Who watches the Watchmen?

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:21 am



BoingBoing has a pretty good collection of tweets going over the highlights of Apple's latest briefs.



Ars has more of a general summary.

It's a damn good read; I may go ahead and read the briefs in full.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:30 pm

Ars has had a few entertaining articles about John McAfee's comments on the Apple situation:

McAfee will break iPhone crypto for FBI in 3 weeks or eat shoe on live TV

"With all due respect to Tim Cook and Apple," writes McAfee, "I work with a team of the best hackers on the planet. These hackers attend Defcon in Las Vegas, and they are legends in their local hacking groups, such as HackMiami. They are all prodigies, with talents that defy normal human comprehension. About 75% are social engineers. The remainder are hardcore coders. I would eat my shoe on the Neil Cavuto show if we could not break the encryption on the San Bernardino phone. This is a pure and simple fact." (Emphasis ours because this is totally the best part.)

"So here is my offer to the FBI," he continues. "I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team. We will primarily use social engineering, and it will take us three weeks. If you accept my offer, then you will not need to ask Apple to place a back door in its product, which will be the beginning of the end of America."


Followed by: John McAfee better prepare to eat a shoe because he doesn’t know how iPhones work, which mostly mocks him for the "social engineering" claim, as well as for comments made to the Russian media implying that iPhones store keys in cleartext.

And then, McAfee himself responds: John McAfee tells Ars he’s fighting a lonely battle, but that he’s not lying

He defends himself by saying that his comment about using social engineering to access a dead person's phone was a joke, and that his comments to Russia Today were intentional oversimplifications for a nontechnical audience.

But when it comes down to the issue at hand—whether or not the FBI needs Apple to assist with the iPhone's decryption—McAfee said he's dead serious. When asked if he could crack the iPhone, McAfee insisted, "Yes, absolutely—and anybody could," as long as they had access to the million dollar hardware rig with lasers and acid required to decap the phone's processor and probe it for the phone's UID. "You've got to give them the cash to rent a probe machine," he acknowledged. "I don't have that kind of money, but the FBI has one, [so] let me use theirs—it won't cost anything."

The process McAfee described was a sketch of the same decapping process Ars has previously reported: "You decap the chip, and you use the probe machine to get the UID," which is used in combination with the user's PIN to create the encryption code for the phone's storage. "Now, combined with the UID, that's a near infinite number of possibilities," McAfee continued. "The greatest supercomputer in the world would take a thousand years to do it. If you have the UID, it's trivial—you have a couple of trillion possibilities. Start running it, go have lunch, come back and it's done."

And if the FBI doesn't already have the hardware required, it would be a surprise to McAfee. "I'm positive the FBI has a probe machine," he said. "If they don't, they're going to be behind every other foreign country." If the FBI somehow doesn't have one, he added, "The Chinese have them, so we can rent one. So of course it can be done. And there is no other way to do it, I promise you, not without Apple's help."

Apple, he added, should certainly not be offering the help the FBI has requested. "That's all we need is somebody else getting [Apple's software signing] key. If that happens, they're going to go to Google [as well], and that's 95% of the market, which means we are fucked. And then it's not just 'give me a key to get into the phone, give me a key where I can get into it from the comfort of the FBI office.' You know where it's headed. We're fucked if that happens."


Okay, that article makes him sound like he might actually know what the fuck he's talking about.

I'm not going to lie: at this point, he is the leading candidate for my increasingly inevitable third-party protest vote come November. I know he's a clown, and my objections to the Libertarian platform are well-documented (though "pardon every person who's in prison for marijuana" is definitely something I can get behind) -- but what the hell, it's not like my vote is accidentally going to elect him or anything, and in a race between Trump and Clinton, my choice is pretty much McAfee or voting Stein again.

And as far as important issues facing America, well, I'd put corporate control of our political system up at the top, but government spying and lawmakers' lack of understanding of technology are pretty far up there too. I can see my way toward supporting a candidate who understands that computers aren't magic.

USA Today wrote:In his spare time, McAfee has developed a computer program to predict world events. Among them: On Dec. 26, India's chief mobster will retire and name a successor.


God dammit, McAfee.

User avatar
Sharkey
Posts: 619
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:11 pm
Location: Send Lawyers, Guns and Money
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Sharkey » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:46 pm

Thad wrote:in a race between Trump and Clinton, my choice is pretty much McAfee or voting Stein again.


I'm probably going to write in Jimmy Carter. Again.
Image

User avatar
Mothra
Woah Dangsaurus
Posts: 3158
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:12 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Mothra » Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:00 am

Of all people, McAfee is the one keeping this fucking crucial conversation going.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:24 am

Sharkey wrote:I'm probably going to write in Jimmy Carter. Again.


I don't have much use for political parties, but there are matching funds to consider. I could see this being a good year for third-party candidates, and if any of them are going to crack 5%, it's going to be the Libertarians. And while I think they're out to lunch on pretty much their entire economic policy, I see a lot of benefit to their becoming a larger part of the national conversation (mainly on privacy and the drug war, and while their foreign policy is a mixed bag they at least tend to be reluctant to start wars).

That said, both the Libertarians and Greens got matching funds in '12, based on campaign contributions rather than vote share in '08. So they may not even need my help (and matching funds, on balance, probably won't make a hell of a lot of difference anyway).

Mothra wrote:Of all people, McAfee is the one keeping this fucking crucial conversation going.


