The stage is set for a showdown between the FBI and Apple after the tech company’s CEO Tim Cook confirmed he will not assist the feds in hacking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
The outcome is expected to have far-reaching implications in setting a precedent for future battles between digital privacy advocates and US national security interests. Here’s what you need to know about the fight so far: So why has this issue arisen? The FBI contacted Apple two weeks ago with a request for assistance in hacking the iPhone of one December's San Bernardino mass shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook. Apple refused.Read more
Apple CEO Tim Cook denounced a federal judge's order to crack open an iPhone used by a terrorist, calling the situation "chilling" and saying it would deal a major setback to online privacy for all.
To hack the phone, the FBI wants Apple to build a new version of its iOS software that Cook claims bypasses the iPhone's security features and creates "the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession." "The US government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create," Cook wrote in an open letter posted on Apple's website. "They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone."Read more
Personal information on nearly 30,000 government employees, including members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, may have been released on the Web. Using a compromised Department of Justice email account, a hacker claims to have gained access to the department's intranet.
The hacker then allegedly downloaded the personal information of more than 20,000 FBI employees and roughly 9,000 Department of Homeland Security employees. The hacker published the supposed information on an encrypted text-sharing site, including names, titles and contact details. At least some of the information appears to be real.Read more
Ever since a Carnegie Mellon talk on cracking the anonymity software Tor, the security community has been left to wonder whether the research was silently handed over to law enforcement agencies seeking to uncloak the internet’s anonymous users.
Now the non-profit Tor Project itself says that it believes the FBI did use Carnegie Mellon’s attack technique—and paid them handsomely for the privilege. The Tor Project sent a statement from its director Roger Dingledine directly accusing Carnegie Mellon of providing its Tor-breaking research in secret to the FBI in exchange for a payment of “at least $1 million.”Read more
For more than a year, the FBI has been complaining that the rise of encryption technologies will make its investigators “go dark” and help criminals get away. Hacking Team, the infamous spyware vendor that was hacked earlier this year, is now pitching its products to help US law enforcement get around its encryption problem with hacking tools.
The company apparently thinks this whole hoopla around encryption is the perfect time to speak up. “Most [law enforcement agencies] in the US and abroad will become ‘blind,’ they will ‘go dark:’ they will be simply be [sic] unable to fight vicious phenomena such as terrorism,” Hacking Team’s CEO wrote in an email.Read more
Brokerage firm Scottrade Inc. alerted customers to a data breach, which affected 4.6 million people. Scottrade learned about the problem after being contacted by the FBI.
The authorities learned that Scottrade was compromised while investigating other data-theft cases. The breach affects Scottrade customers who had accounts prior to February 2014, but investigators have determined that the breach took place between late 2013 and early 2014, so accounts that were created or maintained within that tine frame are at risk. If your information was contained in the affected database, you will receive a letter from Scottrade.Read more
The FBI has recovered emails from a private server used by Hillary Clinton while secretary of state that she said were deleted because they involved personal matters, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
The FBI is examining the server to see whether any information, including classified data, was mishandled, the investigation would take at least several more months. It was not clear how many of the personal emails had been recovered. Clinton's use of her private email for her work as America's top diplomat came to light in March and drew fire from political opponents who accused the Democratic presidential front-runner of sidestepping transparency and record-keeping laws.Read more
In an investigation involving guns and drugs, the Justice Department obtained a court order this summer demanding that Apple turn over text messages between suspects using iPhones.
Government officials had warned for months that this type of standoff was inevitable as technology companies like Apple and Google embraced tougher encryption. The case, coming after several others in which similar requests were rebuffed, prompted some senior Justice Department and FBI officials to advocate taking Apple to court, several current and former law enforcement officials said.Read more
US businesses are losing millions in fraudulent wire transfers that have their root in email compromises of accounts belonging to top executives. FBI warns businesses that regularly conduct wire transfer payments to be vigilant about potential email account compromises, related to social engineering or hacking.
The FBI has received complaints from victims in all 50 US states and 79 countries in all, with fraudulent transfers sent primarily to Hong Kong and China. Most of the victims are businesses that work with foreign suppliers and move money over wire transfers. The fraudsters will use the method most commonly associated with their victim’s normal business practices.Read more
The FBI and the US Department of Justice have helped break up a massive and notorious one-stop shop for cybercriminals, an online marketplace where hackers and others worldwide could buy and sell malicious software, stolen credit card data, lifted passwords and more.
The bureau and the DOJ said that "Operation Shrouded Horizon," a joint effort between law enforcement agencies in nearly 20 countries, had led to the seizure and shut down of the "Darkode" online forum's domain and servers. Seventy people involved in the forum, including its alleged administrator, have been indicted, with 12 of those indictments being handed down in the US, said the FBI and other officials.Read more