Friday Squid Blogging: Up Close and Personal with a Giant Squid

Fascinating story.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

Posted on February 19, 2016 at 4:17 PM • 99 Comments

Comments

TõnisFebruary 19, 2016 5:05 PM

Very strong case against the US fedgov:

the part in Constitution forbidding involuntary servitude.

PizzaCupFebruary 19, 2016 5:08 PM

Makes an interesting case: "What many haven’t considered is the significant difference – in the legal world – between providing lab services and developing what the courts will consider an instrument."

http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=5645

Friday funny: apparently John McAffee was on Fox News trying to talk sense to a talking head towing the Stasi line

ianfFebruary 19, 2016 6:15 PM


This may be OT, but so way beyond satire it can but be true: the US Navy has assembled a “crack Microsoft Eradication Team” tasked with bringing up its many ships' computer hardware OS to date, or at least to speed up their migration from still uniformly deployed Windows XP (2001) to Windows 7 (released 2009), if not the whole hog of Win10. You couldn't make this up.

THE NAVY'S MOST TENACIOUS ENEMY MAY BE WINDOWS XP
by Sarah Laskow / 18 Feb 2016

AlanSFebruary 19, 2016 7:55 PM

Big Victory: Judge Pushes Jewel v. NSA Forward

Judge Jeffrey White has authorized EFF, on behalf of the plaintiffs, to conduct discovery against the NSA. We had been barred from doing so since the case was filed in 2008, which meant that the government was able to prevent us from requesting important information about how these programs worked. This marks the first time a party has been allowed to gather factual evidence from the NSA in a case involving the agency’s warrantless surveillance. The government had fought all our requests to proceed with this lawsuit, arguing that the state secrets privilege protects it against both discovery and liability.

Marcos El MaloFebruary 19, 2016 8:08 PM

I see that the government shills are out in full force today. I'd love to see the part of the DOJ budget that funds their FUD campaign.

-------

@Jacob
What in particular did you find strong in the government's case? I found their arguments both weak, disingenuous, and troubling.

Their argument that there are many precedents for the government to compel someone to create a new product is bereft of applicable citations. Their one example, of forcing a defendant to decrypt a hard drive, is irrelevant to their argument as nothing new was created in that circumstance. I find it troubling that the DOJ would pull a weak stunt like this and equally troubling that a judge would accept this cite at face value.

The claims that this is a marketing ploy or publicity stunt by Apple ignores all those organizations and companies rushing to Apple's side, including retired members of the intelligence community. It ignores one of the basic facts: that the DOJ is demanding that Apple create a product that breaks the company's best selling products, conflating an important marketable function with marketing.

If you believe that we have a right to security, the government does not make a convincing case. If you believe that we only have a right to whatever security the government is willing to provide, I suppose you're already on the DOJ's side.

When the courts broaden government power, it is never a one time thing. This isn't about just one phone. This is about our ability to secure our data.

@Very Interesting
Specifically, what is it in that document that Apple doesn't want us to see? Apple makes no secret that it complies with ordinary court orders. They've made no secret that they turned over unencrypted iCloud data as required by law. The government is seeking new powers here, and their motion doesn't succeed in disguising that fact.

Desmond Brennan February 19, 2016 8:13 PM

In my post here , I outline some techniques that anticipate an adversary breaching your security. If IT vendors built in support for de/obfuscators "zero day" attacks would have far less potency. With storage and computation being so cheap, the time for building such into the file system has come.

Marcos El MaloFebruary 19, 2016 8:25 PM

@Pizza Cup
Thanks for that link! It explains well the difference between this court order (creating a forensic instrument) and previous orders that required Apple to perform forensic services. I'll definitely be re-using this link.

The government's case continues to erode as more experts explain why this court order is a bad idea.

Marcos El MaloFebruary 19, 2016 8:38 PM

@ianf

I have to wonder how much it would cost the Navy (or the government as a whole) to create and support their own OS, either from scratch or as a fork of an open source OS. I really have no idea, but j would bet it would be less than their ongoing support costs for MS Windows.

Judge Judy, ready to ruleFebruary 19, 2016 8:56 PM

@jacob, Strong Case? FBI's hack lawyers already stepped on their crank. In any grown-up independent court, they would get the bum's rush. FBI claims "no provision of any other law justifies limitation of that All Writs Act authority."

FBI is hoping that Sheri Pym is ignorant of the subsequent ratification of ICCPR Article 17, compliance with which requires that integrity and confidentiality of correspondence should be guaranteed de jure and de facto. FBI is demanding that Apple modify its business practices and forgo future profits to undermine the right to privacy.

Leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant makes Article 17 prevail over the All Writs Act. So does lex specialis. And in accordance with the Charming Betsy canon, an act of Congress ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible construction remains. Claims of interpretive discretion on the grounds of state sovereignty may not deprive the defendant of bedrock, foundational rights, which is exactly what human rights are.

Most judges are vetted for hopeless ignorance of human rights - that's why the US judicial system is an international laughingstock - so FBI might just get away with it. Guaranteed, Sheri Pym is blissfully ignorant of all of this.

Apple's best bet is to go over the judge's head and initiate arbitration under UNCITRAL rules, since FBI's demand is going to crush Apple's competitive standing in foreign markets.

ThothFebruary 19, 2016 10:23 PM

@all
Re: Apple fiasco
It takes two hands to clap as the common saying goes. Apple didn't fortify their products well and deliberately left possibilities of data acquisition by allowing earlier precedent for custom firmware hacks and iCloud data sunc backdoors thus the saying if you feed a tiger once, it will come back for more. This is exactly the same scenario that the tiger has came back for more.

If they qant they should do a thorough job otherwise don't do a half done job at security which is sure to backfire.

ianfFebruary 19, 2016 11:44 PM


@ Marcos El Malo

Re: THE NAVY'S MOST TENACIOUS ENEMY MAY BE WINDOWS XP

Since when was CO$T of any priority to any branch of US defense RHETORICAL Q. In fact, the opposite is true, as lesser costs = smaller future budgets = weaker negotiating position in and out of Pentagon, etc. As for creating their own OS that's not supported by any supplier #fuggedaboutit. Quite apart from the CYA syndrome, the constantly rotated crews manning the consoles would have to be taught the basics over and over again. The Navy is not there to teach the kids the computers, the Navy is there to protect its status as THE Monopoly Defender of Our Shores—if half away across the globe.

RelentlessFebruary 20, 2016 1:21 AM

@Thoth

Apple didn't fortify their products well and deliberately left possibilities of data acquisition by allowing earlier precedent for custom firmware hacks and iCloud data sunc backdoors thus the saying if you feed a tiger once, it will come back for more. This is exactly the same scenario that the tiger has came back for more.

@Marcos El Mayo

What in particular did you find strong in the government's case? I found their arguments both weak, disingenuous, and troubling.

@AlanS

We had been barred from doing so since the case was filed in 2008, which meant that the government was able to prevent us from requesting important information about how these programs worked.

And, etc.


Issue: "the government", more specifically, "The Government".


It is funny how "the government" can be divided. Intelligence has one view, generally in support of Apple. And "law enforcement" has another view, against them. Then, there are more specific particulars. You have the DoJ opposed to their own division, the FBI, and so on.

Who is The Government.

The Government, to me, is who ultimately wins the cases. Anything before then is just talk.


A great and very pertinent, "for instance", J Edgar Hoover thought he was "The Government", yet he lost a lot of his battles, and is remembered in infamy.

There were plenty supposedly representing The Government, against Civil Rights, and they lost. And ended up not being "The Government", but shills of "the government", wannabes, who are either forgotten to history, or worse, condemned.


Who wins the battle, tomorrow, is The Government. And, who is currently the victor, is The Government.

Right now, the FBI is trying to beat Apple. They are trying to change Apple. They also want - some parties want - ubiquitous backdoors in all American software and hardware.

They do not have that now. So their will is frustrated. They get the banner of "The Government" (I suppose), but they do not have it.


Criminals want bank funds to them. So, they rob banks. If they get away with it and get to spend their money, then those funds are theirs.

If not, it was just a pipe dream. They are but dreamers. They failed.

The money was not theirs.


Devil's advocate opinion, I know. If there is a Shadow Government, in the US, it must be pure evil, right? Because diabolical thinking is smarter then righteous thinking. And there is no God, right.


RelentlessFebruary 20, 2016 2:00 AM

@Marcos El Malo

I see that the government shills are out in full force today. I'd love to see the part of the DOJ budget that funds their FUD campaign.

Honestly, I think no one who is a government shill, with their TS clearance would dare post here. I would love to find some adversarial thought, but do not find it.

As an American who has an extremely suspicious resume and background, I would be surprised if I were not routinely under some manner of investigation because of my outspoken opinions. And fuck if anyone could get me on anything.

I have literally had both foreign and domestic investigations against me. And? Fuck them. They can never prove anything.

Domestic or foreign, alike, it will be shut down.

They can "know", but without proof, what does that mean. A gun without bullets. Viewing what they can not stop.

This whole idea that people have to get together to fight evil, because supernatural forces are for evil and against good is utter bullshit.

Good is competence. Evil is incompetence.

The world is changing for the better. Evil gets a lot of face time. And that, nowadays, is simply so they can get the final sting.


This lack of faith people have these days... disturbs me.

Rofl.


:-) :-)

UhuFebruary 20, 2016 3:21 AM

Re: Apple
I thought there were numerous companies out there claiming to be able to brute force the passcode without triggering the lockout (somehow via the connector). Why can't they help? Did Apple fix this security hole?

How should this assistance from Apple help exactly? Are they supposed to be able to install a software upgrade on a locked phone? How? If this works via the connector (and not some authenticated web service) then I would be very surprised if others (like the NSA's TAO team or McAffee's hacker team) cannot do it, too.