Well, he's hardly the only guy talking about it; it's been all over the news. And Oliver did a good segment on it last week, and then talked about it on Colbert's show. Hell, even fucking Michael Hayden just came out with a fairly nuanced and reasonable take on the issue (he thinks Apple needs to make its case that complying in this single instance threatens security for everybody, but he opposes the government's efforts to add backdoors to break encryption).

But yeah, McAfee's the only one running for President who seems to understand the technical issues here. At least, when he's not cracking jokes about using social engineering on dead people. (I'm inclined to believe him when he says his biggest messaging problem is that he says things that are -- to him -- obvious jokes or sarcasm and then the media reports them with a completely straight face. My "God dammit, McAfee" aside, I have to assume he was at least mostly joking about his computer program for predicting the future.)

And I think I appreciate his stance: the FBI has the right to use every tool at its disposal to crack that phone, but not to compel Apple to do it.

I think O'Malley probably understood these issues better than anybody else on the Democratic side (and he's the only one who said outright that we should pardon Snowden), but even he spoke about trying to balance strong encryption with a means for the government to break it. Which is not a thing. The closest thing to a "balance" is what McAfee is proposing: the FBI using a million dollars' worth of equipment involving lasers and acid to find the phone's UID, and leaving Apple the fuck out of it. And he acknowledges outright that if our government can do it, that means the Chinese government can do it too.

User avatar
Rico
Posts: 461
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:29 am

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Rico » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:49 pm

Oh look, as soon as the DoJ got legal pushback, they've mysteriously found out they can unlock the phone on their own...
On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook's iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:17 pm

That method? Per Ars, an "iOS forensics expert" theorizes that they're just fucking making a backup of the contents of the NAND chip that they can restore from every 10 tries.

There is absolutely no way that the FBI just thought of this, just now. It is the first fucking thing you think of if you're doing potentially destructive data recovery.

Hell, even if they got their custom firmware from Apple, it would be grossly irresponsible for them to go to work with it without backing the NAND up first.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:11 pm

Justice Department to drop 'FBI vs. Apple' case, because they've unlocked the iPhone

The #FBIvsApple legal case may be over, but the fight over security, privacy, and the right to live free of surveillance has just begun.


I look forward to future congressional hearings on encryption where somebody says, "Mr. Comey, you previously stated that it was impossible to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's phone without Apple's help. Why should we believe you now?"

Meanwhile, Stross has a lengthy post up: Follow the money: Apple vs. the FBI, questioning Apple's sudden interest in security.

tl;dr It's Apple Pay. Stross believes that Apple Pay is not just an attempt to replace Visa and Mastercard, it's the first step toward Apple actually starting its own bank.

Even if it is only the former, security is going to be paramount, and customers' trust in their data security has much higher stakes than just leaked photos of Jennifer Lawrence's boobies.

User avatar
TA
Posts: 1547
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:58 pm

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby TA » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:13 pm

Yeah, "This is absolutely necessary for the security of Apple Pay and in fact Apple would be completely irresponsible if they didn't do this" was the big apology line when iPhones that had been third-party repaired were suddenly bricking themselves a couple months back.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful


User avatar
Mongrel
Posts: 8821
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:28 pm
Location: Canadumb

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Mongrel » Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:55 pm

Well, it's finally here. The commercial version anyway.

Bloomberg: New data-metric company claims to have built a profile of every adult in America
Image

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:34 am

Techdirt: Did The FBI Get Confused And Arrest One Of Its Own Informants For Helping Create One Of Its Own Plots?

So far it's just an allegation, but even if it's false it's alarming that it's plausible.

There really should be more discussion about the Own Plots/entrapment program.

Speaking of which,

FBI Agent Apparently Egged on ‘Draw Muhammad’ Shooter.

Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent.

“Tear up Texas,” the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit (pdf) filed in federal court Thursday.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:21 am

Assange said he'd give himself up if the US granted clemency to Chelsea Manning. According to his lawyer, he intends to keep his word.

Of course, as he puts it, he's "agreeing to US extradition", which...nobody has actually requested yet. It's a perfectly likely result, but as of right now, the only charges against him are for rape, and (officially) have nothing to do with Wikileaks.

Been awhile since we've been over Assange, but IIRC my views are basically with the consensus around these parts: he's done some good and some bad; he's driven by ego rather than his self-professed dedication to the truth; it's entirely possible that the rape charges are legitimate but it's also quite clear that multiple world governments haven't spent the last 5 years trying to arrest him because they think he's a rapist.

The events of the last six months add some context and some examples, but they don't really alter my opinion of the guy, which was already not very high.

User avatar
TA
Posts: 1547
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:58 pm

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby TA » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:44 pm

The rape charges are absolutely legitimate - Julian Assange is a rapist who has been fleeing prosecution for rape long before there was any talk of still-yet-to-be-leveled espionage charges - but also his recent AMA showed he's a completely compromised Russian stooge at this point.

It's moot, though, because coward that he is, he's playing semantics games and not standing by his word at all.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

User avatar
Mongrel
Posts: 8821
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:28 pm
Location: Canadumb

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:21 pm

Image

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 5579
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Who watches the Watchmen?

Postby Thad » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:09 am

Which is another good entry in the "Trump is just like Arpaio" list, because Arpaio once demanded that the New Times release a log of every single IP that had ever hit its website.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests