices to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks that they recognize in order to prove a point. The exploit involved creating a new network with the same name but with a hostile time server that would cause nearby iPads to reset their time and refuse to reboot. Fortunately, the team worked with Apple to release a fix for this bug before they published their findings.

“The reboot caused all iPads in test to degrade gradually, beginning with the inability to unlock, and ultimately ending with the device overheating and not booting at all. Apple has confirmed this vulnerability to be present in 64 bit devices that are running any version less than 9.3.1.”

The same method is much harder to implement on iPhones, as they receive network time updates differently when compared to iPads. Still, the researchers have stated that it is definitely possible to brick an iPhone using Wi-Fi as well. In order to protect yourself, you should make sure that your iPhone and iPad are running iOS 9.3.1, and you should definitely avoid using internet connections without safety certificates or Wi-Fi networks that are not password protected. Just in case you want to see the glitch for yourself, you can have a look at the following video.

Security Flaw Allowed The FBI To Create The iPhone Cracking Software

Apple vs the FBI looks liked it would never end, originally starting with the FBI requesting (and then a federal judge ordering) Apple’s support in unlocking and gaining access to an iPhone in a court case. Apple looked to defend itself and ultimately the FBI recalled its actions when it received support from an outside party. It has now been revealed how the tool used by the FBI gained access to the iPhone through the use of a security flaw.

The security flaw, one that was previously unknown to Apple, allowed the creation of a tool to crack the four digit pin used to protect the phone from 10 failed attempts to gain access to a phone. The group that provided the tool to the government was a group of “grey hat” hackers who actively seek out flaws in software to then sell on to groups such as the government.

The exposed flaw affects both the iPhone 5 and iOS 9 iPhones, and may not affect work on newer versions of both iPhones and the iOS operating system. With FBI director James B. Comey saying that they may or may not disclose the security flaw to Apple, but with the latest leak revealing where they need to focus, Apple may now fix the problem before others are able to exploit it.

iOS Lock Screen Bypass Vulnerability Fixed By Apple

Apple has reportedly fixed a security flaw in the iOS operating system that would allow attackers to be able to bypass passcode lock screens on iPhone 6S and 6S Plus that are running version 9.3.1 of iOS. The bypass would have allowed malicious parties to be able to access the address book and photos of a targeted device, which could expose a lot of private data.

German security firm, Evolution Security, were responsible for discovering the bypass, which takes advantage of the integration of Siri with apps such as Twitter or Facebook, as well as the new 3D Touch feature that is included only in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Even while the device is locked, an attacker would be able to request information on @ tags from Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo. From there, the 3D touch’s hard push feature can be used to bring up the context menu for a string such as an email address. This menu provides the ability to add the data to a contact in the phone’s address book and from there, by accessing the choice to change user pictures, the photo gallery can be launched.

According to the Washington Post, the vulnerability was patched by Apple on Tuesday without users needing to install a software update. Considering the high level of security on the iPhone that led to Apple’s protracted battle with the FBI, it is surprising that so much user data can be exposed by a flaw in the lock screen, which is often the first and last line of defense for the security of the data on the device.

Apple to Use Old or Refurbished IPhones to Break Into Indian Market

The Indian market is one notoriously hard to get into for many firms selling devices at a premium, with many Indian customers being incredibly sensitive to high pricing and the import taxes for the country are high. In response to this difficult market, Apple has a new plan to gain a foothold in India: selling older and refurbished iPhones at cheaper prices.

Compared to their strong advance into the Chinese market, Apple’s progress in India has been slow. Despite increasing the number of distribution channels across a number of Indian cities, the Cupertino-based company only managed to sell 1 million phones in the last quarter, making up just a 3 percent share of the Indian smart phone market.

According to Vishal Tripathi, a research director at Gartner, most of Apple’s recent growth in the Indian market has come from sales of their older devices such as the iPhone 4S and that they may be seeking to target the lower-end of the smart phone market with these dated models, a vastly different approach to in the West. Even the new (and cheaper) iPhone SE, with a price tag of 39,000 rupees for a 16 GB model is unlikely to gain much of a foothold in the market amongst price-conscious customers according to Tripathi.

