The Build-A-Backdoor Edition Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Message To Our Customers, by Tim Cook, Apple

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.


The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.


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 we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.

EFF To Support Apple In Encryption Battle, by Electronic Frontier Foundation

We are supporting Apple here because the government is doing more than simply asking for Apple’s assistance. For the first time, the government is requesting Apple write brand new code that eliminates key features of iPhone security—security features that protect us all. Essentially, the government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone. And once that master key is created, we're certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.

Here's Why The FBI Forcing Apple To Break Into An iPhone Is A Big Deal, by Natalie DiBlasio and Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

There are two things that make this order very dangerous, Opsahl said. The first is the question it raises about who can make this type of demand. If the U.S. government can force Apple to do this, why can't the Chinese or Russian governments?

The second is that while the government is requesting a program to allow it to break into this one, specific iPhone, once the program is created it will essentially be a master key. It would be possible for the government to take this key, modify it and use it on other phones. That risks a lot, that the government will have this power and it will not be misused, he said.

Apple Can Comply With The FBI Court Order, by Dan Guido, Trails Of Bits Blog

I believe it is technically feasible for Apple to comply with all of the FBI’s requests in this case. On the iPhone 5C, the passcode delay and device erasure are implemented in software and Apple can add support for peripheral devices that facilitate PIN code entry. In order to limit the risk of abuse, Apple can lock the customized version of iOS to only work on the specific recovered iPhone and perform all recovery on their own, without sharing the firmware image with the FBI.


Quick Tip: Adjust Startup Sound Volume, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

So here’s the fix: unplug the speakers and wait until you see the option for internal speakers. Then adjust the volume using the slider at the bottom, which will control how loud the startup chime is—if you don’t want a startup chime at all, just lower the volume all the way or select Mute.

Screen Sharing From The Messages App: A Handy Yet Under-used Feature, by Anthony Bouchard, iDownloadBlog

In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you how to start a screen sharing session with an individual you’re messaging via the Messages app on your Mac.

Moving Music Between iPads, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

1Password For Families Lets You Manage Passwords For Your Entire Clan, by Joseph Keller, iMore

With 1Password for Families, each family member gets their own copy of 1Password, and all 1Password apps come free with the subscription. The person in charge of the shared family vault can use the Admin Console to manage members and sharing, just like with 1Password for Teams.

Boxer Pro (For iPhone), by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

Email is a persistent pain for many people. Finding an email app that gives you the tools you need to better manage your particular inbox can make all the difference. If you like to have a lot of control over how your app works, including the ability to customize swipe gestures, you should check out Boxer. With its fast notifications, plentiful customization options, and integrated calendar and contacts list, this iPhone app has a lot to offer.

Monthly: Simple, Quick Budgeting, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Monthly is a money-tracking app aimed at helping you budget and manage your expenses.

The above sentence is notably simple – I wanted to write it that way so that you can understand the philosophy behind Monthly before you even launch it. You'll find that Monthly funnels itself into one area and doesn't budge; for most apps, the reality behind that fact is a kiss of death. But Monthly, in all of its simplicity and speed, stands on its own as an app that does its one job incredibly well.

Dropshare 4 Is A Great Alternative To File Sharing Services, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Recently, Timo Josten released Dropshare 4 for Mac, an app that helps you create your own file sharing by connecting to services like Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Files, or your own server. I was skeptical about whether setting up Dropshare with one of these services would be worth the trouble, but I knew Amazon S3 has a generous free tier, so I thought I would give it and Dropshare for iOS a shot. The setup process was much easier than I anticipated and now with Dropshare I'm spending less, and can do more, with the files I share.

Disk Drill Pro 2 Review: Last Line Of Defense For Mac Data Recovery, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Disk Drill Pro 2 is one such Mac utility for scanning, recovering, restoring, and protecting OS X files and volume partitions. Also available in free Basic and commercial Enterprise editions, the software provides comprehensive data recovery from any type of disk media, including USB flash drives and memory cards.


Google Just Open-sourced A Tool For Testing iOS Apps, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Google announced today that it has open-sourced EarlGrey, a piece of software that developers can use to more easily build and run user interface tests on source code for iOS apps. Written in Objective-C, EarlGrey is available now on GitHub under an open-source Apache license.


Apple Plans $12 Billion Bond Sale For Buybacks And Dividends, by Liz Moyer, New York Times

Apple announced plans on Tuesday to sell up to $12 billion in bonds to pay for share buybacks and dividends, as blue-chip companies test investors’ appetite for debt after two weeks of turbulent markets.

Apple Is Borrowing Money To Fund Eco-friendly Projects, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Green bonds are intended to make it easier for investors to identify environmentally friendly projects. Apple’s debt will follow a set of voluntary guidelines called the Green Bond Principles.

We Need A Better PC, by DC

Is that too much to ask?

Bottom of the Page

I'm just a layperson, and is just trying to understand the security issues with this court order imposed on Apple. But, to me, it doesn't seem like I should be too worried... right?


Thanks for reading.