Instead of making software changes, couldn't Apple restore a backup with the previous iCloud password to let the phone sync with the iCloud account (undoing the password change)? Depending on how iCloud is implemented on the server side, it might not even be necessary to restore the whole backup; maybe Apple can just restore the hash of the previous password.

VFebruary 20, 2016 4:27 AM

re: Apple
The Feds are pushing sooo hard on a cold case. It's not like the suspects are going to start shooting anyone.

Latest UpdateFebruary 20, 2016 5:25 AM

Apple had agreed to create the tool that the FBI wanted providing it was kept a secret. Apple begged the FBI to have the court order made under seal but the FBI decided to make it public, and therefore, political.

"Apple had asked the F.B.I. to issue its application for the tool under seal. But the government made it public, prompting Mr. Cook to go into bunker mode to draft a response, according to people privy to the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The result was the letter that Mr. Cook signed on Tuesday, where he argued that it set a “dangerous precedent” for a company to be forced to build tools for the government that weaken security."

https://twitter.com/thegrugq/status/700751553485877249

(Page 30 of the document shows that it was kept "under seal".)

http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/SB-shooter-MOTION-seeking-asst-iPhone.pdf

.February 20, 2016 6:10 AM

Another step for Security Theater.

Fitbits and other smart watches are now banned at US consulates.
Website is not updated to reflect this and they have an A4 paper taped to the sign to say: "it's on the list"

I could share my personal story but I'll spare the details.

What can you really do with an activity tracker or smartwatch and why would anyone think it is a legitimate threat?

JacobFebruary 20, 2016 6:49 AM

@ . •

Prediction: In a few years, a visitor to a US consulate will have to either:

1. Be Stripped naked, searched and offered a hospital gown before getting in.

2. Be scanned and then escorted into a video chat room where s/he can talk to an embassy / consulate personnel.
A photo / fingerprint can be taken, as required, by the equipment in the room. Major CC are accepted by the terminal at the corner.

Probably the 2nd choice.

mike~ackerFebruary 20, 2016 7:09 AM

Solution to the iPhone access issue:

have the cops FedEx their "subject devices" to Cupertino
include a check and copy of search warrant .

Jewel vs NSAFebruary 20, 2016 7:47 AM

The Courts need to pull their finger out; it has been 8 years already.

In the court of public opinion, this case is a no-brainer victory for the masses under the 4th amendment, but the government insists on serious mental gymnastics to argue their case.

The EFF slam dunks their BS nicely here:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/10/automated-mass-surveillance-unconstitutional-eff-explains-jewel-v-nsa

Key quotes:

Under this surveillance, the government makes a full copy of everything that travels through key Internet backbone locations, like AT&T’s peering links. The government says that it then does some rudimentary filtering and searches through the filtered copies, looking for specific “selectors,” like email addresses. ... The government . . . contends that [Fourth Amendment] principles have no application here, where the government is unequivocally breaching the security and privacy of the papers and effects of millions of individuals. Its position essentially is that it can circumvent the Fourth Amendment’s core principles by copying communications in transit instead of taking physical possession of the originals, and by searching their contents very quickly with computers instead of searching them with humans. The government further contends that if one of its purposes for the copying and searching the communications is foreign intelligence, then the circumvention is complete, and the Internet has for all practical purposes become a Fourth-Amendment-free zone. The government is wrong. ... We explain that the act of copying entire communications streams passing through splitters at AT&T facilities is an unconstitutional seizure of individuals’ “papers” and “effects.” This should be obvious—our “papers” today often travel over the Internet in digital form rather than being stored in our homes—but the government contends that unless it physically interferes with individuals’ possession of some tangible property, it cannot “seize” anything. This is not so. If it were true that conversations could not be “seized” except by taking possession of physical objects, all warrantless wiretapping (where “recording” is a form of “copying” communications) would be constitutional.

Now, understand the real reason the government is defending dragnet surveillance and communications monitoring: POWER AND CONTROL.

How? Well, when you combine it with the FBI's new vague definition of 'terrorism threat disruptions', well, you get Hoover's COINTELPRO on steroids:

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/18/fbi-wont-explain-its-bizarre-new-way-of-measuring-its-success-fighting-terror/

But the definition was vague: “A disruption is defined as interrupting or inhibiting a threat actor from engaging in criminal or national security related activity. A disruption is the result of direct actions and may include but is not limited to the arrest; seizure of assets; or impairing the operational capabilities of key threat actors.” ... “That the FBI actually sets a performance goal stating the specific number of terrorist disruptions it wants to accomplish over the year would seem to create an incentive to gin up cases where no real threat might exist.” ... “Has the FBI secretly prevented people from getting jobs, hazmat licenses, gun permits, security clearances, or barred their travel where no charges were brought, providing no opportunity for them to challenge the accusations against them or prove their innocence? And then chalked that up as a successful ‘disruption’ so they would get a pat on the back and more resources from Congress, regardless of whether the person was actually guilty? ... The Congressional Research Service report noted that such methods are reminiscent of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, and particularly the COINTELPRO program, which engaged in “preventive, covert, intelligence-based efforts to target and contain people, groups, or movements suspected by the Bureau to be ‘rabble rousers,’ ‘agitators,’ ‘key activists,’ or ‘key black extremists.’” The FBI “relied on illegal means to curb constitutionally protected activity it deemed threatening to national security."

Will people wake up and smell the fascism already??

Clive RobinsonFebruary 20, 2016 8:14 AM

@ ".",

Fitbits and other smart watches are now banned at US consulates.

The devices contain various transducers that can pick up all kinds of information and store it away, they also have radio interfaces that can be effected or can effect equipment in consulate buildings.

As such they do represent an eavesdropping threat as well as one that potentialy could be repurposed to attack systems in various ways.

Without knowing a lot more about any individual device it would be difficult which specific threats it could be used for unmodified. But there is the secondary issue of in what way the internals of such a device could be changed or compromised...

If you are in charge of security, your life and that of guards etc becomes a lot easier if you have an outright ban on such devices.

@ Jacob,

Probably the 2nd choice.

Or both... After all why pass up the opportunity to humiliate, degrade and rob the sheeple, to the maximum extent possible at the cheapest possible price?

After all "freemarket economics" positively demands it and worse as "optimal solutions"... After all why put people through expensive scanning equipment with expensive maintanence and opperator training, when any old knuckle dragger can use their mark 1 eyeball, an elbow length black rubber glove and a flashlight, all with minimal operator training required...

Afterall nobody is forcing you to use consular services...

meFebruary 20, 2016 9:48 AM

@ . *

> What can you really do with an activity tracker or smartwatch and why would anyone think it is a legitimate threat?

It has been shown that a device on your wrist with sensors, accelerometers and the like, can deduce what you are typing on a keyboard. Think passwords, documents, etc.

It is so fashionable these days to be a Luddite in security circles. Modern tech is not your friend. So don't wear a smartwatch, smash that stylish phone you once stupidly coveted and for gawds-sake don't hook up your propaganda spewing TV* to the internets. And when they are finally done with you, you'll be using candles for light.

* The pro-FBI Apple coverage is a perfect example of this. With their fake opinion altering agenda polls and totally-in-bed on-the-payroll natzsec reporters spewing every waking thought of James B. Comey without question.

Dave in heavenFebruary 20, 2016 11:23 AM

Sniff Comey's Apple writ and you get a whiff of that telltale Brennan smell. The password got changed while the government had the subject device in its possession. Gee, one more roadblock impeding investigation of yet another CIA-linked terror chump. Who woulda ever thunk it? No doubt Comey is terribly frustrated to be made a fool of once again. But it's not Apple's problem.

Marcos El MaloFebruary 20, 2016 11:36 AM

@me
Way back in the day when I was rebellious and anti-social, but before buying drugs supported the tarrarrists, I had a speed freak housemate. If you are at all familiar with methamphetamine addicts (I hope not for your own sake) you might know they are prone to psychotic breaks.

Anyway, this roommate had a habit of breaking light bulbs during his periods of paranoia. He was checking for hidden devices. Absolutely no reason for him to do so, afaik. No one had any reason to surveil him. It was kind of a running joke in that crowd that S. was unreasonably paranoid (as opposed to reasonably).

These days I'm not so sure, with LED and fluorescent lightbulbs. So if you're a high tech Luddite, you might want to restrict your lighting to clear incandescent bulbs. I'm serious (or at least 50% serious). Likely you've already stocked up for the day they are unavailable.

@Uhu
The problem is that after the phone came into the FBI's possession, someone changed the AppleID password. The last update on that said it was the County of San Bernadino that did it (they were the perp's employer, owned the phone, and owned the Apple account associated with the phone). Oops! So, FBI screwed the pooch on this, and are now demanding that Apple modify its business, undermine its product lines, and hurt its law abiding customers. And for what? They have no reasonable certainty that they will find new actionable information, let alone urgent information.

There has never been any doubt that Apple cooperates with law enforcement's reasonable requests. If you search their site, you will find policy pages that say as much. Those that are saying things like "Apple doesn't want you to know that they already share data with law enforcement!" are either trying to undermine Apple's case v. the FBI, or they are garden variety Apple haters that can't resist the opportunity to spread anti-Apple FUD. (For the record, there is a lot wrong at Apple, but this isn't one of them.) Anyway, all U.S. tech companies comply with reasonable and legal law enforcement requests. This has been the case since forever.

@Jacob
I'm certain that some form of scanning (metal detectors at least) are in operation at some consulates. Once every year or two I have cause to visit a U.S. consular agency (not a full consulate) in Mexico. The consular agent and his staff are behind bank glass and regular business is transacted through a teller-type window. Previous to this set up, the agency was located in offices in an old historic building (Colonial Architecture, if you are familiar with it). Waiting room, a couple of desks for the staff that handled routine business, and the consular agent's office. (Possibly/probably other rooms to which I'm not privy). At any rate, that was five years ago that they still used the old offices. Something must have happened since to cause the change in protocol. ;-)

Marcos El MaloFebruary 20, 2016 11:57 AM

@Relentless
"Criminals want bank funds to them. So, they rob banks. If they get away with it and get to spend their money, then those funds are theirs."

