Apple deluged by police demands to decrypt iPhones

Apple receives so many police demands to decrypt seized iPhones that it has created a "waiting list" to handle the deluge of requests, CNET has learned.

Court documents show that federal agents were so stymied by the encrypted iPhone 4S of a Kentucky man accused of distributing crack cocaine that they turned to Apple for decryption help last year.

An agent at the ATF, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, "contacted Apple to obtain assistance in unlocking the device," U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell wrote in a recent opinion. But, she wrote, … Read more

W3C proceeds with Web video encryption despite opposition

The World Wide Web Consortium has decided to go ahead with a technology that will let companies like Netflix stream encrypted video using Web sites -- against the wishes of the Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and 25,600 petition signatories.

The Web standards group announced the move Thursday, to nobody's surprise. Entertainment-industry players had approached the group three years ago to discuss the technology, Microsoft has been helping develop it, and Google already has built the specification, called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) into Chrome.

The standard doesn't actually handle encryption and digital rights management (DRM) to … Read more

Apple's iMessage encryption trips up feds' surveillance

Encryption used in Apple's iMessage chat service has stymied attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations, an internal government document reveals.

An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that because of the use of encryption, "it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices" even with a court order approved by a federal judge.

The DEA's warning, marked "law enforcement sensitive," is the most detailed example to date of the technological obstacles -- FBI director Robert Mueller has called itRead more

Treat your Mac to World Backup Day

This Sunday, March 31, is World Backup Day, an independent initiative geared to raise awareness for data security and the importance of backing up computers and other devices that may contain important information. In light of this, you might want to consider taking the time to ensure that all of your systems are set up with a proper backup routine.

Backing up a system used to take a number of steps, and while there are many options and approaches for doing so, these days most devices include some sort of regular backup option that, if used, should be enough to … Read more

Apple finally fixes App Store flaw by turning on encryption

Apple has finally fixed a security flaw in its application store that for years has allowed attackers to steal passwords and install unwanted or extremely expensive applications.

The flaw arose because Apple neglected to use encryption when an iPhone or other mobile device tries to connect to the App Store, meaning an attacker can hijack the connection. In addition to a security flaw, the unencrypted connections also created a privacy vulnerability because the complete list of applications installed on the device are disclosed over Wi-Fi.

It also allows the installation of apps, including extremely expensive ones that top out at … Read more

How to fix corrupt DVD playback in OS X

If you watch commercial DVDs on your Mac, you may encounter a rare bug that causes the video to appear corrupted, with a blocklike pattern covering its output. This can occur regardless of whether you're using Apple's provided DVD Player application or a third-party player such as the popular cross-platform VLC media player.

When this bug occurs, even though you may hear audio and see movement, the garbled output makes the video for all intents and purposes unwatchable. Generally when such corruption occurs it indicates a problem with processing the data stream, which can indicate an issue with … Read more

Passware expands to grab Facebook and Google passwords

Passware Inc. is a forensics security company that develops investigation software kits to reveal passwords on seized computers. Last year it released a version of its kit that allows an investigator to reveal the passwords of Apple's FileVault encryption technology, along with those for similar technologies such as TrueCrypt, PGP Disk, and BitLocker. Recently the kit has gained more features and now has the ability to snoop through a system's hibernation file for Google and Facebook account passwords.

The Passware snooping technology works by accessing a system's memory either through a port that has direct memory access (… Read more

Get organized with Tolon NoteKeeper

For some projects, a couple of folders on your desktop is all you need to stay organized. For others, however, organization is a more complicated task that requires sophisticated tools. Tolon NoteKeeper seeks to provide users with a better way to keep multiple files and folders organized. It's not perfect, but it is an interesting option for users who need a way to keep track of text, images, and more.

Tolon NoteKeeper has a plain and fairly intuitive interface, and a Quick Start guide gave us an overview of the important features. In short, the program lets users create … Read more

Wickr turns iOS message self-destruct up to 11

Wickr (download) gained new secure sending and subsequent self-destructing powers in a big update to the encryption and security app today, perhaps not coincidentally Data Privacy Day.

There are four new features in the app. You can now send and subsequently self-destruct images and PDFs from Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box to other Wickr users, which expands the limits of the original send-and-self-destruct feature. You can also send up to three 30-second videos, up to 5 MB, per message. Audio messages, which function like voice mails, have been extended to 30 seconds long, as well.

Wickr can now connect to … Read more

Meet Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Hollywood's new copyright ally

The outgoing chairman of a House of Representatives panel responsible for U.S. copyright law conceived the memorable Stop Online Piracy Act. Its next chairman happens to be even more enthusiastic about expanding digital copyright law.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte was elected head of the House Judiciary committee today, much to the dismay of advocacy groups that had doggedly worked to defeat SOPA and Protect IP a year ago.

The Virginia Republican has long been a steadfast ally of Hollywood and other large copyright holders, saying as recently as two months ago that "I remain committed to enacting strong copyright … Read more