For all the noise that the F.B.I. and Apple made the past few weeks over iPhone security issues, encryption issues, and backdoor issues, it all ended– for now– with a whimper as the F.B.I., which couldn’t coerce Apple into aiding and abetting the federal government, decided to seek comfort and solace elsewhere.
Long Story Short
To be it as briefly as possible, the F.B.I. found another way; maybe a better way, maybe a way so good they’re not going to tell Apple about it. And the feds found another way to break into the San Bernadino terrorist’s iPhone is anything safe?
What about my Mac, iPhone, and iPad? Are they safe?
Apple has a reputation for security even though the company doesn’t say much about how it secures Mac, iPhone, and iPad, so the secure brand is growing thanks to a few reasons.
- Not much malware for Macs
- iOS apps are curated
- Apple controls App Stores
- Apple encrypts a bunch of stuff*
That’s about it. Security hype may come from Apple’s 1-billion users, certainly not from critics, but possible fanboys who dare anyone anywhere at anytime to crack their devices. Now it looks like the F.B.I. can do what Apple didn’t want to do, so we’re back to square one.
Are my Mac, iPhone, and iPad safe?
Famous and notorious technologist and part-time and weekend circus rodeo clown John C. Dvorak says if you’re not using a VPN to connect to the internet then ‘you’re screwed.’ That’s because public Wi-Fi isn’t safe anymore, as if it ever was.
The F.B.I. told the court that they found another way into the terrorist’s iPhone, so catch you later, alligator, we don’t need Apple after all, which is just another way of saying Apple’s devices are not as secure as they would lead you and the courts to believe; I mean, if the F.B.I. can hack into it, how secure can it be, right?
Wait. My bad.
The F.B.I. didn’t hack into the terrorist’s iPhone. Someone else, an unnamed third party that paranoid Libertarian presidential candidate and namesake for McAfee Security, and part-time poster child for wrinkle cream Before photos, that John McAfee, says he knows who it is.
We’re. Not. Safe.
That’s what it boils down to, folks. We think we’re safe because Macs, iPhones, and iPads don’t have much malware and few exploits of known vulnerabilities, but we’re just not as safe as we think we are because we’re just not as paranoid as we need to be.
Intel’s great Andy Grove died. His most popular book, one of two he wrote, is entitled, Only The Paranoid Survive. We should take from that, and the security issues and circumstances that surround us these days, that we’re not really as secure as we want to be, and likely lots less than we think we are.
That means, despite Apple’s best efforts and more ways to encrypt files than there are Kim Kardashian photos on Instagram, we’re not safe. The Mac isn’t safe. The iPhone isn’t safe. The iPad isn’t safe. But we can be safer. Longer passwords for iPhone and iPad and Mac. Turn on File Vault on the Mac. And always wear gloves because if you touch anything with your fingers it leaves a fingerprint and that can be lifted and used to unlock your iPhone or iPad. Hey, we’ve seen exactly that happen a hundred times on N.C.I.S.
Murphy’s Law by Alfred Holt in 1877:
It is found that anything that can go wrong at sea generally does go wrong sooner or later, so it is not to be wondered that owners prefer the safe to the scientific …. Sufficient stress can hardly be laid on the advantages of simplicity. The human factor cannot be safely neglected in planning machinery. If attention is to be obtained, the engine must be such that the engineer will be disposed to attend to it
Murphy’s Law by Nevil Maskelyne in 1908:
It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.
Murphy’s Law by from Paul Jennings, circa 1948:
Anything that can possibly go wrong, does
And, the version we all know and love from Fred Shapiro, circa 1952:
If anything can go wrong, it will
Are we safe? Not a chance.