The smart ones own banks.

Regarding "The Government", it's important to remember (at least keeping it in the back of your head) that the U.S. government is NOT monolithic. It's composed of many parts, some of which are rival bureaucracies, all of which compete for funding. Some are rival branches by design (executive, legislative, judicial). (I think this gets confusing for those not familiar with the U.S. system because a paragraph or essay might use the word government in different ways.)

Anyway, I take some comfort in the nature of bureaucracy because it can effectively hamstring any shadow government that might exist or that might want to come into existence.

One more thing: I'm not sure the conspirators of this putative shadow government are evil (or Evil, if you prefer). I'm fairly certain that they have the best intentions for all of us. The problem is that their methods are evil, but they are too blind to see it (their blindness is another thing you might take comfort in: the same blindness to the moral nature of their actions blinds them to many other things).

Marcos El MaloFebruary 20, 2016 12:14 PM

@Latest News
You're mistaking common practice for something sneaky. It's not at all unusual for tech companies to ask courts to keep filings under seal. This isn't a smoking gun. The FBI taking the case to the court of public opinion forced Apple to respond publicly. There is no proof that apply was going to comply with the FBI's request if the request was kept confidential.

Basically, you're jumping to a conclusion. You're reasoning without supporting evidence to fill the gap between keeping a request confidential and acquiescence to that request. Furthermore, you are ignoring strong evidence that Apple might be on the high ground v. the DOJ. If I might jump to my own conclusion, you are trying to bolster the government's case because you are against our right to secure our computers and data.

But, hey, keep spinning that anti-Apple narrative if it makes you feel better about yourself or pays the bills. Although may I suggest a career in telemarketing might boost your self esteem and provide an honest living?

Latest NewsFebruary 20, 2016 2:35 PM

@Marcos El Malo

Before adopting your aggressive attitude you should get your facts right. Here's a direct quote:

"The government is also aware of multiple other unpublished orders in this district and across the country (obtained by ex parte application) compelling Apple to assist in the execution of a search warrant by accessing the data on devices running earlier versions of
orders with which Apple complied."

    So Apple have been co-operating and here's the "supporting evidence".


"In the past, Apple has consistently complied with a significant number of orders issued pursuant to the All Writs Act to facilitate the execution of search warrants on Apple devices running earlier versions of iOS."

    More "supporting evidence" to demonstrate Apple's co-operation.


"As Apple has stated on its web page, "Our commitment to customer privacy doesn't stop because of a government information request. Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

Additional evidence to show that Apple have misled the public (and possibly the courts as well).

"Notably, notwithstanding this previous statement, Apple concedes that it has retained the ability to do as the Court ordered.

    Apple have admitted they can do this.

Come on @Marcus El Malo - get your facts straight. You've just made yourself look like a total moron.

Morris BetterFebruary 20, 2016 2:48 PM

From:

Upgrade Your iPhone Passcode to Defeat the FBI’s Backdoor Strategy
Micah Lee

"If you’re worried about governments trying to access your phone, set your iPhone up with a random, 11-digit numeric passcode. What follows is an explanation of why that will protect you and how to actually do it.

What if you use a longer passcode? Here’s how long the FBI would need:

seven-digit passcodes will take up to 9.2 days, and on average 4.6 days, to crack
eight-digit passcodes will take up to three months, and on average 46 days, to crack
nine-digit passcodes will take up to 2.5 years, and on average 1.2 years, to crack
10-digit passcodes will take up to 25 years, and on average 12.6 years, to crack
11-digit passcodes will take up to 253 years, and on average 127 years, to crack
12-digit passcodes will take up to 2,536 years, and on average 1,268 years, to crack
13-digit passcodes will take up to 25,367 years, and on average 12,683 years, to crack..."

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/18/passcodes-that-can-defeat-fbi-ios-backdoor/

So, the bottom line is Apple security is as good as the user wants it to be. And if the user wants to be sure jack booted police state agents can't get in, there is a way.

Although not addressed in this article, I would guess a GOOD 8 character alphanumeric passcode would be pretty strong, taking a few hundred years to brute force.

Last thought: Virtually everyone on either side of this issue isn't a crook or a terrorist, but they do have positions about how much power and rights the government should have over us.

So, whether for or against either party doesn't make a user a bad guy or a good guy, just somebody with an opinion.

Marcos El MaloFebruary 20, 2016 3:45 PM

@Latest BS
Apple isn't concealing that it cooperates with LE when presented with a lawful court order. Indeed, they already cooperated to the fullest extent they could with what information and tools that they have. Every U.S. company does this. You've set up a straw man, the same talking points that the DOJ has disseminated to the media.

Apple's objection is that this court order compels them to create a new forensic tool to backdoor the security features in iOS 8 and iOS 9. Apple is challenging the lawfulness on this court order because the demand creates and undue burden, one of the limitations of the AWA. The undue burden might be for various reasons, but the primary reason is that 1) ordering a company to create something new that 2) damages that company is an undue burden.

Let me repeat: the forensic tool does not exist and Apple doesn't intend to bring it into existence. That is different than Apple currently has this ability. This is also consistent with Apple's claims regarding the safety of device data (data at rest on the device). They don't have the capability. Elsewhere they claim that they don't want that capability. Quoting the motion to compel doesn't prove this.

You've cherry picked a few paragraphs of the NYT article, when the rest of the article doesn't support your point. You're repeating government talking points. You've presented the DOJ's argument as fact. You are misrepresenting Apple's published policy on cooperating with law enforcement. In short, you are purveying government FUD. The conclusion I jumped to didn't require a great leap.

I have the facts. I'm just not twisting them and spinning the story. I don't have the expertise of Clive, Nick P, ianf, Dirk, or other regular posters, but I'm not the one looking like a total moron in this debate. Instead, I think it's an anonymous troll that comes off quite badly.

It's quite plausible that this attack on Apple is part of the grand campaign to limit everyone's security capabilities, particularly encryption and its implementation. It's no secret that the FBI is demanding a backdoor, and it is not surprising that they would want to damage Apple publicly. It sends a chilling message to other companies that would offer security products to the public. It's not surprising that the media is filled with DOJ talking points (that goes beyond the usually lack of expertise); it's pretty clear that the DOJ had prepared a media campaign.

That said, it is going out on a limb to accuse you of being a government astroturfer, despite all your actions supporting such an accusation. You might be a garden variety troll.

Anyway, I'm not going to waste any more time with you unless you can offer some new insight. The FUD is not cutting the mustard.

JacobFebruary 20, 2016 4:33 PM

It is now appears that the SB county employee who reset the iPhone PW did so on a FBI demand.

"Late Friday night, the county’s Twitter account, @CountyWire, acknowledged that the password for the iCloud account had been reset.

“The County was working cooperatively with the FBI when it reset the iCloud password at the FBI’s request,” the tweet read."

I think that the FBI is now sorry for not going confidential on the court order, per Apple request, to avoid public humiliation.

http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20160219/san-bernardino-county-tweets-it-reset-terrorists-icloud-password-with-fbi

chris lFebruary 20, 2016 5:11 PM

Marcos El Malo said:

"It's quite plausible that this attack on Apple is part of the grand campaign to limit everyone's security capabilities, particularly encryption and its implementation. It's no secret that the FBI is demanding a backdoor..."

The FBI/DOJ/LEO have been trying for decades to get a back door built into encryption and have consistently been unsuccessful legislatively. If they can get this through, and get it to succeed after all the appeals, then they can go do the FISA court and quietly get back doors installed everywhere with just a few court orders and no need for legislative action. So if they succeed, it's probably no longer enough to keep shooting down legislation that would mandate a back door - it will be necessary to get legislation prohibiting LE from demanding back doors.

Sancho_PFebruary 20, 2016 5:47 PM


@Marcos El Malo, Pizza Cup, re: Zdziarski and “Forensic Methodology”
(http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=5645)

Good point with the instrument, however very likely data from the phone would not have to be used in court, only to assist at further investigations.
(Assume they’d find a picture of someone together with Farook, that’s not enough to make a case against that individual)
So I doubt those restrictions would apply.


Not sure why we have 2 Apple threads now?

AndrewJFebruary 20, 2016 6:44 PM

For the legal side re the Apple case, Orin Kerr has some write-ups in the Washington Post here and here.

TL;DR version:

This case is like a crazy-hard law school exam hypothetical in which a professor gives students an unanswerable problem just to see how they do.

Mark MayerFebruary 20, 2016 6:45 PM

@Sancho_P
That's a fair point, but I think I can address it. In your example, the FBI finds a photo that helps them identify a suspect, but doesn't use the photo in the subsequent trial. The problem here is that the photo is either part of the investigation (but not the prosecutions trial evidence). The defense can now ask about the photo and how it was found and how it was used in the investigation. They can ask if it was used to develop other evidence, and call that other evidence into question - if you get a chance, look up "Fruit of the Poison Tree" as an evidentiary principle.

On the other hand, if the photo disappears from the investigation file, there are legal issues including parallel construction and suppression of evidence.

Could the FBI use the example photo to uncover and stop a terrorist plot? Sure, I guess it's possible. Once the plot was foiled, would they not prosecute because of the promise made to Apple? I don't think so. And once they prosecute a suspect, it opens the possibility of the tool/vulnerability getting out. The DOJ nor this court is in a position to make that promise to Apple.

