It’s a story reminiscent of the 2015 San Bernardino shootings. In that case, not only were 14 people left dead, but FBI investigators were left deadlocked with Apple. The FBI wanted help with the encryption in order to gain access to gunman Syed Farook’s iPhone 5C. Apple didn’t want to give it to them.
The FBI pushed back, saying the device could provide information about possible accomplices. They eventually got a court order.
Apple defied that order, and refused to help crack the phones security. Apple argued that it would set a precedent that would compromise security for billions of customers.
Texas church gunman Devin Kelley had a smartphone, too. And the FBI would like access to it as well, in their search for his motive for killing 26 churchgoers. But so far the FBI has been unable to access the phone, and it’s leaving them frustrated.
Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the San Antonio FBI bureau, said, “With the advance of the technology and the phones and the encryptions, law enforcement — whether that’s at the state, local or federal level — is increasingly not able to get into these phones.”
Combs refused even to identify what type of phone Kelley had because “I don’t want to tell every bad guy out there what phone to buy.”
This is a crucial difference between the Texas church shooting case and San Bernardino: the FBI’s very public feud with Apple ended with the FBI hiring a technology specialist to gain access to the Apple device. In Texas– the FBI still can’t get in to the unidentified brand of phone.
Perhaps more interesting still is the fact that, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, that federal agents continue to try to gain access to 6,900 mobile devices. Said Wray, “…this is a huge, huge problem. It impacts investigations across the board — narcotics, human trafficking, counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation.”
And with the FBI issuing strong language, it’s perhaps not surprising that other Federal authorities are drawing a line in the sand: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asked tech companies to build what he termed “responsible encryption” to allow access with court authorization.
Anyone who’s seen the movie “Snowden–” which dramatizes the true story of illegal NSA surveillance techniques and how they are leaked to the public by agency employee, Edward Snowden— might be just as wary of this kind of talk as the tech companies are.
The NSA itself has recently been a victim of cyber hacking. The fear is that if courts compel companies to circumvent encryption technology– it canprove to be open-season on privacy and security. Robert Cattanach, former Justice Department attorney now specializing in cyber security with a law firm, said that even if trust problems with the government are solved, “… you then have a problem with where to draw the line.” Cattanach said he believed the FBI did not name the manufacturer of the Texas church shooter’s phone because Kelley acted alone—meaning there was no urgent need to find potential accomplices. What’s more, the FBI might have had a hard time convincing a judge to order the manufacturer to cooperate:
“You can’t go to a judge and argue there’s a future threat like in San Bernardino,” said Cattanach. “So what are you going to do?”
Encryption is serious business, for individuals and for enterprises, too. If a hacker can find a weak link in a computer, or on a server, the hacker can use encryption to secure the contents away from their owner. And don’t look to law enforcement for help: the FBI not only has a bad record unencrypting smartphones, but has also given up on trying to decrypt the files in the past.
That leaves the business having to deal with the attacker—who offers the decryption key to the victim… for a price.
Any company—any person—any type of enterprise that has data stored needs to embrace encryption to protect that valuable data. The problem is, once stored, most data needs to be used as well in order to do what the enterprise needs doing.
That’s where 5i Solutions can help.
5i Solutions offers serious security. The 5i data hosting and super-secure Cloud Vault offers encryption, network security, and key management. You get custom-built identity verification and access control. 5i conducts threat management, penetration testing, monitoring, logging, and provides on-demand reports to ensure the safety and integrity of your data.
5i will customize your security solution to work with your current workflows and systems, so that your vital data is secure and available 24/7 from anywhere in the world—but available only to those authorized to have access to it.
Today’s encryption systems are strong—just ask the FBI– and can protect your vital data from virtually any attack. And 5i Solutions can build a custom solution for you for less than you might think.
5i Solutions. One single, secure point of intake, access, and storage. One singular solution.
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