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Why quality encryption is actually helping hackers hack

(TECH NEWS) FBI GC James Brady claimed that the current trend in full-disk encryption may make it easier for hackers to hide their illegal activity. Wuut!?

typing laptop hackers

Too many places to hide

FBI General Counsel James A. Brady opened up another angle to the global encryption debate. In a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIC) panel, Brady claimed that the current trend in full-disk encryption (FDE) may make it easier for criminals to hide their illegal activity.


What is full-disk encryption?

In the past, phone owners had to enable encryption, which protects our data by turning it into unreadable text. Today, any iOS8 or newer iPhone comes with full-disk encryption, which automatically encrypts hard drive data. Android owners with Android 5.0 Lollipop or later also get full disk encryption. Owners of these encrypted devices are the only ones able to access device data via a key, which is typically a user generated password. Prior to the rollout of full-disk encrypted devices law enforcement could bypass the need for a user’s key and appeal directly to phone companies for device access.

We’ve already seen how this form of widespread encryption can end up costing law enforcement.

In last year’s high profile Apple vs. FBI debate, an encryption “backdoor” became a potential solution in cases where law enforcement need to access a criminal’s device.

Working with the law

This encryption “backdoor” and the FBI’s questioning of full-disk encryption should keep business owners on alert. Phones are increasingly becoming extensions of our offices and meeting rooms. Businesses should push for the most innovative and widespread encryption technology when it comes to protecting their data and the data of their customers, especially as more of our business communications happen on phones. This doesn’t mean law enforcement can’t reconcile the need for sophisticated data protection with public safety.

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[clickToTweet tweet=”Law enforcement should strive for innovation in their own ranks to combat both high and low-level crime.” quote=”Instead of casting a shadow over sophisticated encryption, law enforcement should strive for innovation in their own ranks to combat both high and low-level crime.”]

A quicker system of gathering and analyzing unencrypted meta-data, such as the date and time of calls can help speed up an investigation. Law enforcement under the correct judicial orders can also take better advantage of cloud based data in their investigations.

Most of all, law enforcement should be proactive about developing their own hacking capabilities for use in the most extreme circumstances.


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Written By

Staff Writer, Arra Dacquel is a San Francisco based writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Davis and is currently studying web development. She’s obsessed with tech news and corgis, but not in that order.



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