Who?February 20, 2016 6:53 PM

Oh, I have just seen AlanS has commented on the Jewel vs. NSA case on this blog entry yesterday.

ianfFebruary 20, 2016 7:09 PM


@ Morris Better

Micah Lee may have all the theoretical proofs on his side, but his brute-force-defying password lengths recommendation assumes a passive and democratic FBI/ state adversary, not some that has evolved (or more like it devolved) into a rogue agent.

    Once upon a time CIA only abetted mercenaries to unseat and/or kill elected foreign officials not to USA's liking. But with time its methods devolved to include torture (which their own & the Pentagon's tame legal eagles declared not-torture)—so what's to stop the FBI from following suit? They've probably already psyched themselves into a state of feeling "emasculated by encryption," hence i‍.‍m‍.‍p‍.‍o‍.‍t‍.‍e‍.‍n‍.‍t‍., which is why they now act like they do.
We've already read of the Chicago PD that disappeared 7000 never formally charged, nor even recorded in police blotters, suspects for days on end. As LBJ said (paraphrased) "once they've got your balls in a vice, your 13-digit password will instantly disclose itself."


@ NotYouAgain

If @ thegrugq is right,

    Is the FBI playing politics?

    Yes. […] They are being extremely cynical… they have selected a case which will cast the tech vendors in the worst possible light. […]

… one has to wonder: does FBI r.e.a.l.l.y. imagine that it could force perhaps the highest amiable public profile US tech company into handling them their crown jewels?

Honestly, given that today's battles are won as much in the court of public opinion, as in courts proper, it wouldn't surprise me if the (on some level) intended outcome of all that was to show the public HOW MUCH THE TERROR-FIGHTING FBI IS BEING HOBBLED BY THE LAWS. Call it a perverted form of preventive CoverYourAss-logic[k].


@ Marcos El Malo claims not to have the expertise of Clive, Nick P, ianf, Dirk, or other regular posters

FTR the others above sound experienced in low-level hardware/ software hacking, and are fast typists besides; whereas in comparison I'm at best a 4-finger besserwisser tech scribe (better not let this get out of hand, and later have to eat humble pie of lapping up that "expert").

This is not my blog, but it appears that anyone capable of assembling sentences made up of beginnings, middles, and ends IN THAT ORDER is qualified enough to type here.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 21, 2016 12:00 AM

@ Jacob, ALL,

The BloombergBusiness article you link to has a number of issues / inaccuracies with it. As do many other main stream journalists articles, which is significantly muddying the waters, to the FBI's advantage [1].

As is often the case it is better to do things in reverse. So from the last paragraph in the BloombergBusiness article we have two quotes from somebody called James Lewis,

    “Apple has two options now: They can go back to the judge and say this isn’t possible. Or they can service the warrant,” “I don’t think they can say it’s not possible, because it looks like it is.”

Firstly Apple have a good deal more than those two options to play and this game is far from the legal "slam dunk" the first quote makes it out to be.

As for the second quote it is just another way of regurgitating the FBI requests as apparant technical fact, which they are not. They are just suppositions made by FBI staff on how they think the Apple encryption key protection mechanism works. As such they would be the "obvious first avenue of enquiry" any outside attacker might follow. Which means that Apple may well have not just considered them but mittigated against them in some way.

The fact that an outsider portrayed as a technical expert finds another attacking outsiders statment to be the case without actual insider knowledge is the sort of nonsense 24hour news "Talking heads" spout all the time. Usually as unfounded speculation used as "space filler" between adverts, and as many know Talking Heads are frequently wrong but few pull them up on it. Because unlike Technical Experts a Talking Heads job is to act dumb to make the audience feel better about themselves.

The only people who can make a qualified statment on this is someone who has access to Apples "trade secrets" either directly or through competent reverse engineering. Because it is quite possible that Apple may have put a few traps for the unwary in the code, tying software images into part of the key protection mechanism. It's not a new idea, I and others were doing this sort of "Copy Protection" tricks back in the 1980's so there is plenty of prior art on doing it going back a atleast a quater of a century.

Further we know that other commercial software has "anti debug/trace" code in it currently, it's not just malware with these features. It is something I would expect those with some experience in software security to be well aware of as it is one of several ways to protect "trade secrets", which is what Apple is primarily trying to do. Thus I would be wary of making the "sound bite" quoted in the article, lest it came back to bite me.

So upwards to the second to last paragraph,

    This week’s federal court order undermines years of effort by Apple to design a system that makes accessing encrypted data impossible without the participation of the phone’s legitimate user. Company officials appeared to believe the enhanced encryption would remove Apple from the efforts of any government to sabotage the security of their customers. Instead, federal agents have detailed in a public document several ways in which that encryption can be bypassed.

It starts of talking about "encrypted data" belonging to a user and what Apple has apparently tried to do. But ends with talking about "ways which that encryption can be bypassed". From a technical perspective you can not bypass well designed encryption on data that is now at rest, and IMPORTANTLY that is most certainly not what the FBI are trying to do.

What the FBI are actually hoping is that they can get Apple to make "brut forcing" the passcode to the "key protection mechanism" not just possible --by locking out the wipe process-- but considerably faster, none of which has anything to do with the encryption mechanism of the data. It's generally accepted in data security that "brut forcing" AES encryption to data now at rest is not something that can be meaningfully done in human time scales, and further nobody is predicting a "break" on AES any time soon either.

Some may argue that "it's just details" but unlike some journalism "details realy matter" when it comes to data security. Again it is a gift to the FBI because it will make people think encryption is not secure, thus will question what technical and security practitioners are telling them (think of it as selling "reverse snake oil"). It's the sort of FUD "mind f##k" that is a gift to the unelected FBI, DOJ, Executive officials.

The third to last paragraph is a bit more FUD to support the preceading,

    To security experts, creating hacking tools -- capabilities to gain access to encrypted data -- is simply a matter of money and focused effort.

I hope this is just the journalist "making it up as they go along"... Or have not understood what they have been told, otherwise they are not checking the "expertise" of those they are talking to about the technical aspects of security.
Gaining access to encrypted data at rest --which is what this is all about-- is very very far removed from a "Hacking Tool", and "money and focused effort" won't realy help otherwise the NSA et al would not be needed.

I can spot other statments that do not align with other information in the public domain, however I don't have the ability to check out which is true and which is just political insider "off the record" nonsense we get by the bucket full these days.

[1] What I can say is from the technical side the Bloomberg Journalist is doing the FBI FUD / Publicity machine work better than the FBI's own people. Which is worrying because it is likely that the Judge in this case does read the likes of BloombergBusiness, and might be inadvertently influenced by the regurgitated FBI FUD / Publicity political propergander[2].

[2] I think I should make it clear that at this point in time I think the court case is not about law or catching criminals / terrorists etc. It's the FBI backed by the DOJ and the current executive holding a "pissing party" over who has the power over unjust surveillance of the people. Or more simply it's a crass example of Obama trying to make a mark on history, not carring if it is good or bad, and he has fallen into a trap set by unelected officials to force legislation by FUD / propergander, not due democratic process after carefull consideration, which is what democracy is supposedly all about.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 21, 2016 12:33 AM

Beware of Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon ISO

http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2994

It would appear that Linux Mint got hacked, and a backdoored image got pointed to, thus could have been downloaded.

Yes the window of oportunity was small, but unless you know you downloaded the ISO outside of that window, it would be wise to assume that any ISO you don't have full knowledge of is suspect.

NSA Skynet Drone FlawsFebruary 21, 2016 5:03 AM

"We kill based on metadata."

Yes, they do and unfortunately their flawed drone programs are guaranteed to kill many innocents, even at low false positive rates of .008% in a population of 10s of millions:

http://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2016/02/the-nsas-skynet-program-may-be-killing-thousands-of-innocent-people/1/

In 2014, the former director of both the CIA and NSA proclaimed that "we kill people based on metadata." Now, a new examination of previously published Snowden documents suggests that many of those people may have been innocent.

Last year, The Intercept published documents detailing the NSA's SKYNET programme. According to the documents, SKYNET engages in mass surveillance of Pakistan's mobile phone network, and then uses a machine learning algorithm on the cellular network metadata of 55 million people to try and rate each person's likelihood of being a terrorist.
...
If 50 percent of the false negatives (actual "terrorists") are allowed to survive, the NSA's false positive rate of 0.18 percent would still mean thousands of innocents misclassified as "terrorists" and potentially killed. Even the NSA's most optimistic result, the 0.008 percent false positive rate, would still result in many innocent people dying [15,000].

"On the slide with the false positive rates, note the final line that says '+ Anchory Selectors,'" Danezis told Ars. "This is key, and the figures are unreported... if you apply a classifier with a false-positive rate of 0.18 percent to a population of 55 million you are indeed likely to kill thousands of innocent people. [0.18 percent of 55 million = 99,000]. If however you apply it to a population where you already expect a very high prevalence of 'terrorism'—because for example they are in the two-hop neighbourhood of a number of people of interest—then the prior goes up and you will kill fewer innocent people."

Assume this program's logic is being used domestically for drug-dealers, protestors etc. Also, don't ever be fooled into thinking SIM card changes do ANYTHING at all to throw off the trackers:

In addition to processing logged cellular phone call data (so-called "DNR" or Dialled Number Recognition data, such as time, duration, who called whom, etc.), SKYNET also collects user location, allowing for the creation of detailed travel profiles. Turning off a mobile phone gets flagged as an attempt to evade mass surveillance. Users who swap SIM cards, naively believing this will prevent tracking, also get flagged (the ESN/MEID/IMEI burned into the handset makes the phone trackable across multiple SIM cards).

