Sunday May 07, 2017

Backdoors: The Road to Hell is Paved with Them

I was watching FBI Director James Comey talk last week on TV during his Congressional hearing, and he revealed that almost 50% of its current investigations were in some way hampered by encrypted devices.

First six months of this fiscal year, FBI examiners were presented with over 6,000 devices for which we have a lawful authority search warrant or court order to open and 46 percent of those cases we could not open those devices with any technique. That means half of the devices that we encounter in terrorism cases, in counterintelligence cases, in gang cases, in child pornography cases, cannot be opened with any technique. That is a big problem. And so the shadow continues to fall.

Orrin Hatch went on to suggest that back doors could be inserted into these devices without compromising our privacy as users.

Now I remain convinced that such back doors can be created without seriously compromising the آ— the security of encrypted devices.

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The [H]News Crew and I keep an open channel for IMs, and this was my first reaction to that, albeit somewhat sanitized: "Effin Orrin Hatch on TV saying that back doors can be created for phones without any impact on security. WOW. Should not be allowed in the Senate once you break the 80 year old barrier." Now while this is of course full of vitriol, it does point out that some folks in our government think that back doors into encrypted devices are not that big of a deal, but I would expect that most of us have a bit different point of view.

DARKReading has a good writeup on why exactly these types of back doors are simply not a good idea.

Good guys will be vulnerable. That's because hackers will ultimately breach backdoors. Mandated backdoors will make law-abiding individuals less secure because the potential for hackers to get the keys to these backdoors will compromise everyone's information. These risks are not just theoretical; backdoors have been breached many times.