In today’s Bulldog technology news wrapup:
- The FBI may have found a way to crack that terrorist’s iPhone
- Former Intel CEO Andy Grove dies
- Researchers find fault in iMessage
- Emojimania strikes
- FBI: Attacker’s phone possibly accessible without Apple help
The government has been adamant for weeks: FBI investigators need to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, andApple Inc. was the only one that could do it.
In a stunning reversal on Monday, federal prosecutors asked a judge to halt a much-anticipated hearing on their efforts to force Apple to unlock the phone. The FBI may have found another way, and Apple’s cooperation may no longer be needed, according to court papers filed late Monday, less than 24 hours before Tuesday’s hearing.
“An outside party” came forward over the weekend and showed the FBI a possiblemethod to access the data on Syed Rizwan Farook’s encrypted phone, according to the filing.
“Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone,” the filing said. “If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple.”
If it’s viable, that also means the government has significantly undermined its arguments against Apple, said Kristen Eichensehr, a visiting law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“If they found another way into the phone, that doesn’t just weaken their case. It means they can’t satisfy the legal standard to sustain the court’s order,” said Eichensehr, referring to Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym’s Feb. 16 ruling compelling Apple to create software that would disable security features on the phone.
Pym granted the government’s request to postpone Tuesday’s arguments in the case and stayed her previous order. She ordered the government to file a status report by April 5.
- Ex-Intel CEO Andy Grove dies at age 79
Andy Grove, the former Intel Corp. chief executive whose youth under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired an “only the paranoid survive” management philosophy that saved the chip maker from financial ruin in the 1980s, has died. He was 79.
Intel said Grove died on Monday. It did not specify a cause of death.
Grove, who was instrumental in building Intel into the world’s largest chip company during his 37-year career there, had suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He also suffered from prostate cancer in the mid-1990s.
He was a mercurial but visionary leader who helped position Intel’s microprocessors as the central technology inside personal computers.
Grove’s bet-the-company gamble — moving Intel from memory chips to microprocessors in the mid-1980s to serve what was still a fledgling PC industry — helped rescue Intel from a financial crisis and set it on course to becoming one of the most profitable and important technology companies of all time.
“Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Monday.
Robert Burgelman, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who started teaching management classes with Grove in the late 1980s, called Grove “one of the most incisive thinkers that I have ever come across.” He said Grove’s technical and strategic abilities were critical in building Intel and fending off threats from Asian competitors.
- Johns Hopkins researchers find flaw in iMessage encryption
Much has been made of both the benefits and dangers that come with strong encryption, especially the methods used by Apple to secure its devices. But new research shows that Apple’s security isn’t as impenetrable as both the company and its critics claim.
A team from Johns Hopkins University says it found a security bug in iMessage, theencrypted messaging platform used on Apple’s phones and other devices. The bug would allow hackers under certain circumstances to decrypt some messages.
The team’s paper is extremely critical of iMessage’s encryption technology, citing “significant vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a sophisticated attacker.” And it argues that in the long term, the technology needs to be replaced with a more modern mechanism.
The paper was published on Monday after Apple’s release of a patch fully fixing the bug. The Johns Hopkins team reported its findings to Apple in November.
But perhaps more significantly, the discovery is a blow to government arguments that Apple’s encryption technology makes it impossible for law enforcement to access information stored on devices connected to criminal investigations. Apple itself maintains that iMessage’s encryption is top-of-the-line and the same kind used by banks and the military.
“The main point is that encryption is hard to get right,” said Ian Miers, a computer science doctoral student at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and one of the paper’s authors. “Imagine the number of things that could go wrong if you have more complicated requirements like a back door.”
- Emojimania: Fans and brands crying tears of joy
When it comes to emojis, the future is very, very … Face with Tears of Joy.
If you don’t know what that means then you: a) aren’t a 14-year-old girl. b) love to hate those tiny pictures that people text you all the time. Or c) are nowhere near a smartphone or online chat.
Otherwise, here in 2016, it’s all emojis, all the time. And Face with Tears of Joy, by the way, is a bright yellow happy face with a classic, toothy grin as tears fall.
The Face was chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as its 2015 “word” of the year, based on its popularity and reflecting the rise of emojis to help charitable causes, promote businesses and generally assist oh-so-many-more of us in further expressing ourselves on social media and in texts.
The Beyhive knows. The collective fan base of Beyonce recently spammed Amber Rose with bumblebee emojis when they sensed a diss of their queen.
Taco Bell also knows. Emoji overseers approved a taco character last year after a yearlong campaign by the company to get one up and running, rewarding users of said taco on Twitter with gifts of free photos, GIFs and other virtual playthings to celebrate.