Currently, Samsung leads the Indian smart phone market, possessing a mighty 27 percent share of the 25 million devices shipped in India in the last quarter, trailed by Indian firm Micromax at 14.1 percent. There is no doubt that Apple wants a piece of this potentially lucrative market, which one of their main smartphone competitors currently controls. Whether this strategy will take hold remains to be seen, but Apple looks to have an uphill battle ahead of them in India as many in the country see them as simply dumping old end-of-life models into the market.

Apple Could Be Fined Millions for Strict iPhone Marketing Contract

Did you ever look at a phone provider catalogue and think, where have I seen that advert before? If the phone in question is an iPhone then you may have noticed its prominent placement in the catalogue along with the near identical adverts in every single catalogue. There is a reason for this other than just marketing, and could get Apple fined up to €48.5 million for their strict iPhone marketing terms.

France’s country competition regulators have launched a complaint regarding Apple’s agreements, stating that they are actually illegal. Part of the terms and conditions is that carriers have to order a minimum number of iPhones, cover the cost of repairs for some of the phones and even pay for the ad’s used (including those used for in-store displays).

If this wasn’t enough Apple gains several legal benefits, such as being able to access and use some of the carriers patents and even use their branding as they see fit. The contract also allows Apple to void the contract without any prior notice, something that would scare anyone selling thousands of euros worth of equipment.

With Apple looking at renewable energy for their facilities, they may want to rethink their strategy when it comes to selling their devices as even if this court case is just in France, other countries may follow suit and start looking at stocking alternative products because of the contract they are being forced to sign.

iPhone Unlocked By Fingerprint Because Of A Warrant From The LAPD

While we were so focused on the Apple Vs FBI court battle that was going on, it would seem that the FBI were up to their usual tricks. I refer to the first known case where a user was made to unlock their iPhone by fingerprint because of a warrant.

The court case was overseen by a Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge who agreed that David Charles Baust could not be forced to hand over his iPhones passcode. The judge did say he could be compelled to supply his biometric information to unlock the device, though, a measure that seems very similar in its outcome.

The warrant issued allowed an LAPD agent to visit the premises of Baust and a Paytsar Bkchadzhyan and acquire a fingerprint for the purposes of unlocking the iPhone, a trick that can be mimicked with something as simple as Play-Doh. The warrant contains the line “Law enforcement personnel are authorized to depress the fingerprints and/or thumbprints of the person covered by this warrant onto the Touch ID sensor of the Apple iPhone seized… on 25 February”. The inventory of the property taken in the search doesn’t even help narrow down what they searched for, as they state “PAYTSAR BKCHADZHYAN – FINGERPRINT ON IPHONE DEVICE”, a rather ambiguous term when keeping track of something.

The fingerprint didn’t help as after 48 hours of not unlocking your iPhone with touch ID requires that you enter your passcode anyway, a piece of information that the Judge had already ruled out being forced from the suspect.

This could have repercussions, such as in the case where a person from England is being asked to unlock his device over a case that could see him tried in America, where you could be seen as providing evidence against yourself by providing something like your biometric information or passwords. These are all protected in America under the fifth amendment, the right to not incriminate yourself.

iOS Mobile Device Management Protocol Can be Abused to Load Malware

 

Apple has worked hard to make it difficult to allow users to unwittingly install unauthorized and malicious apps onto their devices. Despite this, there is still one way in that attackers are still able to exploit: the mobile device management protocol. Researchers from Check Point Software Technologies will be demonstrating the hack as part of a presentation at the Black Hat Asia security conference on Friday.