65535February 21, 2016 5:40 AM

@ Jacob and others

If the FBI caused the San Bernardino County IT department to reset the killers iPhone 5C [iOS 9] Password and did not inform Judge Pym then there is certainly a material misrepresentation of facts by the FBI! The Warrant against Apple should be toss out of court.

http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20160219/san-bernardino-county-tweets-it-reset-terrorists-icloud-password-with-fbi
see:

‘Apple Says This Mess Could've Been Avoided If the Government Hadn't *ucked Up ‘

“Early Friday evening, Apple invited at least two batches of reporters to separate conference calls. (There were rules*.) This was just hours after the Justice Department filed a motion for a court order that would compel Apple to assist the FBI, framing the company’s refusal to cooperate as a PR stunt.
“During the call, a senior Apple executive said that if a government employee hadn’t messed up and accidentally reset the San Bernardino shooter’s iCloud password, Apple may not have been conscripted into the data recovery attempt. Why? The government might have been able to access the account without Apple’s help.

“Update 2/20 2pm: So—to be clear—it appears that it was a local San Bernardino employee who messed up, and not the FBI.

“Update 2/20 7pm: And as it turns out, San Bernardino County is contesting the FBI’s depiction of events. In a tweet today, the County said it was working with the FBI when it changed the iCloud password.” - gizmodo

http://gizmodo.com/apple-this-mess-couldve-been-avoided-if-the-government-1760211382

And See:
“San Bernardino County Calls the FBI Liars Over Terrorist's iCloud Account”

http://gizmodo.com/san-bernardino-county-calls-the-fbi-liars-over-terroris-1760317923

I agree with Clive.

“I think the court case is not about law or catching criminals / terrorists etc. It's the FBI backed by the DOJ and the current executive holding a "pissing party" over who has the power over unjust surveillance of the people. Or more simply it's a crass example of Obama trying to make a mark on history, not carring if it is good or bad, and he has fallen into a trap set by unelected officials to force legislation by FUD / propergander, not due democratic process after carefull consideration, which is what democracy is supposedly all about.” –Clive R

My position is that the FBI/NSA has the Verizon Call Data Records [CDR with the associated Metadata]. The Government knows who placed calls over that phone and who received said calls, the time, date, and location. The packet payloads are encrypted [voice data] but not the metadata, Billing data, and so on. And, they
the FBI have a confession from Enrique Marquez who bought the guns. They have information about the entire case.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_San_Bernardino_shooting

The FBI is publicly spinning this high profile case to get Economical and Mass Surveillance powers with little or not legal oversight for their Agenda – American and global mass surveillance.

The FBI see the First and Fourth Amendments as speed bumps in the road to getting all electronic communications. The FBI uses the “terrorist lurking everywhere” to obtain huge surveillance capabilities to 'fish' for low level crimes such as pot sales, prostitution, and other vice crimes via electronic communications surveillance.

This power grab should be stopped cold now.

GCHQ General Warrant FansFebruary 21, 2016 5:47 AM

Not sure if this was covered elsewhere

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/gchq-hacking-phones-and-computers-is-legal-says-top-uk-court-a6871716.html

Computer, smartphone and network hacking by UK intelligence agency GCHQ is legal, a security tribunal has said.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled on Friday that computer network exploitation (CNE) – which can include remotely activating microphones and cameras on electronic devices such as iPhones without the owner’s knowledge – is legal.

The case, which was heard in 2015, was the first time that GCHQ admitted to carrying out hacking in the UK and overseas. Previously, their policy had been to "neither confirm nor deny". The IPT, which deals with complaints about surveillance and the intelligence services, found in favour of the Cheltenham-based monitoring agency and the Foreign Office.

And in another completely predictable outcome, another court confirms the Wilson Doctrine is dead:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mps-and-lords-can-be-spied-on-by-gchq-senior-judges-rule-a6694481.html

MPs and members of the House of Lords do not have special privileges in law protecting them from surveillance by Britain’s spies, judges have ruled, despite the Home Secretary insisting just days ago that they do.

The widely held parliamentary convention that there should be no tapping of the phones or computers of MPs and peers – known as the Wilson Doctrine – has no legal basis, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled.

Don't you love the smell of fascism in the cold, wet, British morning?

It seems long standing principles like legal restraints on general warrants are too pesky for the Intelligence agencies, who just know what's good for us all. This infuriating arrogance reminds me of a telling quote from Victor Marchetti in 1974 regarding the cult of intelligence:

It has been said that among the dangers faced by a democratic society in fighting totalitarian systems, such as fascism and communism, is that the democratic government runs the risk of imitating its enemies' methods and, thereby, destroying the very democracy that it is seeking to defend. I cannot help wondering if my government is more concerned with defending our democratic system or more intent upon imitating the methods of totalitarian regimes in order to maintain its already inordinate power over the American people.

Yes, democracy is definitely dead, buried and cremated now. At this juncture, I would recommend foregoing all electronic comms + use of electronic perhipherals - the Stasi can go fuck themselves.

End of innocenceFebruary 21, 2016 7:59 AM

@PizzaCup

Thanks for the link, an interesting viewpoint on this case and the possible implications for the future.

From the same blog site, this post might be predicting the future for Apple's ever changing iOS:

http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=5642

Quote:

"Using the code is law model, the device itself should be autonomous, and only take its cues from Apple with the user’s authentication… on a much deeper level than we see it implemented today. Apple is starting to head in this direction, however much of this is still managed in the software (that can be executed by Apple on the device), where it should be managed deep down within the secure enclave, or even at a chip level. A device’s boot loader should not even be willing to load without the SEP being unlocked by a user boot password. Mission critical security components, such as a passcode delay, wipe on fail mechanism, etc., should be hard-coded into the chip’s microcode so that they can never be disabled or even updated. Encrypting the operating system partition itself with a user key can help prevent trojan or backdoor installations. There are many other great ideas people have for design that I’m sure will trickle into Apple over time."

I am optimistic that Apple will head into this direction, it's time to get my iPhone...

65535February 21, 2016 10:57 AM

‘San Bernardino Shooter's iCloud Password Reset With FBI Consent, Agency Says’
‘The FBI added it worked with county technicians to reset the iCloud password on December 6, which differed from court filings made by the Justice Department that said "the owner [San Bernardino County Department of Public Health], in an attempt to gain access to some information in the hours after the attack, was able to reset the password remotely, but that had the effect of eliminating the possibility of an auto-backup."’

http://abcnews.go.com/US/fbi-san-bernardino-shooters-icloud-password-reset-consent/story?id=37093031

The smell of government corruption grows. A filp-floping FBI changes its story. The Apple Warrant should be tossed out of court.

Mr. HappyFebruary 21, 2016 11:23 AM

@Jewel vs NSA
@Marcos El Malo

The problem with trying *anything* in the "court of public opinion" is that, of its "twelve jurors", one actually believes that alien lizard-people run the government; two more are absolutely convinced that nine-foot-tall, red-eyed hairy apemen are wandering the woods around Seattle and Portland; three think that tires squeal on dirt and that explosions make noise in the vacuum of space; six believe that those vending machine cookies are "just like Mom used to make"; and eleven of them couldn't add a small column of numbers without some sort of battery-powered "smart pencil".

They all got up this morning and listened to "the news" (Senator Quackquack said today that "quaaaaack-quack-quack-quack") from one of five sources all controlled by gazillionaires; drove down to the "courthouse" (located right next to the water cooler); and decided that the one guy in the room that they *shouldn't* listen to is the one who fixes their Win-Doze workstations by reminding them to plug them in.

Optimism (noun) -- A state of euphoria in which you are totally unable to grasp how well and truly fucked we are.

OldFishFebruary 21, 2016 11:33 AM

@el Marco

RE "grand plan": bingo! There will be nonstop attacks against effective information security becoming the norm for regular folks. It is simply about power.

I found this to be one of the most interesting articles about the Apple-FBI contest.

https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2016/02/calea-limits-all-writs-act-and-protects-security-apples-phones

Ultimately this issue will have to be resolved from a Constitutional standpoint but it seems that as of today, old, much hated, legislation may actually suffice to keep Uncle Fedster from imposing their idea of key escrow on We the People.

kleanFebruary 21, 2016 1:22 PM

@ Clive Robinson

Re: Beware of Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon ISO

Thank you for the heads up. Much appreciated.

zersetzung.on.steroidsFebruary 21, 2016 2:18 PM

@Jewel vs NSA

RE: ...COINTELPRO on steroids

I can tell you a little bit about how this system has been deployed in Silicon Valley where I live.

It's rather hard to encapsulate because the FBI control system can range from subtle harassment to life threatening terror.

Here are some of the tactics that have been used on me to give you an idea of how it works:

A car will pull up behind you on the freeway and you notice that the running lights are way too bright compared to normal cars. They will tail you for a couple of minutes, then another car will take over.

If you depart from your usual commute route, this kind of hazing happens more frequently. If you travel near the airport you may find an extra loud motorcycle with a extra bright headlight tailing you.

Sometimes these undercover harassment vehicles travel in groups of several cars or car, truck, motorcycle combinations. You can spot them by how they drive relative to you and the type of combined psychological impression they make.

Some of these vehicles are outfitted with signage or bumper stickers to deliver a concerted impression. Ususally these impressions are correlated with what I have been viewing online or with current events.

Most of the time this influence happens below a person's horizon of awareness. The target is conditioned without knowing what is being done to them.

Other times the thought police are so obvious that it is clear that they want to be noticed.

To avoid being ambushed by more personalized harrasment, I have been forced to take random routes when I travel. In this way I have been able to contast the generic type abuse with the more personalized abuse.

This system also employs the use of undercover operatives. They may walk past you with a t-shirt logo that is a real zinger in context. Rarely you may also find a stranger striking up a conversation in a public place, where the subject matter tilts in a way that correlates with online viewing.

The system can adapt in real time and it remembers where and when a psychological impression was delivered so that a similar impression can be used later to reinforce it.

They also use a weapon sometimes that induces a sense of mental confusion, ranging from low level to such a high level that it will cause such a loss of balance that you fall down. This weapon has been used on me twice while driving.

Given all of this I have found it necessary to buy a video camera and use it to record what is going on around me. Using it as a dashcam in my car seems to act as a deterent and has reduced the level of harassment somewhat.

I would be interested if other people have made similar observations of this control system. Thanks.

By the way, the term COINTELPRO seems to be geared to framing unprovoked argression as a defensive measure. I prefer the Stazi term zersetzung which is another name for the same thing, but it isn't loaded with the dishonest framing baggage.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 21, 2016 2:43 PM

@ Klean,

Thank you for the heads up. Much appreciated.

That's all right, however it now appears the the Linux Mint site has lost user data as well...

http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3001?

And is thus recomending users make changes (it appears the attack was through Wordpress and incorrect file permissions).

TõnisFebruary 21, 2016 3:41 PM

@Mr. Happy, and don't forget that one juror on every jury is a government plant whose job is to hang any jury that might actually acquit a defendant so the government can retry.

Mark MayerFebruary 21, 2016 5:45 PM

@65535

It's somewhat interesting that the FBI would admit this contra the DOJ's position, basically revealing that the DOJ is lying by omission. They would rather admit that they screwed up (a question of technical competence) vs. the appearance that they are covering up a lie (maintaining the perception of ethical behavior, if not the actual thing). In a small way, they're throwing the DOJ attorneys under the bus.

I don't think this has any real bearing on the case as a whole, but it looks to me like conflict between the child bureau and the parent department. Such conflict is to be expected but it's rare when it makes it into public view. #kremlinwatching

ThothFebruary 21, 2016 5:54 PM

@zersetzung.on.steroids
I think for the most of us who respond to thid forum (and are "security paranoids" in most people's eyes), it is better to take on a more self-defensiclve step to protect oneself and others around us y increasing our OPSEC.

Randomising our thoughts and actions trying to make ourselves harder to predict by taking seemingly random routes to work, being more aware and alert than most people on the train by observing everyone around us as frequently as possible, adjusting our political views or simply not touching on political subjects or not even replying when a stranger brings up sensitive topics can help in such times.

Basic OPSEC for electronics by not accesing certain website or storing certain data or details in case mobile devices are stolen, lost or forced to be unlock on the streets. Using mobile devices to record events on the street and using an encrypted volume to store recording protected by a strong password (14 characters and above) or even better if you have a way to split the encryption keys to the recording files.

Dash cams are useful if the attackers do not attempt to blind the camera when attempting to "attack" you. The troublesome part is encrypting the dashcam footage for evidence but most dashcams do not support such protection and if a someone gets hold of it, they can do anything they want to it.

Compartmentalise information and political view amongst family members are important as well to prevent "them" from "using" your own family members. Insider threats can be a problem too.

Bank transactions can be used to track you. If you can, use cash instead of electronic transaction as much as possible to lessen trails. @Clive Robinson used to recommend drawing small sums of cash from multiple ATMs to prevent observation of the actual amount of your intended cash withdrawal to prevent guessing of where and what you are spending your cash on.

Looking your house and arranging your household items in a subtle yet easily observe by yourself so you can detect break-in operations. Dummy documents and files arranged for confusion of intentions.

Very subtle arrangement of your home desktop, mouse and keyboard to detect possible movement by operatives and markings like small slips of stickers placed in slits to gain internal access to the CPU unit to detect possible operations to implant your PC.

OPSEC on a daily level is highly important to all of us in this field of practise.

Mark MayerFebruary 21, 2016 5:57 PM

@ianf
Maybe I'm not the best judge, but your comments and interactions indicate to me that you have a firm grasp on the main points in most discussions in which you participate. One of the indicators is that you are able to discuss complicated issues in a way that a layman such as myself can understand. You are both helpful and credible.

It's quite possible that in areas beyond your expertise, you maintain your cover credibility by the clever dodge of not opening your mouth. ;-) At any rate, I don't recall any instance in which another credible regular called you out for spouting bullshit.

[regarding credibility and trustworthiness, I do try to keep in mind the obvious limitations of this forum]

ianfFebruary 21, 2016 6:06 PM


@ Mr. Happy (cc: Tõnis), never mind adding up that column of numbers, WHERE can I buy one of these your battery-powered "smart pencils"? I've been looking for such all my life!!!!

Sancho_PFebruary 21, 2016 6:13 PM

@Mark Mayer re “Fruit of the Poison Tree”

Sorry, in the light of national security and legal torture this tree is unknown.
Anyone posing with Farook and a gun would be untouchable, 'cause the iPhone?
Really?

Mark MayerFebruary 21, 2016 8:59 PM

Yes, from what we know, such legal niceties don't apply to the CIA, the NSA, or the contractors that work for them.

But they can cause headaches for the Department of Justice and the FBI because those organizations still have to operate entirely within the bounds of the criminal justice system. I'm not saying that they don't take shortcuts in secret, but it causes the DOJ big problems if it's discovered that they are using parallel construction or taking liberties with the chain of evidence. Much easier for them if they they have the court's backing to mandate backdoors. No more need to go to the NSA with their hat in hand, and no need to construct a fake investigation to account for the evidence.

Also, I'm not saying that they'd be untouchable (if I did, that was a mistake). I'm saying that because of the rules of evidence* in the U.S., the DOJ can't credibly promise the source code will remain "Apple-eyes Only". To honor that promise, they would have to give up prosecuting the guy posing with the San Bernardino killers. That's not going to happen.

*Rules of Evidence are a huge part of Criminal Procedure, and a large part of criminal cases is spent on evidentiary issues such as admissibility. I'm not suggesting you actually go read law school textbooks, but if you spent some time with a CrimPro textbook, you'd see what I'm talking about. Or maybe ask a practioner in criminal law, if you know any. [and now I'm getting school flashbacks and anxiety symptoms, so I'm stopping! Haha!]

[It just occurred to me that under the AWA, the DOJ could argue that waterboarding wasn't an undue burden on the subject because the amount of water wasn't enough to actually cause harm. So there you go: the FBI now has the legal right to torture. Congratulations on being so damn right so often.]

BuckFebruary 21, 2016 10:45 PM

@AlanS

I've a question or two for you.
Let's say that companies like Apple could legally defend themselves as being immune to this sort of attempt to apply the "All Writs Act" because there is actually a statute that already specifically addresses the issue of Apple's assistance...

If they were indeed considered to be a "manufacturer of telecommunications equipment" -- would that not trigger other undesirable (for privacy) effects of CALEA? I do think that this was one of the main points against CALEA-II a few years ago.

What is the legal definition of "manufacturer" at this point in time? Perhaps they could simply spin off their software division as a separate company from the hardware side (simply, yeah, I'm pretty sure that would lead to a whole host of new vulnerabilities in the short-term). Even so, if CALEA can force Internet providers and phone companies to install surveillance equipment within their networks, that sounds bad to me in regards to Apple's case... It's a blackbox as far as I know, and maybe it also has active attack capabilities.

FigureitoutFebruary 22, 2016 1:35 AM

Potential Attacks on nRF_Detekt:

1) First one gets direct access to SPI bus lines and taps them via a logic analyser (that'll be obvious in the field). We need to assume there are emanations from these lines as they transmit basically everything serving as security that's pretty good but could be expanded to be really nice w/ some hardware changes (in this case the big thing is the address (40bit) and channel (0-125) ). Right now it doesn't matter what's sent, anything on that address and channel will trigger an activation, so I'm planning to counter that w/ what I call an "activation number" that should be an array, and it's just another piece of data in the flash that authenticates. Shielding should be sufficient for most of this threat, and it's a physical attack so you've forced an expensive/high-risk-of-discovery attack.

https://zoetrope.io/tech-blog/reverse-engineering-wireless-pro-studio-lighting

2) This attack looks much worse, remote sniffing w/ RTL-SDR which I hope to try this summer. Can't find if he manually sets channel or can run thru channels and find an active one, I doubt that. His code expects the fastest speed of 2Mbps, so I need to look into changing thru those 3 speeds somehow automatically to muck up this attack.

http://blog.cyberexplorer.me/2014/01/sniffing-and-decoding-nrf24l01-and.html

https://github.com/omriiluz/NRF24-BTLE-Decoder/blob/master/nrf24-btle-decoder.c

I've tested channel changing and I've got that working on just a counter incrementing and want to verify w/ a spectrum analyzer. I want to do another "random" sample to "randomly" set the channel instead of an attacker knowing it increments by 1 each time. I should source it outside the chip too but can add that on later when I know it'll work.

I'm changing direction on autoack feature, from "hell no" to "uh, yeah". If this small countermeasure I'm working on is being attacked then the attackers probably know your routine and know weak points of entry to various places. You better have your data or anything you value secured prior to storing anywhere.

I expect Keyloq to be a simple port over, but XTEA still being more secure than that. Also think that AES-128 (not CBC, which I want) should be another easy port and more secure than XTEA. I want the user to choose whatever cipher they want (want to port more) but default to the most publicly known secure one. The actual signal needs to be encrypted though for things to really get interesting.

65535February 22, 2016 4:55 AM

@ Mark Mayer
“…the FBI would admit this contra the DOJ's position, basically revealing that the DOJ is lying by omission. They would rather admit that they screwed up (a question of technical competence) vs. the appearance that they are covering up a lie (maintaining the perception of ethical behavior, if not the actual thing)… they're throwing the DOJ attorneys under the bus.”

I agree that the FBI is spinning this as a technical error instead of an breach of ethics or outright lying. The thing that causes suspicion is the case is old and very cold. There really is not much more evidence to obtain.

Has Clive and I have mentioned I think dredging up this dead case up at this time just smacks as power grab over Apple and Mass Surveillance on at least the 5eyes level if not on a global level.

“I don't think this has any real bearing on the case as a whole, but it looks to me like conflict between the child bureau and the parent department. Such conflict is to be expected but it's rare when it makes it into public view. “ - Mark Mayer

Maybe and maybe not. This is an extraordinary case!

