May 16, 2017

Apple exec seems eerily prescient after cyberattack

Apple

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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Few moments better capture the world into which we've slipped than the decision of one man to order 1.4 billion into lockdown.

Why it matters: India’s three-week lockdown is the largest ever attempted, and it sparked South Asia's greatest migration since partition in 1947. While the economic effects could be devastating, the public health crisis it's intended to fend off could be more destructive still.

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  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
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First U.S. service member dies from coronavirus

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

The Pentagon on Monday announced the death of a member of the New Jersey National Guard who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the first U.S. service member — active, reserve or Guard — to die from the virus, according to the Pentagon. The guardsman passed away on Saturday after being hospitalized for the novel coronavirus on March 21.