We wouldn’t be surprised if North Korea interfered in the working of North Korean businesses, especially those related to security, as that’s what we expect from a paranoid dictatorship. So what does that say about the USA that
attendees discussed strategies for exploiting security flaws in household and commercial electronics. The conferences have spanned nearly a decade, with the first CIA-sponsored meeting taking place a year before the first iPhone was released.
By targeting essential security keys used to encrypt data stored on Apple’s devices, the researchers have sought to thwart the company’s attempts to provide mobile security to hundreds of millions of Apple customers across the globe. Studying both “physical” and “non-invasive” techniques, U.S. government-sponsored research has been aimed at discovering ways to decrypt and ultimately penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware. This could enable spies to plant malicious code on Apple devices and seek out potential vulnerabilities in other parts of the iPhone and iPad currently masked by encryption.
“If U.S. products are OK to target, that’s news to me,” says Matthew Green, a cryptography expert at Johns Hopkins University’s Information Security Institute. “Tearing apart the products of U.S. manufacturers and potentially putting backdoors in software distributed by unknowing developers all seems to be going a bit beyond ‘targeting bad guys.’ It may be a means to an end, but it’s a hell of a means.”
It goes well beyond that, though. The “bad guys” don’t care who created a backdoor, they’ll just take advantage of it. In 2004, for instance, unknown crackers used a legally-mandated backdoor in cell phones to spy on Greek politicians. Even if they aren’t lucky enough to discover these backdoors themselves, both Edward Snowden and Zero Dark Thirty show how easily it is to twist the arm of the CIA.
Legal backdoors make everyone less secure.