The technique to inject malware onto iOS devices involves taking advantage of the communication between MDM products and iOS devices being vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks and can be performed with minimal user interaction. MDM products are used by companies to configure, control and secure the devices of employees remotely, as well as providing access to private app stores for easy internal app deployment. Of course, this attack relies on the target device being registered to an MDM server in order for there to be a connection to hijack.

Initially, a user would have to be tricked into installing a malicious configuration profile on their device, which could be easy to slip in with a number of the profiles that corporate users are used to installing such as VPN, Wi-Fi, email and other important settings. The malicious profile would then install a root certificate to route the device’s internet connection through a proxy. This can be used to route all traffic through a server under the attacker’s control and engage the man-in-the-middle attack. From there, the attacker is free to push malicious apps to the device using a stolen enterprise certificate or a malware app could be disguised as an app the user expects. A user must still accept the choice to install the app, but even if it is refused, the attacker is free to push the request repeatedly, essentially locking the device up until the install is accepted.

Check Point have named this vulnerability Sidestepper, due to the fact that it effectively side-steps the new restrictions for enterprise app deployments in iOS9. Misuse of enterprise certificates is nothing new either, with Check Point finding that in one Fortune 100 company, over 300 sideloaded apps signed with over 150 enterprise certificates existed. So while MDM technologies may be great for businesses, users must be just as much on their guard against attacks targeting those deployments as any other app or profile they may install.

FBI Reveals Reason for Asking Apple to Unlock Their iPhones

In the recent case of Apple vs the FBI, the FBI requested Apple’s assistance in unlocking an iPhone, a request that caused legal worries and issues for a number of technology companies. We may finally know the reason for why the FBI pushing so hard on Apple to unlock their iPhones.

In an email, it was revealed that the reason Apple needed to help the FBI was a little more personal than some might expect. The email reveals that James Comey, Director of the FBI , likes iPhones and is actually quite a big fan of Apple altogether, or, at least, was until he forgot his passcode.

After forgetting his passcode, Comey tried to recover access to his device by resetting the passcode and once that failed, by using his password to attempt to gain access. When all this failed, Comey had no option but to reach out for help to gain access to his phone.

With Apple refusing to unlock his iPhone the FBI were forced to use alternative means to gain access to the device, which turns out to be as simple as removing the battery and forcing a hard reset. Apple has since revealed that it fixed the problem in subsequent versions of the iPhone, but in a generation of secure devices being able to reset passwords by forcing a hard reset worrying, simply turning it off and back on again seems a little low-tech solution to a problem.

For more information you can read the full email here.

FBI Calls Off Court Hearing With Apple Because They Might Have Another Solution

The battle between Apple and the FBI could soon be over with the FBI calling off a court hearing.

After several hearings with Congress, the story may finally be over with the latest meeting between Apple and the FBI being canceled after FBI received another party has come forward offering their support. In a document filing with the court the Department of Justice (DoJ) stated:

On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone. Testing is required to determine whether it is available method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc. (“Apple”) set forthin the All Writs Act Order in this case.

As much as the FBI would love to think that they came up with the solution, but it was Snowden criticizing the FBI’s claims about unlocking the phone that seems to have been the tipping point. With numerous groups claiming to have ways to unlock the iPhone, the FBI pushing for Apple to create a way for them to unlock an iPhone has long been suspected of being an entry to the encrypted software.

If the FBI had this alternative available since the start, it would appear suspicions about the FBI using this an attempt to make future requests easier were true. If this is the case, trust in the FBI could be damaged even more with people questioning why the FBI wanted easy access to everyone’s iPhones.

Meet Liam – Apple’s iPhone Recycling Robot

Modern smartphones are full of valuable materials that are capable of being reused even once the phone has reached the end of its life. This is where Apple’s new R&D project, Liam, comes in. As part of a new environmental initiative at the Cupertino tech giant, Liam is able to systematically identify and remove part of old iPhones that are valuable or reusable and strip them out safely so that they can be reused or refurbished in new devices.

