The Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief

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The Cyber Brief
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MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2016
The Justice Department is keeping pressure on Apple to help the FBI unlock an iPhone that belonged to a convicted drug dealer in a Brooklyn case, appealing a judge’s order denying its request for the company’s assistance. The FBI said the method it used to crack the San Bernardino shooter’s device, an iPhone 5c running iOS 9 software, would not work on the Brooklyn handset, an iPhone 5s running iOS 7.

Unlike with the California case, the government isn’t asking Apple to create a new tool to undermine the phone’s security, rather it’s asking Apple to simply extract data from the phone as it reportedly has in dozens of other cases. The tech giant is pressing the FBI to disclose how it was able to break into the San Bernardino phone and why the government cannot now crack the Brooklyn iPhone on its own. Apple is scheduled to file papers in opposition of the Justice Department's appeal by April 15.

Meanwhile, court documents unsealed last week show that a federal magistrate in Boston in February ordered Apple to help the FBI extract data from a locked iPhone that was seized from a suspected gang member. The company responded that it was unable to comply because of the type of operating system involved. (NYT, WSJ, Reuters, Bloomberg, Wired)
Encryption Bill: Top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are drafting legislation that would prohibit encryption technology that is unbreakable by authorities. A draft of the bill was reportedly leaked late last week and drew heavy criticism from privacy advocates. (Reuters)

DHS Staffing: The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly having trouble recruiting much-needed computer experts because it cannot match the pay of the private sector and does not have the same allure as U.S. intelligence agencies. (NYT)
Panama Papers: The front-end computer systems of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the massive leak scandal, are outdated and riddled with security flaws, security analysts say. (Wired)

ATMs: Fraud using so-called skimming devices is on the rise, according to reports. FICO Card Alert Service says there was a sixfold increase in the number of machines in the United States compromised by criminals in 2015, compared with 2014. (NYT)

Hackers-For-Hire: Cybersecurity analysts say that business is booming in underground markets for Russian and other hackers, according to a new report released by security firm Dell SecureWorks Inc. (WSJ)

Online Dating: Scammers are increasingly prowling online dating sites for targets, using fake photos and heartfelt pleas to lure their victims, according to security experts. (Wired)
Navy Spy: A Navy officer with access to sensitive intelligence faces espionage charges over accusations he passed state secrets, possibly to China and Taiwan. A redacted charge sheet said the suspect was assigned to the headquarters for the Navy's Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, which oversees intelligence collection activities. (Reuters)

Sony: A Los Angeles federal court gave final approval to a multimillion-dollar settlement stemming from the November 2014 data breach. With likely adjustments, the total price tag to Sony is around $15 million. (Deadline)

Stingrays: A Maryland appeals court's recent ruling that police were wrong to use a cellphone tracking device known as a stingray without a warrant could ultimately push the surveillance issue to the Supreme Court, legal analysts say. (Wired)
WhatsApp: The messenging service owned by Facebook is rolling out end-to-end encryption for all its 1 billion users. The app began offering encryption by default on text-only messages between users in 2014, but group messages and those containing rich media such as photos and videos were not fully encrypted. (Reuters)

Facebook: A new study revealed that arms dealers are reportedly using the social networking site to market their wares to terrorists and other militants in violation of Facebook policy. (NYT)

BMW: The German automaker is preparing to become the first of its rivals to launch a “premium Airbnb for cars” service. Its ReachNow initiative, which is being tested in Seattle, would allow BMW owners to earn extra cash by renting out their cars. (FT)
China: U.S. trade officials have for the first time added China’s system of Internet filters and blocks, known as the Great Firewall, to an annual list of trade impediments. Eight of the top 25 most popular global sites are reportedly blocked in China. (NYT)

Turkey: Turkish authorities have launched an investigation after hackers posted a database online containing the personal information of nearly 50 million Turkish citizens--more than half of the country's population--and a message taunting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Mashable)

Must Reads
Apple’s FBI Battle Hurt Its Own Customers: “Apple’s decision not to help in the Farook case was ultimately bad for the company and its customers. Apple has lost leverage in legal cases and the average iPhone user is significantly more vulnerable — both to government access and to criminal hacking — than if Apple had assisted the government in the first place,” write Jamil N. Jaffer and Daniel J. Rosenthal in the New York Times.

Ransomware Is Bad for Everyone: “As a form of criminal business, crypto-ransomware is low-risk with an increasingly high yield. While the potential payoff of data theft can generate a lot of cash for cybercriminals—either through credit fraud, tax return fraud, or sale of identity information—crypto-ransomware provides a way to get paid directly by the victim with little risk of exposure. It taps into an already thriving market of Bitcoin transfer services and malware-as-a-service operators, allowing just about anyone to make money off a few unlucky victims,” writes Sean Gallagher in ArsTechnica.

What Should We Do About Data Leaks?: “If this is the age of the citizen journalist, or at least the citizen opinion columnist, it’s also the age of the data journalist, with the news media acting as product managers of data leaks, making the information usable, browsable, attractive. There is an uneasy partnership between leakers and the media, just as there is an uneasy partnership between the press and the government, which would like some credit for its efforts, thank you very much, and wouldn’t mind if you gave it some points for transparency while you’re at it,” writes Paul Ford in the New Republic.
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