Up to this point the FBI/DOJ team had effectively hoodwinked Judge Pym. If Judge Pym feels violated then things could change very quickly. It depends of a number of factors [how much of an FBI team player she is and how much abuse she endures].

The FBI was certainly picking one of the more rightwing courts [Riverside County is one of the few remaining Republican strong holds in CA]. But, screwing with a female judge in public may not fly. I am sure Apple and their lawyers can see the FBI’s legal tricks.

Further, I believe the second DOJ/FBI filing was signed in the dark of night – some time around 2:00 AM Pacific time – but don’t hold me to that. If I am correct it shows more skulduggery on the part of the FBI.

Lastly, it does give Apple some legal leverage. How much legal leverage is yet to be seen. Thus, I have to decent from your opinion that it doesn’t have “any real bearing on the case” as you say.

Basically, if you view the State [DOJ/FBI/San Bernardino County] as a whole v. Apple, a F-ck-up is a F-ck-up by the State as a whole - period.

At this magnitude the F-ck-up [or deception] could well be grounds for running the case through the Court of Appeals and up to the US Supreme Court and probably a win for Apple. If Apple’s lawyers play it correctly it will have a material bearing on the case - and the Warrant [AWA] could get toss out.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 22, 2016 8:27 AM

@ 65535, Mark Mayer,

As Mark kindly pulled out of my earlier post the question is one of competence and/or malice on behalf of those representing the US Gov in the case.

Judge Pym, is going to get backed into a corner unless Apple drop the ball for some reason, and it does not matter how far down the right wing it is she will have to make a choice of how she comes out, meakly / mildly, fighting or suicidaly.

The State has mucked up it's best chance, tried to hide it and it's become public, in part because they went public for the publicity as some say "If you throw a stick into the night, make sure it's not a boomerang...".

If Apple raise the issue, then the Judge should realise that most of the economicaly developed world is now looking at her and what she does. Thus her reputation and future career prospects hang on what she does. I'm guessing if she believes in a $DEITY she is praying Apple don't bring it up, or either they or the State chuck her a lifeline out of the quagmire.

If she just meekly accepts "State bull" then the grounds are in for an appeal. If she rules it not in the courts remit or ignores it she will have started a fight that will likely end up in an appeal and her reputation will suffer. Or she could take the russian roulette option, give the State what they want and baulk at or block anything Apple does, on the hope the next Executive is going to be willing to give her a pay off in some way.

The one thing that is certain is the State don't want to let the access to data issue drop, over a third of a century tells us that. But likewise the State don't want to lose the war either, which this case might just do for them. Currently everyday makes more bad news for the State, terrorists might be bad in the public eye, but "bad cops" are seen as worse by many voters currently. It might only take one or two "major jobs layoff in tech sector" predictions in the national media to hammer the lid down and throw dirt on the box.

Thus if the State want to win the data access war, they may well have to withdraw from this set piece battle they set up that has turned into an ugly skirmish and lick their wounds whilst wait for another opportunity such as a realy gruesome child abduction etc. If however you think "opportunity rarely knocks twice" as many do which is why quite a few beleive the FBI has been "manufacturing" terrorist cases, and if that is in fact the case then we can assume the dice will be loaded for the next throw.

I guess it's time to get the comfy chairs and popcorn out for the next couple of rounds, this might be more entertaining than a cross over from "breaking bad" and "24".

ThothFebruary 22, 2016 9:52 AM

@all
Hardening the ARM TrustZone/Apple Secure Enclave/Samsung Knox from a user unapproved update. The TEE environment as it's called takes care of updates by using a signing key pair and an incrementing version number to prevent rolling back of older versions as a vector of attack. Besides using the hard-coded issuer signing certificate (e.g. Apple's Secure Enclave only updates when an image is signed with Apple's key), it would be useful if the device owner wiuld have a hardware protected keypair locked with a PIN or password so that the user also has to use his certificate to sign the update together with the software issuer's signed image file which creates some sort of dual control scenario.

When the software issuer is coerced into signing a backdoor image, the image would be rejected without the device owner signing it as well. Signing is not to be used as a measurement of security and trust but for the case of being coerced to load a properly signed corrupted image, this method should be able to resist such an attack vector.

Another measure is to include an additional feature which is to wipe all security parameters on the chip if modifications have to be done on the chip firmware (not the OS). The chip enforces a baseline security which the OS must comply and the chip also stores the encryption keys and credentiald under "hardware protection". Not wiping security parameters when attempting to tamper with the chip firmware (i.e. updating chip firmware to weaken security and allow unlimited bruteforce) is a bad practise. Even an old smartcard wipes the key and credential store if your attempt to update the applets. Why can't ARM chips follow some stronger security baseline from these old chip cards.

Also, Qualcomm, Mediatek and Samsung should look hard into adding tamper resistance measures onto their chips which is what Freescale/NXP's i.MX ARM chips are doing as they are designed to have tamper resistance.

CallMeLateForSupperFebruary 22, 2016 11:40 AM

For what seems like forever I have counterpointed reports of apocalyptic, anguished cries from TLA/law enforcement with this: You guy brught this on yourselves by betraying our trust.

This article says the same thing, and it teases out other threads of that theme much better than I've managed.

"The showdown between Apple and the FBI is not, as many now claim, a conflict between privacy and security. It is a conflict about legitimacy.

"America’s national security agencies insist on wielding unaccountable power coupled with 'trust us, we’re the good guys'..."

"The FBI’s reliance on the All Writs Act from 1789 says: 'I am the government and you MUST do as you are told!' How legitimate or illegitimate what the government does is irrelevant, so this logic goes, to the citizen’s duty to obey a legally issued order.

"The problem with the FBI’s approach is that it betrays exactly the mentality that got us into the mess we are in."

--------------
"We cannot trust our government, so we must trust the technology"
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/22/snowden-government-trust-encryption-apple-fbi

meFebruary 22, 2016 1:28 PM

There is one thing Apple can do that will thwart any attempt to have them sign malware for the FBI -- destroy the 5C signing key(s).

CuriousFebruary 22, 2016 1:58 PM

Would a user be able to notice at all if his/her phone's firmware was updated?
Just curious, I don't own an iPhone myself.

tyrFebruary 22, 2016 4:44 PM


@Clive Robinson

The cynical part of me is wondering how much of this
Apple/FBI fuss is about parallel deconstruction to
cover the existence of the third disappearing shooter.

The news was very insistent that there were three in
the first hours of the case. One seems to have puffed
into smoke. All nice and tidy, only there is one ugly
leftover in the uncrackable phone record. They have
become a lot more leary of loose ends since the files
for COINTELPRO showed up in the public records. It
would be nice to believe that the TV FBI good guys
exist but an examination of their past track record
has far too many cracks in the facade to make people
comfortable with the fairy tale version.

The San Bernardino case is pretty strange, the dumbest
Arab nutty should be able to read the climate signs in
USA and keep a low profile. The idea that without aid
in cooking up some ridiculuous plot they came about it
independently is the most far fetched part of the whole
thing. So where's the other party, even if it was just
another dummy whose only participation was saying "that's
a good idea !".

The real has an element of the bizarre that makes it
recognizable on sight. i. e. you couldn't make it up,
this whole scenario looks programmed.

And broken DNS too. : ^ )


ianfFebruary 22, 2016 5:07 PM


Some good IoT-news for once.

TV news item: all 200 or so remaining black rhinos in an African reservation, already individually guarded by armed soldiers against (mainly nighttime) poachers to be equipped with GPS beacons. Their entire territory also stuffed with enough "anti-personnel" thermal (satellite?) sensors, so that all the rhinos' exact location and movement patterns can be surveyed in real time, and warnings of unknown "thermal blobs" heading towards known poacher hideouts radioed to guards nearby. OK, so it's not quite IoT but IoR, but who's complaining.

tyrFebruary 22, 2016 11:17 PM


@ianf

So you are saying poachers now have the ability to
track the Rhinos in real time instead of wandering
in the dark trying to find one is good news ?

CuriousFebruary 23, 2016 4:58 AM

Off topic:

An attempt at creating a joke:

NSA: KNOCK, KNOCK! (yelling)
Somebody: My door is gone! Where is it!?!

CuriousFebruary 23, 2016 7:21 AM

I don't know, the word "microcode" had me interested here. Such things are not something I know anything about, but I thought perhaps it could be interesting to others.

Something about microinstructions in the ARM1 processor:
http://www.righto.com/2016/02/reverse-engineering-arm1-processors.html

"This article looks at how the ARM1 processor executes instructions. Unexpectedly, the ARM1 uses microcode, executing multiple microinstructions for each instruction. This microcode is stored in the instruction decode PLA, shown below. RISC processors generally don't use microcode, so I was surprised to find microcode at the heart of the ARM1. Unlike most microcoded processors, the microcode in the ARM1 is only a small part of the control circuitry."

"So is the ARM1 microcoded or not? The instruction decoder is clearly made up of microinstructions executed sequentially or with branching. It makes sense to look at this as microcode. But on the other hand, the microcode is fairly simple and forms a small part of the total control circuitry. A large amount of hardcoded logic interprets the microinstruction outputs to generate the control signals. My conclusion is the ARM1 should be called "partially microcoded" or maybe "hybrid microcode / hardwired control"."

Clive RobinsonFebruary 23, 2016 7:44 AM

@ Bruce,

One for you to add to your death statistics info,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35629034

In the UK there has just been a report released that says that fourty thousand premature deaths in the UK each year are due to polution from cars...

As a very rough hack on the figures the UK population is around seventy million so roughly it's four in seven thousand people a year who die from such polution or normalised against a seventy year life expectance it's about 1 in twenty five deaths... I've not got the estimated premature death in years but based on other figures (smoking secondary smoking) it's between five and ten...