At Apple’s press conference this Monday, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives revealed the new recycling robot. The development is part of a belief at Apple that true innovation and design of a product includes considering what happens to it at every stage of its lifecycle. This makes Liam part of a far larger environmental initiative by the company which plans to focus more on renewable energy, with Liam helping to allow more recyclable materials back into supplies. It also helps save Apple money, as they would have to buy in less and less of these valuable materials for use in the manufacturing process.

Some of the activities Liam performs on a typical iPhone include getting cobalt and lithium from batteries, separating the gold and copper in the camera and extracting silver and platinum from the main logic cores. While Liam itself does not repurpose these components, it methodically separates and sorts them so they can be repurposed with other parts containing the same materials.

Liam is in use on iPhones that are returned to Apple for recycling, with old iPhones able to be returned to Apple stores for this purpose.

Apple Announces the New iPhone SE

Up until now, if you wanted to own a smaller iPhone, your only viable choice was the iPhone 5S, and even though there’s nothing wrong with this particular model, it’s definitely not up to par with more recent Apple offerings, at least as far as performance is concerned. Fortunately, Apple has just announced its brand new iPhone SE, which looks pretty much the same as the 5S, but it does come with improved hardware. To be more specific, this gadget is powered by the A9 and M9 chips installed in the iPhone 6S, and that’s a lot of power for a small 4-inch smartphone.

According to its creators, the iPhone SE is twice as fast as its predecessor CPU-wise and three times as fast GPU-wise. Interestingly enough, the battery life seems to have improved as well, which is definitely commendable. Other highlights include a “Retina” front-facing flash, LTE and 802.11 AC Wi-Fi support, a 12-megapixel camera and support for Apple Pay. As far as appearance goes, not much has changed when compared to the 5S, but we did notice the phone’s matte edges, which is a nice touch.

As far as pricing is concerned, the cheapest 16GB iPhone SE will cost $399 while the 64GB version will require a $499 investment.

Airline Passengers Phone Catches Fire Mid-Flight

If you are reading this on your phone you may want to put it down on the table and read it from afar. Phones are known for having the odd quirk of behaviour here and there but when it comes to catching fire, that’s probably their scariest behaviour. Sadly one person found this out the hard way when her phone caught fire mid-flight.

Anna Crail is a college sophomore who was on an Alaska Air flight to enjoy her spring break. To pass the time on the plane she decided to watch a film on her iPhone 6, a move which seemed to cause trouble when it started to shoot flames.

Talking to KOMO-TV Anna described the events:

“All of the sudden there was like 8-inch flames coming out of my phone, and I flipped it off onto the ground and it got under someone’s seat, and the flames were just getting higher and a bunch of people stood up”

An Alaska Air spokesman told ABC news that the fire was “quickly extinguished” and that there was no injuries or damage to the plane which continued on its way.

Both Alaska Air and the FAA are looking into the incident alongside Apple who have said they are getting in touch with the family and the airline regarding the matter.

Apple’s Tim Cook Describes FBI Fight as a “Bad Dream”

Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken candidly to TIME about his on-going battle against the FBI – with the US law enforcement agency putting him and his company under immense pressure to bypass the iPhone encryption of San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook – comparing the ordeal to a “bad dream”. Cook also expressed his dismay that the US government should be the one to stand up for the civil liberties of US citizens, not him.

“I never expected to be in this position,” Cook confessed in the interview with TIME magazine. “The government should always be the one defending civil liberties. And there’s a role reversal here. I mean I still feel like I’m in another world a bit, that I’m in this bad dream in some wise.”

“But at the end of the day, we’re going to fight the good fight not only for our customers but for the country,” he said. “We’re in this bizarre position where we’re defending the civil liberties of the country against the government. Who would have ever thought this would happen?”

