May 16, 2017

Apple exec seems eerily prescient after cyberattack



In defending Apple's stance against the FBI last year, Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi penned an op-ed for the Washington Post saying that the government's request for a backdoor into iPhones. The words sound pretty wise in the wake of the massive ransomware attack which made use of an NSA-held vulnerability.

To get around Apple's safeguards, the FBI wants us to create a backdoor in the form of special software that bypasses passcode protections, intentionally creating a vulnerability that would let the government force its way into an iPhone. Once created, this software — which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones — would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all.

Federighi even speculated that the scope of an attack would go beyond the type of credit card and identity theft that was becoming commonplace.

Our nation's vital infrastructure — such as power grids and transportation hubs — becomes more vulnerable when individual devices get hacked. Criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate systems and disrupt sensitive networks may start their attacks through access to just one person's smartphone.

OK, in this case it was PCs, not phones, that were the vulnerable point for the attack. But his point is (or at least should be) well taken. And I would expect Apple to continue building strong security into its products and defending the approach.

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