Things have changed. How many years have governments been fighting in Afghanistan and the Mideast. It’s beginning to look as if wars are not meant to be won. They’re meant to continue indefinitely. Even our ever diligent Apple is involved in wars and battles. Here’s the latest.
Wars Of Words And Code
Yes, we still fight old fashioned wars with bullets and bombs, though many are managed by technological devices and controlled from thousands of miles away from the impact. Today’s battles are fought faucet style, with a steady stream of information that riles and confuses but never dries up.
Wikileaks today published a trove of documents, allegedly taken from the CIA, that detail the government’s efforts to hack popular devices like iPhones, Android phones, and Samsung smart TVs.
Uh oh. Even your iPhone is no longer safe from government or sponsored hackers. Or, is it?
The documents… include charts that detail iOS exploits that would allow the CIA to surveil iPhone users and, in some cases, control their devices. Some of the exploits may have been developed in-house, while others appear to have been purchased, copied or downloaded from non-governmental sources.
Uh oh. I knew someone was looking at me through my phone. No more late night sushi and a pint of sake for you, Wil.
Let’s take a look at the major parties in this latest mess. There’s Apple, defender of all that’s free and profitable commerce and personal privacy. And, the C.I.A., whose stated mission is to be available to spy on anyone, anywhere, on any device because we can. Finally, there’s Wikileaks, whose mission is to find and expose secret information and accept funding, sources, and technical assistant from the Russian fatherland (I’ll stay away from that fatherland, motherland, homeland issue; for now).
Apple CEO Tim Cook:
Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ privacy and security. The technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way. Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80 percent of users running the latest version of our operating system. While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates
Until someone tells me otherwise, I’m not taking the tape off my Mac’s built-in iSight camera, and not moving the tape’s brother from my iPhone’s selfie camera, either.
But I understand and applaud Apple’s position. The company gets plenty of gross margins by selling expensive products that customers think are private and secure, and any hint they are not makes a commodity of all smartphones, tablets, and computers. Why pay more if you don’t think you’re getting more, amirite?
Apple has a dog in this fight.
The latest saga merely highlights one very important reason why Apple’s iPhone remains a popular device– security leaks, news leaks, and bad press notwithstanding– is this; Apple can update iPhones and iPads all over the world with the latest security updates and bug fixes and make everything digitally shiny and new, while the great unwashed masses of Android device owners continue to bathe themselves in the Flint River completely unable to rid their devices of exploits, vulnerabilities, and security bugs, and therefore, remain at the mercy of criminals; both official and unofficial.
Kudos to Apple.
What does this latest example of security tell us? Nothing is secure. But as security goes, Apple might be as secure as it gets.