Cook took the opportunity to stress that, despite reluctance – “Fighting the government is not a thing we choose to do,” he laments – his fight against the FBI’s efforts to bypass Apple’s encryption will continue, because, “at the end of the day—and none of us would have been able to sleep at night” if Apple caved.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Feds Tell Court Apple Creates Technology To Thwart iPhone Warrants

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently working with the FBI in a legal battle against technology giant Apple. After being told to help unlock an iPhone through a software modification, the company began to argue that they could not be made to bypass their own security features by use of an All Writs Act. The DOJ have now filed fresh claims that specifically say that Apple is creating technology to thwart iPhone warrants.

The Department of Justice filed a brief on Thursday stating that Apple had created technology to render search warrants useless because of a “deliberate marketing decision”. The result of this decision is the current legal battle between the FBI and Apple and the questions being asked in congress regarding privacy vs security.

The brief carries on to that the use of the All Writs Act ensures “that their lawful warrants were not thwarted by third parties like Apple”. The brief continues to say:

Apple deliberately raised technological barriers that now stand between a lawful warrant and an iPhone containing evidence related to the terrorist mass murder of 14 Americans. Apple alone can remove those barriers so that the FBI can search the phone, and it can do so without undue burden. Under those specific circumstances, Apple can be compelled to give aid. That is not lawless tyranny. Rather, it is ordered liberty vindicating the rule of law.

Given that it’s been pointed out by several other people could also hack the iPhone, and while they claim it could be done without undue burden (an argument Apple has used to say that it won’t do it because of the impact it would have on their business), we have already been told that there are hundreds of iPhones in criminal cases which the FBI “could” want to be unlocked. Security experts are already coming out speaking about this latest filing

Security experts are already coming out speaking about this latest information about a topic which seems to escalate with every passing day.

https://twitter.com/JZdziarski/status/708059202107928577?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://twitter.com/agcrocker/status/708034792026050561?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

DOJ Appealing Order Found in Favor of Apple

Apple is everywhere in the news these days. From the rumoured features of their next generation of phones to the courtrooms. In a case that recently came to light in New York, the judge ruled that Apple could not be forced to unlock an iPhone by the All Writs Act. This didn’t sit well with the DOJ who are now appealing the order.

The case in New York features another iPhone, again locked by a passcode. Repeatedly trying different passcode risks the data on the phone, thanks to a security measure put in place that states when you fail to put in the passcode 10 times, it will erase the phone. With so many combinations, the FBI are looking to enlist Apple’s help to type in passcodes through software, without the data being erased.

I say looking to enlist, but the act used (the All Writs Act) has been deemed as some as an order from a judge where no legal precedent is available for the request. A judge in New York recently ruled that Apple couldn’t be forced to remove these settings or extract the data by use of the All Writs Act.

The DOJ don’t seem happy though with this ruling, asking the court to review the decision by the Magistrate Judge, with the hopes that they can get the iPhone unlocked and the continued in a similar fashion to the one currently taking place in California.

John McAfee Lied About Hacking San Bernardino iPhone

Serial fantasist John McAfee – who claimed last week that he could stage an Ocean’s Eleven-esque infiltration of the Pentagon – has admitted to lying about his ability to hack the encryption of an iPhone.

McAfee, speaking to Russia Today, CNN, and Business Insider last month, publicly offered his services to the FBI to hack the iPhone of San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook so that Apple –  which had refused an FBI court order to unlock the device – would not have its encryption compromised.

However, in a phone interview with The Daily Dot, McAfee has now admitted that he lied about his method of decrypting an iPhone – conceding that it would not work – in order to get, in his words, “get a s***load of public attention.” He does claim, however, that he has another, secret way of hacking an iPhone, but he’s not telling you, and he’ll take his ball home if you try to make him.

“By doing so, I knew that I would get a s***load of public attention, which I did,” McAfee revealed to The Daily Dot. “That video, on my YouTube account, it has 700,000 views. My point is to bring to the American public the problem that the FBI is trying to [fool] the American public. How am I going to do that, by just going off and saying it? No one is going to listen to that crap.”

“So I come up with something sensational,” he added. “Now, what I did not lie about was my ability to crack the iPhone. I can do it. It’s a piece of friggin’ cake. You could probably do it.”

