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Apple VP accuses FBI of backwards thinking on mobile security


Apple FBI

Apple software VP Craig Federighi says that the US government's demands represent a retrograde step for mobile security.

Federighi oversees the development of iOS. He's frequently called on stage at Apple's product launch events to talk through new features in OS X and iOS.

Now Federighi has had his say on the continuing war between the FBI and Apple through a Washington Post op-ed.

"The FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies," says Apple's software chief. "They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013."

As Federighi notes, iOS 7 has been breached by hackers since its launch. What's more, some of these methods have been turned into products that those with less skill – and often more malice – can acquire and exploit.

What's more, the piece points out that an insecure mobile OS can be the entry point for "criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate systems and disrupt sensitive networks".

Far from being an anti-terrorist measure, Federighi seems to suggest that the FBI's request would actively strengthen the overall terrorist position.

Related: Apple vs FBI: Your questions answered

Federighi believes that the back door the FBI wants inserting into iOS "would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all".

In conclusion, Federighi says that "to slow our pace, or reverse our progress, puts everyone at risk".

Sillie Abbe

March 8, 2016, 7:06 am

A backdoor exists.already

Something crucial is apparently overlooked in the discussions over the backdoor. iPhone and many other smart devices already have valid backdoors, namely, a fingerprint scanner or a set of camera and software for capturing faces, irises and other body features, which can be collected from the unyielding, sleeping, unconscious and dead people.

It is now known that the authentication by biometrics usually comes with poorer security than PIN/password-only authentication. If Apple wants to claim that they are conscious of privacy and security, they could tell consumers to turn off the biometric functions. If the authority wants to have those backdoors open, they could tell consumers to keep them turned on all the times. And, security-conscious consumers could certainly refrain from turning them on.

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