So if the same holds in the US then with a population around four and a half times the UK it's around 180,000 deaths a year, which is a large towns worth.

ianfFebruary 23, 2016 7:50 AM


@ tyr,
         you may have somewhat idealized picture of the hi-tech available to rhino poachers in the African outback. Locals carry rifles for protection from predators, and game poaching, and that's largely about it. Mobile coverage is patchy, restricted to settlements/ villages, and then at a premium. It'd require quite an undertaking to double-up the satellite-borne(?) detection capabilities of Western-funded research/ conservation projects. Contact in the field was probably by com radios, I saw no smartphone or tablets around.

That was a news-filler item about one such project branching to safeguarding the now-IoRhinos. They mentioned >~200 in an environmental enclave; each seemingly guarded by 2 soldiers around the clock. That's at least a battalion on duty even if spread over a large area. Plenty of other game around, so, presumably the scientists developed software to distinguish thermal footprint of e.g. large antelopes from those of smaller would-be poachers (my ruminations, not the TV's). The rhinos get used to nearby presence of the guards, but I still wondered how they managed to add the transponders to the base of their horns…

chris lFebruary 23, 2016 9:14 AM

I just saw your "Room for Debate" over at the NY Times. Your piece says it well in a small space, but could they really only find the two of you to write on this topic? How about a few dissidents who managed to get out of oppressive regimes? Maybe an ex Stasi official, too.

CuriousFebruary 23, 2016 12:07 PM

US Marshals and Stingray/IMSI catcher use:

"U.S. Marshals secretly tracked 6,000 cellphones"
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/23/us-marshals-service-cellphone-stingray/80785616/


"The Marshals Service’s surveillance log lists 5,975 cases in which the Marshals Service used stingrays. The agency declined to say what time period the log covered, or where the suspects were arrested. It also declined to identify the suspects, to protect their privacy."

"No other law enforcement agency is known to have used stingrays so often. The New York Police Department told the ACLU last month that it used the cell-tracking devices about 1,000 times since 2008; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it had used one about 1,800 times to conduct investigations throughout the state. Until now, Baltimore’s police force had been the most prolific known user; a detective there testified that city police had used their tracker 4,300 times."

The article also talks about out how there is a problem with how information about the use of IMSI catchers is hidden from a court.

CallMeLateForSupperFebruary 24, 2016 12:05 PM

I suspect that now is an uncommonly turbulent time for the iPhone 7 design team.

ianfFebruary 24, 2016 12:55 PM


Not squid, hence OT, but still…

Can't get those endangered rhinos out of my head. Despite all the efforts put into physical protection of wild-ranging ones, from human and synthetic pests alike (it seems the African fauna at large lacks certain bio defense adaptations that animals in harsher to survive, more to chemicals exposed, environments, have evolved by natural selection), the rhinos still get killed by poachers for their horns. Apparently preventive sedating animals of their weight and size, then mechanically removing the horns to make them unattractive to poachers, is not an option, and the horns—being basically keratin like our nails—keep growing back.

Despite being outlawed to "harvest" and sell it, there is such a demand for powdered and sliced rhino horns as mythical aphrodisiacs in plenty of Asian subcultures, that killing of their "hosts" is ongoing. Some project that there won't be any more rhinos in the wild after c:a 2050, only a handful of them in ZOOs held for breeding.

    But what if that demand, wacky though it is, could be satisfied by flooding the target markets with organically lab-grown/ keratin tissue 3D-printed in the shape of, and physically and otherwise INDISTINGUISHABLE from natural sliced rhino horns? This would also lower the prices, make it accessible to many more, and possibly then educate them of the medium's nil worth as a potency-assuring agent.
Does that sound like a viable approach towards perhaps solving that icky rhino horn problem? Commoditize the product, remove its seal of "exclusivity," emasculate its sex-appeal.

WaelFebruary 24, 2016 1:14 PM

@ianf,

there is such a demand for powdered and sliced rhino horns as mythical aphrodisiacs in plenty of Asian subcultures...

How about evangelizing the fact that "terrorist' and poacher' bones" are aphrodisiacs. It may bring them to the brink of extinction. Third order thinking, Ma Man!

ianfFebruary 24, 2016 1:33 PM


@ Wael,
unfortunately the small-bourgeoisie laws and customs in the West and East alike forbid terminal culling of terrorists and poachers for their bones. Besides it's hard to distinguish them from the general population, because they hide among non-terrorists/ non-poachers in plain sight! So come up with a sure-fire method to detect terrorists and poachers first, then we can start talking snacking recipes (hickory-smoked, nam-nam; you'll have to arrange a tame imam first to pronounce it halal though). Come to think of, humanity has practiced cannibalism far longer than not.

RelentlessFebruary 24, 2016 11:32 PM

@Marcos El Malo

Regarding "The Government", it's important to remember (at least keeping it in the back of your head) that the U.S. government is NOT monolithic. It's composed of many parts, some of which are rival bureaucracies, all of which compete for funding. Some are rival branches by design (executive, legislative, judicial). (I think this gets confusing for those not familiar with the U.S. system because a paragraph or essay might use the word government in different ways.)


Anyway, I take some comfort in the nature of bureaucracy because it can effectively hamstring any shadow government that might exist or that might want to come into existence.


One more thing: I'm not sure the conspirators of this putative shadow government are evil (or Evil, if you prefer). I'm fairly certain that they have the best intentions for all of us. The problem is that their methods are evil, but they are too blind to see it (their blindness is another thing you might take comfort in: the same blindness to the moral nature of their actions blinds them to many other things).

Hi Marcos. I suppose, most posters who might state such things, as I did, that 'I likely have been under investigation by both domestic and foreign agencies' would be, a> full of shit, b> crazy as a bat.

I do not know what business my grandparents were in. I will not state, specifically, what division of the government my father worked in.

On the surface, my resume may seem innocuous enough. But, in reality, if anyone digged a little deeper it would be a 'who's who' and a 'what's what' of modern computer security. Specifically, the whole "counterintelligence" and "mysterious happenings" of it.

I have literally read Chinese view of it. They figured, they do not know if I am NSA, FBI, or CIA. They figure, guessing, CIA. Because of the "loser" aspect of my resume and background. But, that is a wild guess.

I honestly have specific ties to NSA, Air Force, Army, CIA, FBI.

I suppose there are, as well, ties to the State Department. There are distinct ties to major DC lobbying law firms.

Some folks, who work for government, do not do their own work. They have it supplied to them. They are people-people.

There is not a whole lot suspicious with my current job. Except, my primary office is really close to some major, foreign consulates.

It would be extremely difficult to dig into my background.

You might think, "if there is a shadow government", any such worker would never post here, pseudo-anonymously.

Really.

I do not use a proxy to connect to this site. I only ever have when my company has enforced it. I do change my nicks regularly, but I do not bother with changing my writing habits so much that it would evade government level NLP analysis.

I have stated that, here and there, over the years. It is not unlike a serial killer taunting authorities. I get off on it. I rarely will directly tie multiple - or any - accounts together. But, sometimes, I do not mind doing so. When I do so, it is a conscious action.

And, I do, literally, get off on the fact, that either foreign or domestic authorities could never prove, anything. Not from me. Not from any family. Not from any coworkers.

If you are thinking this is low level, it is not low level. Minor inspection of my family connections would indicate very high level officials. Largely unelected. But, then, when tied to major lobbying groups, kind of hard for anyone to say, isn't it.

And, no, government is not a monolith. Something I actually often say in these situations.

My speech may make me out to be a "bad guy". Wrong. My concern is, foremost, that the democratic, free system is not overturned by unregulated, domestic spying. Now, what kind of organization might actually police that? Or, when was the last time you saw such a thing come to court? From the NSA? CIA? DoJ?

So, nobody in the DoJ, nobody in the CIA, nobody in the DoD, nobody in the NSA, ever abuses their powers?

More specifically, what organization polices them, if they were to do so?

And would they bring them to criminal court? Or handle the problem... in a more, unorthodox manner?


But, hey, don't believe shit you read online from anonymous folks.

ianfFebruary 26, 2016 2:42 PM


OT: this week's squid is tardy, so am posting these interesting BBC World News programs Saturday-Sunday in last week's instalment

ALL TIMES GMT, but double-check with the localized BBC World News schedules

HARDtalk: General Michael Hayden
Saturday 7:30 am GMT LAST EMISSION

    Stephen Sackur talks to Michael Hayden who was the Director of the NSA on 2001/9/11 and later Director of the CIA. Did the US lose its moral compass in pursuit of the war on terror? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3csy4wf

HORIZONS: The Internet of You
Saturday 8:30 & Sunday 14:30 + 21:30

    With an ever larger number of wearable devices, activity trackers, smart utensils, powerful smartphones and novel payment systems, we're becoming part of the internet of things, too. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3csys2z

OUR WORLD: Thailand's Asylum Crackdown
Sat 11:30, 16:30, 22:30 + Sunday 17:30

    Undercover in Thailand to expose how the country treats its asylum seekers. Pakistani Christians fleeing extremist violence are the second largest group of asylum seekers in Thailand. Many - including children - are routinely rounded up and sent indefinitely to detention centres or worse the central jail where they are shackled and chained. Their crime: to be seeking asylum, in a country which does not recognise refugees. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3csy4kf

STORYVILLE GLOBAL: I Want To Be An Astronaut
Saturday 15:10 & Sunday 9:10 + 20:10

    Sepideh is a young Iranian woman who dares to dream - of a future as an astronaut. At night, she stares up at the universe. At home, full of hope and longing, she watches recordings of the first female Iranian in space, Anousheh Ansari… But not everyone appreciates her boundless ambition. After all, becoming an astronaut is not exactly a normal goal for a girl in Iran. Her mother and uncle are worried about the emancipated young woman. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3cszjvs

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