When asked why he was even discussing the existence of his mysterious decryption wizardry, McAfee responded, “Because I’m assuming, because you kept on asking, that you aren’t going to publish it.” The Daily Dot explained that no such agreement had been made. McAfee subsequently hung up.

“The lie was an exaggeration of simplicity,” McAfee said in a text message after the interview. “As the Inverse article explained, it would have been impossible in the time allowed to explain the fullness of the truth. If you fault me for that, then you, and possibly your readers, will have been the only one on the planet to have done so.”

McAfee also said, “I apologize for my anger.” He added that it “seemed absurd to me to focus on a simplification of a technique, given the stakes at risk—a potentially Orwellian state initiated by the populace ignoring the truth of what the FBI is trying to do to us.”

The entirety of The Daily Dot’s interview with John McAfee can be heard below:

John McAfee Interview — The Daily Dot by William Turton

Apple Looking at OLED Screens For 2017

Every year we are bombarded with new phones, featuring upgraded parts or new features, they come and go as quickly as the seasons. For several years, Apple has been releasing their iPhones, a series of phones that have received just a bad reputation for being just that, a series of phones that seem very similar to the last. That could change in 2017 with Apple looking at OLED screens for their next generation of iPhones.

Apple is known for their high-end machines, offering quality at a price. Many say the same about their iPhones, with quality coming at a price some consider too high to pay. With a faster processor and 3D touch technology, many were convinced that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were a symbol of Apple’s “repeating” business model, with little changing from phone to phone.

Switching from LCD to OLED would be a big step for Apple. OLED offer thinner, lighter and more flexible screens, which when combined with their high energy efficiency would mean that Apple’s screens would feel better, combined with their more vivid colours would present a whole new generation of viewing for the iPhone.

While the rumours that Apple could introduce OLED screens in 2017, many are sceptical about this time line and think that you may have to wait till 2019 before you see an iPhone with an OLED screen. With companies like Samsung already using OLED technology, waiting several years before introducing it to your iPhone may do nothing more than hinder already dwindling iPhone sales.

US Police Group: iPhone “Device of Choice” for Criminals

Three US police groups have filed a brief in court that Apple’s iPhone has become the “device of choice” for criminals, due to its strong encryption, and are aware of “numerous instances” in which suspects have switched from traditional “burner” phones to iPhones – though failed to provide any evidence of this claim – according to Vice News.

The brief does, though, cite the anecdotal tale of a New York jail inmate calling Apple’s smartphone “a gift from God” during a phonecall in 2015.

The filing, made by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and two other groups, is part of the ongoing case regarding the FBI’s attempts to force Apple to decrypt the iPhone of a suspect in the San Bernardino shootings last year. So far, Apple CEO Tim Cook has refused to allow US law enforcement to bypass encryption on the iOS operating system. Cook has told the court that he will continue to resist the FBI’s court order, saying that it “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

“Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the US government,” Cook said. “We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.”

While the case continues, France has this week voted in a law designed to punish owners of security software for refusal to allow law enforcement to bypass encryption, Russia Today reports.

“Cyber Pathogen” Claims On Locked iPhone Made Up

The debate of privacy vs security is one that has lasted for hundreds of years, if not longer. With people claiming that while security is important, if that is compromised or done without checks, such as with the PRISM program, then our privacy means nothing to those who could abuse the system. Currently, Apple is debating this very same matter with the FBI in Congress, and it seems that one of the people who have come out in support of the FBI may have been using tall tales to back up his argument.

We’ve reported on Michael Ramos’s (a San Bernardino County District Attorney) claims that Apple must unlock the iPhone involved in the current case. His claims involved the fact that the phone, which was given to a county employee, had access to the San Bernardino infrastructure and could hold a “dormant cyber pathogen” which would be used to perform a terrorist attack on their infrastructure.

These claims were met with skepticism and some people even said it was like saying that you may find a “magic unicorn” on the iPhone. It now seems that even Ramos can’t hide from people as he has come out and told the Associated Press that he has no proof or knowledge that the phone could be used in that way.

In his response he states:

“This was a county employee that murdered 14 people and injured 22. Did he use the county’s infrastructure? Did he hack into that infrastructure? I don’t know. In order for me to really put that issue to rest, there is one piece of evidence that would absolutely let us know that, and that would be the iPhone.”

Jonathan Zdziarski commented on his personal blog about this response, talking about the original comments by explaining that “Ramos’s statements are not only misleading to the court, but amount to blatant fear mongering”.

It would seem like his original claims were just that, fear mongering, in the hopes of providing support to a personal point of view. The move seems to have backfired, offering only more fuel for the pro-encryption people backing Apple and their arguments that they need people who know about cyber-security making the decision.

New Bill Prevents Federal Agencies Purchasing Apple Products

Apple is currently in congress talking to and explaining the impact that removing or bypassing protection on their iPhones would have if they followed a court order to do so for the FBI. In what may seem like a childish move a congressman has now introduced a bill that would forbid federal agencies from purchasing Apple products.

In the statement, Representative David Jolly stated the following:

“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil,” he said. “Who did the terrorist talk to? Who did he message with? Did he go to a safe house? Is there information on the phone that might prevent a future attack on US soil? Following the horrific events of September 11, 2001, every citizen and every company was willing to do whatever it took to side with law enforcement and defeat terror. It’s time Apple shows that same conviction to further protect our nation today.”

Currently, though the bill may not get passed with America split down the middle on the issue and, even more, people coming out in support of both sides, although Apple seems to have the majority rule with large companies and even ex-agency heads coming forward in their support.

With a man whose wife was lost in the attacks stating his support for Apple, the discussions seem to change with every passing minute as people go from supporting the company to stating that the phone could have infected (and be used to fix) virus’s that it may or may not have on it.

Husband to San Bernadino Victim Backs Apple in iPhone Unlock Case

With the likes of Microsoft and Facebook supporting them, Apple is gearing up for their battle against the FBI over the iPhone unlock case from the San Bernadino shooting. In a surprise move, Apple has gained an unlikely and important supporter in their fight against the US government. In a letter filed with the court, Salihin Kondoker, an IT consultant whose wife was shot 3 times in the attack is backing Apple’s stance.

In his letter, Kondoker notes that he initially did not side with Apple but after learning more about the case, realized it there was more to it than simply unlocking one phone. He doesn’t believe that security is a worthwhile benefit for losing privacy and realizes the ramifications of Apple bending to the FBI’s will. Kondoker also notes as many other have, that the attacker’s work iPhone would be unlikely to contain any important information, as the county could have accessed it at any time prior to the attacks. Here are some excerpts from the letter.

When I first learned Apple was opposing the order I was frustrated that it would be yet another roadblock. But as I read more about their case, I have come to understand their fight is for something much bigger than one phone. They are worried that this software the government wants them to use will be used against millions of other innocent people. I share their fear.

I support Apple and the decision they have made. I don’t believe Tim Cook or any Apple employee believes in supporting terrorism any more than I do. I think the vicious attacks I’ve read in the media against one of America’s greatest companies are terrible.

Finally, and the reason for my letter to the court, I believe privacy is important and Apple should stay firm in their decision. Neither I, nor my wife, want to raise our children in a world where privacy is the tradeoff for security. I believe this case will have a huge impact all over the world.

You will have agencies coming from all over the world to get access to the software the FBI is asking Apple for. It will be abused all over to spy on innocent people.

America should be proud of Apple. Proud that it is an American company and we should protect them not try to tear them down.

In addition to Kondoker’s support, Apple has also been backed by the former heads of the NSA, the FBI, and Homeland Security, noting that the case is more complex than the FBI makes it out to be. They all warn against the loss of trust and privacy that would occur and that acting on fear and public opinion would lead down the wrong path.

Apple Told All Writs Act Can’t Force Them To Unlock iPhone

Recently Apple has been involved in court battle after court battle, with the largest battle being the San Bernardino case against the FBI. In the case, the FBI are looking to use an 18th-century law, the All Writs Act, to get Apple to create some software  that would let them get passed the passcode. In a similar case, a judge has just made a ruling, something that makes it look like Apple may win their legal battle against the FBI.

In the case, the Drug Enforcement Agency had seized an iPhone and were looking to use the All Writs Act to unlock the iPhone, an iPhone 5. Just like in the San Bernardino case, Apple objected and argued that there are nine cases (now eleven) where the government are looking to gain access to iPhones.

Judge Orenstein looked at previous court decision and found that under the rule of three the All Writs Act couldn’t be applied. One of the rules for applying the All Writs Act was if the person/group had a connection to the case. In this instance, the judge decided that Apple, who are a private party with no connection the criminal activity, couldn’t be made to perform work against their will by the All Writs Act.

Judge Orenstein also warned against the use of the All Writs Act to create a precedent that would mean that companies like Apple would have to fulfill the government wishes, something the FBI are not looking for.

This could be the case Apple need to finally say to the FBI that their rights, and their company, can’t be forced to work for a cause that they have no link to. Given Apple’s response relied heavily on their amendment rights, it will be interesting to see how the FBI responds to this ruling.

Apple Will Unveil iPhone 5SE During Week of March 21st

With each passing week, more and more details about Apple’s new mini iPhone are leaking out. Named both the iPhone 5SE or just the SE, the new phone will be a replacement 4-inch model for the current 5S which is somewhat aged by this point.  Originally rumoured by multiple sources to debut at a March 15th event, it looks like Apple may have postponed the launch a week later to the week of March 21st.

For the iPhone 5SE, the biggest changes are probably going to be an upgrade to either the A8 or A9 SoC and improved LTE. Given what we’ve seen with Apple in the past, the new design is rumoured to be largely based on the iPhone 5S, with some design cues from the 6, all in a likely cheaper and easier to manufacture shell. It will of course probably keep the 4-inch screen of the 5S though it may be updated.

Along with the SoC changes, the iPhone 5SE will also become a lot more secure. As you all know, the US government is demanding Apple compromise their iPhone encryption in several ongoing court cases. With the move to the A8 or A9, Apple will no longer even have the capability to circumvent any security safeguards. This means that the iPhone lineup going forward will have much lower chance of government subversion.

In addition to the important phone announcement, there is some indication that the iPad Air might get a refresh and debut its third iteration. A new A9X processor with more ram, improved speakers, Smart Connector and rear LED flash are all rumoured to be in the works. These new devices will also likely showcase and debut a new version of iOS or even OSX.

iPhone 5se Drawings Reveal The Mini iPhone’s Possible Design

Apple is known for their hardware, from their iPods and iPads to their desktop Macs and portable Macbooks. One thing they release time and time again is their iPhones, with each generation getting a slightly reworked design and hardware upgrades to tempt users into purchasing the next device they release, it could soon be the case that you see something that looks a little bit more dated with something managing to find information referencing the much rumoured iPhone 5se.

The iPhone SE, with the 5 being dropped from its name, is said to be a new mini iPhone with the same dimensions as the iPhone 5s. With a little help from keen-eyed people, it’s now been found that the phone would feature a few changes.

Firstly the phone will feature its sleep/wake/power button on the side of the phone, a twist from the traditional top of phone approach used by most modern phones. Initial schematics also show that while the iPhone will feature curved edges there will also be a small “camera bump”. Even with these changes, the phone looks similar to the iPhone 5s in design and features, albeit it with more than likely some hardware upgrades.

It is expected that the device will be revealed on the 15th March, with a release following only a few days after. With minimal pre-order time and back to basics size option, some people may be tempted to give up their increased screen size for the ease and comfort offered by the small device.

Images courtesy of 9To5Mac.